Fasting is an age-old concept with Indians. In general, most types of fasts are performed over 24–72 hours.
Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting, ranging from a few hours to a few days at a time.
Fasting has been shown to have many health benefits; from increased weight loss to better brain function. All our scriptures are loaded with different ideas of renunciation which were considered to the paths to achieve salvation. Fasting is one of such important paths. But there is a lot more reason and logic behind fasting.
SELF-DISCLIPINE- We often tend to forget that we eat to live and not the other way round. Our system needs a certain amount of food for sustenance and our stomach is only able to take that much. But somehow we tend to forget this and overindulge in many ways. Fasting is perhaps the best way to impose some restrictions on ourselves and bring about self-discipline. A controlled diet, restricted timings are actually a blessing for our system as they also get a break from overburden of work.
DETOXIFICATION- Regular and short-term fasting help our system to cleanse. Controlled and regulated intake of proteins gives the kidney the much-required break to free itself from all the toxins it has been piling up. A change from the regular wheat & rice diet has a soothing effect on the liver. Monotony is also broken which makes the system work with more enthusiasm when we are back on our regular dietary regime.
NUTRITION- Buckwheat flour and water chestnut flour have a cooling effect on the stomach. They are higher in protein and fiber and low in carbohydrates as compared to wheat and rice. Water chestnut flour is rich in manganese and zinc. Buckwheat has been found to lower cholesterol apart from being rich in zinc copper, phosphorous, iron and vitamin B-complex. Both these grains are known for having weight loss properties. Both are low on the glycemic index and gluten-free. Water-chestnut flour reduces water retention and is good for fetal growth too.
As we may see that the benefits of fasting is not only a matter of religion or spirituality but has a positive impact on our health too. The only downside is when we try to go overboard and go on a no-food diet or ‘nirjal’ fast, as that makes the body lose out on vital nutrients. Otherwise, it is a good change and break for the system and has many positive sides to it.