Intermittent fasting done right can even improve symptoms of health conditions
It is imperative to observe a 'medical vrat' every once in a week
Intermittent fasting can help in improving a person's blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and insulin sensitivity. It has also been found that longer periods of fasting (2 to 4 days) aids in rebooting the immune system, clearing out old immune cells, and regenerating new ones.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, "Fasting is not just abstaining from intake of food and water. Fasting also means avoiding negative thoughts. A 'fast' or 'vrata' purifies the mind, body and soul. It facilitates restraining of the senses and advocates a satvik lifestyle, that is, living a life full of satwa with devotion and discipline and avoiding rajsik and tamsik lifestyle. Our ancestors made it a compulsory practice to observe fasts, which primarily meant abstaining from eating carbohydrates once a week, and during season's change thereby preventing lifestyle diseases. Fasting helps deplete the stores of sugar in your liver. Fasting once a day in a week gives the body a much-needed rest and time to catch up on the process of repair and/or cleaning. There is nothing better than fasting once a week to keep your heart healthy.
Ever since people have stopped observing weekly fasts, the incidence on high blood pressure, diabetes and heart attack has increased. Scientifically, it is now known that eating carbohydrates everyday increases the chances of heart attack.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, "My rough formula of 3 for fasting is that one cannot live for three minutes without air, three days without water and three weeks without food. However, this formula is for healthy muscular and fatty people. When you fast, you can stay healthy for long if you have good muscles and have good fat content."
Some tips for fasting from HCFI
· Plan your diet especially if you have medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Do not skip your medication schedule. Keep a healthy snack handy for those cravings.
· Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water, coconut water, green tea, buttermilk, and lime juice. Avoid aerated drinks.
· Avoid gorging on salty snacks. Eat something that is boiled or roasted instead.
· Use rock salt in your food instead of usual salt as it helps in better mineral absorption. It is also beneficial for those who have high or low blood pressure.
· Eat lighter meals as these can aid digestion.
· For dessert, you can try eating dates or fruit yogurt. Also, add honey instead of sugar.
· Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Dr K K Aggarwal