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Maha Shivratri is an auspicious Hindu festival where devotees pray to Lord Shiva and keep fast. While fasting is often a spiritual method that helps devotees connect with a higher power, many take up fasts for their health benefits too. However, one has to keep certain points in mind to stay healthy while fasting.  Dr Vedika Premani, clinical dietician, Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai, shares, “Fasting, whether for health reasons or as part of a religious practice, has gained significant attention for its potential benefits.”

But as the doctor points out, the thought of going without food can be daunting, and many individuals are unsure of how to navigate the process effectively. Here, she provides a comprehensive guide to fasting, providing tips to help you maximise its benefits while minimising discomfort.

How To Fast In Scientifically Proven Healthy Ways 

Are you fasting for Shivratri? Or do you wish to go on a fast for some health reasons? Dr Vedika Premani lists out some important points on fasting:

1. Ease Into It: One of the keys to a successful fast is gradual preparation. Rather than abruptly cutting off food and drink, ease into the process by gradually reducing your intake in the days leading up to your fast. This approach helps your body adjust to the upcoming changes and minimises the shock of sudden dietary restrictions.

2. Stay Hydrated: Hydration is crucial during fasting periods to maintain energy levels and support bodily functions. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and consider incorporating electrolyte-rich beverages like coconut water to replenish essential nutrients.

3. Ease Out Of It: As your fast comes to an end, it’s essential to reintroduce food gradually to avoid overwhelming your digestive system. Start with light, easily digestible foods such as naachni sattva, lime water, jaggery water, and boiled moong. This gradual approach allows your body to readjust to regular eating patterns without causing discomfort.

4. Stay Active: While fasting, engaging in light physical activities like walks can help boost circulation, energy levels, and mental clarity. Additionally, practising meditation or mindfulness techniques can support your overall well-being and help you stay focused during periods of fasting.

5. Consider Medical Conditions: It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before embarking on a fasting regimen, especially if you have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus or if you are pregnant. Fasting may not be suitable for everyone, and it’s essential to prioritise your health and well-being above all else.

 

Optimize food choices:

If your fasting regimen allows for the consumption of certain foods, prioritize nutrient-dense options to support your body’s needs. Incorporate fruits, whole grains like rajgira shreera and sama khichdi, and healthy fats such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios to ensure you’re getting essential nutrients during fasting periods.

 

Fasting can offer a range of potential benefits for both physical and spiritual health. By following these tips and guidelines, you can navigate the fasting process with confidence, maximizing its benefits while minimizing discomfort. Remember to listen to your body, prioritize hydration, and seek medical advice if needed to ensure a safe and successful fasting experience.

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