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The benefits of fasting

health-and-fitness Updated: Oct 01, 2011 19:31 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times
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Fasting is a ritual or activity common across almost all religions. Most religions advocate fasting on special, usually auspicious, days as a means to purify the body and soul. There are many kinds of fasts, and each is associated with special benefits. For instance, you could go on a water fast, juice fast, non-cereals fast, non-food and non-water fast for a day, satvik food fast, religious fast or naturopathy or therapeutic fast.

Fasting benefits you in these ways

It gives the digestive system a rest and allows the process of detoxification to begin.

It allows the energies of the vital life force to awaken.

It improves mental clarity and focus.

It allows old, pent-up emotions to be resolved, which may contribute towards emotional healing

It allows you to experience stillness and calm.

However, fasting doesn’t mean simply giving up a certain food (or all foods) for a day. Since it’s a process of detoxification, you need to keep certain things in mind to get the full benefits of your fast and avoid side effects.

PoojaAvoid stimulants like coffee, masala chai, cigarettes and paan. Stimulants do not allow the detoxification process to take place.

Avoid non-vegetarian foods as they tend to overload the system. Also avoid fried foods.

Do not eat refined foods such as sooji and sugar.

Avoid packaged food and drinks during a fast.

Avoid strenuous physical, mental and emotional activities whilst fasting.

Avoid cooked food from outside your home.

Hydrate yourself: You can only detoxify if you drink enough water. When you fast for a day, drink 1-2 litres of fresh, good quality and slightly cool (but never chilled) water. However, the water you drink early in the morning and at night should be lukewarm.
Eat lots of fresh fruit: Fruit has high powers of detoxification, so eat as much of it as you like.
Drink fresh organic vegetable juices: Like fruit, vegetables are a storehouse of vitamins, minerals and enzymes which help heal the body.
Drink herbal decoctions and infusions (teas): These are also healing.
Drink soup at night: Soups are healthy and nourishing.

From HT Brunch, October 2

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