The season of festivals has begun and festivals mean fasting. If you are one of those who fasts religiously during every festival, here are few tips on how to retain your stamina and fast healthy.
Healthy tips for fasting
Preparing for the fast
Plan your fast in advance. Try and cut down on sweets and caffeine in order to condition your body for fasting. If you suffer from chronic health conditions, it is better to consult your doctor. Remember, keep yourself hydrated at all times during and after the fast.
1. Fruits and fruit juices: Stick to fruits like apples, guava, papaya, banana and other such fruits as they will keep you energised. Though fresh fruit juices are good while fasting, people with hyper acidic reflux should avoid having citrus juices on an empty stomach.
2. Drink a lot of fluids: Drink a lot of fluids like water, fruit juice, tender coconut and buttermilk. Also, nuts can give you instant energy and keep you full for a long time. Vegetable soups, especially of pumpkin or bottle gourd, are very nourishing.
3. Milk/curd: You can consume milk, about 200ml at a time, two times a day, while fasting. Fresh curd can also be eaten. Having curd in the form of buttermilk is recommended as it also helps in digestion. You can also have this in the form of lassi.
4. Avoid acidity: Keeping your stomach empty for long hours can lead to acidity and heart burns. Milk and cream are effective remedies for acidity.
5. Don’t tire yourself: Try and avoid strenuous physical activity. This way you will be able to retain your energy all day.
6. Dry fruits: It is recommended you break your fast with dry fruits such as dates, fig (anjeer) or raisins. So after fasting for an entire day, instead of a having a huge meal or a large amount of calories, a bowl of dates might work as an indirect form of sugar which is highly recommended by nutritionists. This would really help if you are more prone to acidity or flatulence while fasting. If groundnut is part of your diet during fasting, try not to eat it raw and plain. Instead have it in the form of chikki or with jaggery.
7. Small meals: If the fasting ritual permits, you should have small meals or snacks at regular intervals of about two to three hours.
8. Sabodana: Although tradition says otherwise, sabodana (sago) is not a recommended food during fasting. Eating sabodana during a fast can lead to gastric flatulence or even constipation in slim/lean people. Instead, opt for samo (moraiyo seeds) or rajgira during fasting.
9. Potatoes for slim people: For those who are slim and absolutely need calories to keep them going everyday bananas, groundnut and potatoes are highly recommended. However, if you are not on good terms with your weighing machine, potatoes are a strict no-no!
10. Elderly/kids: Nutritionists advise children and older people to avoid fasting as it can lead to constipation in this group of people.
An added benefit of healthy fasting
People mostly eat lots of raw fruits or are on a fruit diet while fasting, which actually acts as an anti-oxidant and also a natural anti-ageing agent. This means fasting in the right way might actually keep you looking young for a longer period!
Do keep these fasting tips in mind and enjoy a healthy festive season!
Photograph by sxc.hu
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