By Bimbola Mustapha
Fasting is a willing abstinence or reduction from certain or all foods for a given period. Starvation on the other hand is when the body is deficient in essential nutrients due to lack of food
So it is important that people don’t take starvation for fasting. Those who fast do it deliberately not because they don’t have what to eat but because they want to deny their bodies of food.
And it is usually done because they want to have time to communicate with God. They do it because they want to be spiritually receptive.
So fasting should not be done because one does not have what to eat. If it is because one does not have what to eat, it is called starvation. Fasting should not be on the basis of starvation because it still does not solve the problem of starvation.
Fasting can be absolute, partial, or intermittent. An absolute fast is one in which water or any food is not taken throughout the fasting period that is dry fasting. Partial fasting is the one in which one is deprived of foods like meat, fish. Only bland foods and water are taken during the fasting period e.g. pap, bland yam, etc.
While intermittent fasting is one in which foods are are avoided at a particular period. This is good and recommended for good health. Fasting can be observed for therapeutic, religious, or medical purposes.
One of the most potent stimuli to growth hormone secretion is fasting. Fasting has also been noted to have an early period of rapid weight loss.
Regular fasting also improves insulin sensitivity significantly, it lowers insulin. Fasting increases the process of elimination and the release of toxins from the colon, kidney, bladder, lungs, and sinuses.
As much as fasting is good it is not ideal for the underweight, fatigue, low immunity, weak heart, low blood pressure, cold weather, cardiac arrhythmias, pregnant, nursing mothers, those with mental illness, pre and post-surgery cancer patients, peptic ulcer, and nutritional deficiencies people.
Side effects of fasting include headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, low blood pressure, and abnormal heart rhythms. Could be potentially dangerous for those who are malnourished for example cancer patients.
FOODS TO AVOID DURING FASTING
Fatty foods such puff, buns, doughnut, samosa, egg.
Caffeinated foods such as coffee, tea, etc
Sugary foods such as ice cream, sweets egg
Highly salted foods such as pickles egg.
Heavy or solid foods like eba, pounded yam, fufu, etc
FOODS TO TAKE DURING FASTING
You need to take a lot of water.
High fibre foods need to be taken e.g. vegetables, beans, and alkaline fruits e.g. watermelon.
MUSTAPHA O. ABIMBOLA is a registered dietician