Fasting is an effective way of detoxifying the body. Different cultures and religions promote their believers to fast for specific periods throughout the year. Health and fitness coaches are also found advocating fasting to attain fitness goals.
How Fasting Improves Health
In a state of fasting, the body becomes low on glucose that triggers the process of gluconeogenesis, i.e. production of glucose.
While fasting, the body meets its glucose demands by burning fats, lactate, and amino acids. It helps lower fat stores in the body.
Another explanation for the medical fitness effect of fasting is that energy consumption and abstinence of new energy leads to improved basal metabolic rate. This improvement leads to a reduction in blood pressure and improved heart rate.
Ketosis (production of ketone bodies as a result of glucose-lack) is the result of fasting, which is beneficial for weight-loss.
Types Of Fasting
There are different types of fasting:
- Time-Restricted Fasting: Short-term intermittent fasting (STF) is an effective way to align your body with the natural circadian rhythm of the body. This is the most prevalent type of fasting and requires you to stay completely hungry from dawn till dusk. This constitutes about 10-12 hours of fasting. It is considered the most beneficial for decreasing toxicity in cancer patients, a study suggests.
- Intermittent Calorie Restriction: In this type of fasting, the number of calories consumed per day is restricted. This is usually done by giving up carbohydrates and only taking carbs twice a week (two consecutive days).
- Periodic Fasting: Calorie intake should be limited for three to five days per week. This method works by putting the body into ketosis.
Benefits Of Fasting
Fasting is encouraged due to the immense fasting benefits it imparts, which are given below:
- Boosts cognition
- Helps fight obesity and promotes weight loss
- Keeps chronic diseases at bay
- Reduces inflammation
- Detoxifies the body and saves from metabolic diseases
- Helpful for cancer patients
- Improves blood pressure and lipid profile of the body
- Can delay the aging process and extend the longevity
Natural Products Helpful For Fasting
Fasting is a strenuous activity and puts your body under stress. Therefore, you must load up the body with nutritional products that will keep you going.
We have lined up the best food items and herbal supplements to take while fasting for you that shall be advantageous at initiating and breaking the fast.
15 Herbal Supplements For Fasting
These herbs carry great nutritional values and are as follows:
Parsley is well known for its diuretic properties. However, the herb also has immense nutritional value. It has vast amounts of vitamin C and helps balance the electrolytes, i.e., sodium and potassium in the body.
Empty stomach during fasting may lead to the gastric acid secretion that causes a foul smell in the breath. Parsley can help you with it while fasting because it can freshen the breath. So, it is suggested to take parsley when keeping the fast.
Oregano is a commonly used herb in Mediterranean and Mexican dishes. It has impressive anti-infection properties and is frequently used to treat cold, cough, and flu.
The herb comes with appreciable amounts of phytochemicals and Vitamin E. It gives sufficient nutritional impacts and also helps in improving the gut microbiota, a study suggests.
Oregano also has some fatty acids inside that are of nutritional importance to the body.
Adding oregano to the diet at the time of breaking the fast helps you bring the microflora of the stomach back to normal, so you don't get any digestive complications from fasting.
Those who decide to fast for improving their lipid profile of the body should consider basil. This herb has shown a positive cholesterol-lowering effect and is readily used for the purpose. It is regarded as the holy herbin many cultures.
According to research, basil helps in the reduction of blood sugar levels. It indeed is one of the most effective herbal supplements to take while fasting.
Thyme is loaded with high amounts of vitamin A, C, and manganese. The presence of vitamin C promotes its use for different medicinal purposes. It has plenty of flavonoids that are excellent antioxidants.
An analysis of the herb promoted the use of thyme as a nutritious supplement while fasting. The results showed that there are loads of minerals (potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc), flavonoids, and Vitamins.
It also adds a good taste to the dishes. Therefore, adding thyme to the diet when starting the fast is a refreshing and nutritious activity.
Dill belongs to the family of cumin and fennel. Just like its siblings, it is also a good contributor of vitamins (A and C). You will also find hefty amounts of antioxidants that help fight cardiovascular (heart) diseases.
Though the caloric count is low, there are reasonable amounts of vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, sugars, iron, folates, and acids (ascorbic) in the herb, a study suggests.
Chamomile tea is the go-to beverage for many people who have trouble sleeping. The herb is renowned for its calming and tranquillising effect that is used to induce and enhance sleep.
Starvation such as that during fasting leads to the upsetting of the stomach. This can be a big problem for some. Chamomile tea can be used to correct the gastric issues arising from fasting.
Lepidium meyeniior maca is an athletic enhancer. It has positive medical effects on the body
and improves mood and boosts energy levels. In a detailed study carried out in 2016, they found that maca increases energy.
Increased levels of energy help you keep your fasts. It gives off high amounts of calories and is considered one of the most nutritious herbs.
You enjoy a significant amount of carbohydrates, fibres, fats, and proteins accompanied by minerals such as iron, potassium, copper, and vitamins( B6 and C).
You must add some maca supplementation to your diet when keeping a fast owing to its diverse health effects and nutritional value.
