When we hear the word intermittent fasting, it sounds very foreign to our ears, but is it really. From ancient times we have seen our mothers and grandmothers fasting for various reasons. It may be due to some tradition but the science behind it is intermittent fasting only. So, this concept is nothing new for Indians, it is presented to us with a new name of intermittent fasting by the western media. Despite it being religiously followed by our ancestors for decades, the new generation does not consider this a fruitful method to keep oneself healthy and is going towards less healthier diets such as keto, protein, no carbs diet, only rice diet, only egg diet, etc.
Intermittent fasting is a cycle of eating only between a specified period and fasting most of the time. This is to ensure that you digest your food effectively and do not overeat. The food does not get converted into fat and evidently will not get deposited in the body. This also helps to shed extra pounds from your body. There are many ways by which you can intermittently fast. The tried and tested method which can be easily followed is the daily restriction one, where you eat and fast on the same day. Various studies have shown that a person is more likely to continue doing intermittent fasting in the future with this method.
Effects observed with intermittent fasting.
Many positive effects have been observed by people following this lifestyle. People have observed healthy skin and weight loss on this diet. It is observed to be helpful in inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and in skin conditions associated with diabetes. Recent studies show that it may even help to control blood sugar levels. It has been observed that people do not get sick easily, after some time of following this diet. This may be due to an increase in immunity of the body Decreased incidence of stroke and other cardiovascular accidents have been observed with it. Studies have shown that it is effective in battling many types of cancer, not curing it.
Do’s and Don’ts:
A point in favor of intermittent fasting is that you can eat anything in your eating time period be it healthy salad or not so healthy pizza. But it is always recommended to eat fiber -rich food. Eating fiber rich foods such as walnuts, almonds, sprouts helps to stay full for a long time.
Products such as green tea or black tea, lemon water, or any non alcoholic and non sweetened beverage can be taken during the fasting period. It is also recommended to exercise 5 days a week for at least half an hour. Many studies have proven that doing small amounts of exercise along with intermittent fasting helps to achieve a fitness goal faster. Exercise helps to shed extra fats faster as compared to only fasting.
It is recommended that people who have diabetes, do this under the guidance of a trained nutritionist or a dietician, as there may be a spike or fall in their sugar levels which can be dangerous to their life. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should strictly not follow this method as it can be detrimental to their as well as their baby’s health.
Some side effects have been observed in the initial phases of starting intermittent fasting such as nausea, vomiting, headache, irritation, hunger pains. They are not life threatening as long as the person is not suffering from any chronic condition.
At the end of this whole discussion, it is evident that intermittent fasting is a boon left by our ancestors in the form of vrats, which even today many Indian women follow during many different festivals. We just need to again inculcate these traditions left by our ancestors. Hope we all can connect with our roots once again to live a healthy and peaceful life.