Fasting has been part of religious practice around the
world for millennia, but within the last decade, various forms of fasting have
entered the mainstream conversation about health and diet. Though studies are
on-going about the effects of fasting, some have shown a variety of health
benefits for some people. Fasting isn’t for everyone, and people who want to
begin a fast should always consult their doctors. If you feel ready to give
fasting a try, here are 7 tips to begin.
1. Fast Daily
Recognize that most of us, unless we’re sleep-eating, fast
daily already. That’s why our first meal
of the day is called “breakfast”. Periods of fasting allow our bodies to fully
digest our food, reduce inflammation, and improve blood sugar control and may
improve heart and brain health. An easy way to start fasting is to just set
limits on the latest you can eat before bedtime and the earliest you can eat in
the morning. If you stop eating at 8
p.m. and eat breakfast at 8 a.m., you are doing a 12-hour fast.
2. Find the Perfect Fast
Not all fasts are the same, so find one that works for you.
Traditionally we think of fasting as giving up food and drink for 24 or more
hours at a time. That is one way to fast. There are others such as intermittent
fasting, alternate-day fasting, partial fasting, and restricted-calorie days.
Do some research into what might work best for you.
3. Start Slow
Some people feel great when they engage in a fasting plan,
and others experience adverse side effects such as low blood-sugar or
faintness. When beginning any new program, it is easy to jump in with both feet
and give it your all. In the case of fasting, if you hope to reap sustained
benefits, it is a good idea to start slow and build up to longer fasts if
that’s what you desire.
Make sure you hydrate. We simply cannot say this enough.
This goes for fasting days as well as non-fasting days. Many doctors recommend
we consume about 2 liters of water per day, but some people need more and some
need less. When you are fasting, it is likely you will require more fluid since
20-30% of our daily fluid intake comes from food. Proper hydration allows your
organs to work at optimal levels. Listen to your body and give it what it needs
to be successful. Consider adding Superberries Aroniaberry Concentrate to your water during a fast for extra energy and nutrition. Aronia Juice is low in sugar and lends a berry delicious flavor to water during a fast. Not to mention important antioxidants.
5. Don’t Skip Medicine
Although this should be obvious, it is important to note
that some people take medicines that they should not skip. If you are one of
those people, make sure that you not only consult a doctor before embarking
upon a fast, but also consider that intermittent fasting rather than 24-hour
fasting might be your best choice.
6. Don’t Break your Fast with a Feast
Your first meal after a feast should be smaller and
comprised of whole foods. Doctors and nutritionists recommend different meals,
but you must follow your body’s needs and restrictions. If you eat too much too
quickly, especially after a long fast, you might feel bloated and sluggish.
7. Avoid Sugary Foods and Beverages
before your Fast
Though it might seem ok to
have an extra cookie or cocktail, especially before a long period of fasting,
the ensuing sugar crash could cause you to feel tired or irritable. This may
limit your ability to maintain the fast. Eating a steady diet of whole grains,
vegetables, and proteins, and generally avoiding processed foods, especially
right before a fast, will help you achieve your fasting goals.
Whether your goals are to lose weight, feel better, or be healthier, fasting might work for you. It is important to note, however, that fasting can’t completely negate an unhealthy diet during non-fasting periods. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t enjoy treats now and again, but we should just be mindful of how the fuel we give our bodies is their tool to restore our bodies during fasting periods. Adding healthy ingredients such as Aronia berries to your favorite recipes can provide your body some of what it needs to do its best for you.