The Period of Lent: Fasting and its health benefits

The act of fasting is primarily a willing act of abstinence, or if you like, reduction from some certain food items, drink, or both for a period of time. Some people fast for health purposes, some for religious reasons. Around the world now, some Christian communities are observing the period of Lent, especially the Catholic Christian community.

Beyond its spiritual benefits, a series of scientific studies have revealed that the act of fasting, if properly conducted, may benefit humans immensely. Some of these benefits include:

Better state of health:

Fasting is considered to be an option to increase lifespan through prolonged diet restriction, where conscious efforts of self-denial is made to discipline one’s self, weight trimming which might or not result from fasting indicates evident body cleansing due to heavy and frequent conscious fruits consumption.

Fasting is said to boost the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor which triggers numerous other chemicals to promote neural health.

Clear skin and Acne Prevention:

The act of fasting, because of the occasional digestion process freedom, is able to regenerate. Toxic items present in the body are believed to be expunged by the process which has a total cleansing effect and regulation of other organs of the body. The result is the birth of acne-free glowing skin, and proper functioning of other organs of the body like the liver and the kidney.

The act of fasting is associated with health benefits like: insulin sensitivity, speedy metabolism, healthy weight loss, improved eating patterns etc.

After a fasting exercise, there’s this overwhelming urge to eat everything that comes our way, especially the foods we’ve been craving. This means that in breaking the fast, it’s pertinent to break it responsibly and calculatedly.

When breaking a fast, it’s advised that you incorporate a bit of coconut oil, flaxseed, even fish oil, however oily deep-fried foods are to be avoided. Foods rich in fat, starch, processed and heavy on salt are believed to cause nauseous feelings and headaches.

Below are a few suggestions on what to eat:

Vegetables

In all the forms you can think of, cooked, steamed, raw, soup, and even salads. You can’t go wrong experimenting with vegetables. Leafy ones like lettuce, cabbage and spinach are also beneficial. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato and fresh peas can also be incorporated.

Fruits

As much as fruits are beneficial during this period, fibrous fruits like pineapple, apple or pear with skin, oranges are not advised for breaking a fast. Instead, fruits advised include: avocado, bananas, mango, pawpaw, watermelon, skinless mango and pear.

Soft boiled eggs, as against hard boiled ones, generally a gradual glide from soft food to hard is advised when breaking any fast, be it medical or spiritual.

Continue to take a lot of fresh juices at least two times in the course of one day until you are back to eating normally. Importantly drink a lot of water.