This is a nutritive herb and helps you in the assimilation of different chemicals for life. The chemicals include proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals.
Alfalfa sprouts find a major role in improving the nutrition levels of the body and in managing gastric conditions. They have rich amounts of vitamins (A, B, and C), proteins, calcium, and magnesium.
Alfalfa plays the following roles to help in fasting:
- Aids digestion
- Regulates the level of pH in the stomach
- Heals stomach ulcers and other ailments
Cilantro is a part of Indian dishes and provides a lot of useful nutritional compounds. The herb is a battery of vitamins (A, C, K, and E). This helps reduce inflammation too, so enhances the effects of fasting.
Sage is the sageof herbs. The efficacy of sage in imparting anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects is commended by many.
Salvia officinalisprovides you with a large quantity of vitamin K, carbohydrates, fibers, and small amounts of proteins and fats. The high amounts of nutrients in sage promote its usage during fasting.
Cumin is an aromatic seed used in cuisines around different parts of the world. This part of Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisine has a wide array of phytochemicals. These phytochemicals have a number of health benefits.
This particular herb gives you 42% proteins and 34% fats which are a good source of energy during the fast. The amount of carbs is low (15%) and therefore, promotes the process of gluconeogenesis in the body. It is also beneficial for weight loss.
Different communities, such as Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. This short-term fasting frequently upsets the stomach, which can effectively be cured with cumin use. A study claims that it can improve diabetic conditions too.
Calcium and iron are essential for strengthening the bones and production of red blood cells. Prolonged fasting can lead to an imbalance of minerals and nutrients in the body.
People who fast often should add rosemary to their diet. It improves digestion and increases circulation.
Peppermint is famous for its use in curing digestive issues (bloating and indigestion). The use of this herb is encouraged sometime after breaking the fast.
A 2-tablespoon serving of fresh peppermint provides you 2.24 calories of which you get good amounts of carbohydrates and fibers, some proteins, and a small number of fats.
Mint also contains trace amounts of potassium, calcium, vitamins(A, and C). Peppermint oil helps relieve symptoms of bloating and other digestive issues, a study suggests.
14. Cayenne Pepper
This member of chili pepper has shown to be effective as a weight-loss supplement. For those of you who are planning to fast to burn those fat deposits should add this spicy delight to your diet.
It contains the chemical compound capsaicin which has strong weight loss effects. It can help you keep the fast because it reduces appetite. According to one study, just a gram of red peppers to the diet decreased appetite and increased the burning of fats for people who didn't take peppers previously.
Cinnamon supplements have a lot of medicinal benefits. The herb charges the body's reserves of calcium potassium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium. This same herb is effective in treating digestive issues and appetite issues.
Ideal Foods For Fasting
- Water: Loading up with water is an important step when keeping a fast. Dehydration is an outcome of long periods of intermittent fasting. So, it is recommended to drink copious amounts of water before starting your journey to food abstinence.
- Avocado:Avocado is made for those undergoing fasting. It is probably the fruit with the highest calorie count. There is plenty of unsaturated fatty acids in the fruit that will keep you active even during the harshest of the fasting periods.
- Seafood:Salmon and mackerel are rich sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). The healthy fats and proteins in the fish aid in energy replenishment during the fasting stage.
- Probiotics:Probiotic-rich foods such as kefir and kombucha improve your gut flora. It is also believed that probiotics obtained from yogurt and similar products also help with thirst reduction during the fast.
- Vegetables: Potatoes are controversial vegetables in terms of their effect on weight loss. Potatoes can help with weight loss while keeping the tummy full. Therefore, making it an ideal food for fasting (especially for those who are fasting to lose weight). Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc.) have good quantities of fibers. So, you can lead some veggies to the diet to keep your tummy filled during fast.
- Nuts And Whole Grains:Nuts and whole grains help in different ways. Fats obtained from nuts prove to be an energy source during the food-free period while the whole grains act as gastric-fillers that impart a full feeling.
- Beans: Beans and legumes have optimal amounts of carbs that are necessary to keep you brisk, swift, and active during fasting.
- Fruits:Berries are rich in flavonoids that improve the Basal metabolic rate. As per a study, commonly consumed berries are rich sources of nutrients and also help in maintaining the glycemic levels of the body. Thus, making it an ideal food for fasting.
Where To Get The Best Herbs For Fasting
You get the best herbal products for different roles, including fasting and energy provision, by clicking here.
Fasting is a healthy activity to improve the overall condition of health. You can observe intermittent calorie resistant, time-restricted, or periodic fasting depending on your objective to fast. This habit of giving up the food helps you improve cognition, lose weight, lower blood pressure, and cholesterol.
However, fasting takes a toll on your digestion, energy levels, and promotes gluconeogenesis. It is recommended that you take some help from nutritious herbs to take while fasting such as cinnamon, alfalfa, chamomile, and turmeric, etc. You should also load up the levels of water in the body and pay special attention to the consumption of fruits and veggies to stay active and functional during the period of the fast.