For those of you who are Muslim, have Muslim family or friends you’ll know it’s Ramadan which is the time of fasting. Muslims are required to fast during Ramadan as an important part of their religion and for many it leaves them feeling fulfilled and happy. But what about the rest of us who don’t need to fast for religion, is fasting good for you?
There are ongoing debates about whether fasting should be practised as part of a healthy lifestyle so feel free to read and ponder the pros and cons below to find out whether it’s something you should consider.
- Some Muslims claim that giving their bodies a break from eating gives them their natural energy back and makes their bodies feel somewhat cleansed. Muslims can’t drink water during their fast but if you’re not Muslim drinking water throughout the day could help to flush out toxins too.
- Fasting can help you find out what your body reacts negatively to. Restricting your intake of dairy for three weeks and then incorporating it back into your diet will make you realise how it (if at all) affects your body. You might find that dairy causes you to have a breakout of acne for example.
- It can help you lose weight by restricting your calorie intake, but don’t forget to consume liquids at the very least to give your body something to live on. This option should be for the short term. It’s a relatively quick way to lose a few pounds, fasting (if you’re otherwise in good general health) may be an option.
- There’s no solid evidence that fasting helps to cleanse your body. We need food and water to survive so restricting this drastically may do more harm to our organs than good. Our liver, kidneys, skin and most other organs in our bodies naturally detox and cleanse our systems on a daily basis.
- Fasting for days on end isn’t healthy and although you might lose some weight you will put it back on again when you eat normally. The weight you lose when you fast is mainly just water weight and some glycogen (energy stores). So for long term weight loss adopt a healthy lifestyle and find a form of exercise you enjoy!
- When you fast you’re drastically lowering the amount and variety of nutrients your body is absorbing, so it’s quite common that you’ll feel tired. There is also a danger that it could make any underlying health conditions much worse, because of the lack of energy your body has on hand to combat illnesses.
Fasting should only be thought of as a short term option. Speak to a doctor if you have concerns about your health or want to discuss whether fasting is a good choice for you. Do as much research as possible before you take on any sort of fasting, juice cleanse or detox regime to see if it’s suitable for you and your body.