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.