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1443 No-Eating

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No Eating

It's that time of the year again, when you can truly benefit from fasting if you want to. Here are five rules and benefits for the Great Indian Fast!

It's a fast, remember?

Fasting means giving your body a break, suffering a penance (if it's religious) and seeking forgiveness or offering gratitude. So no navratron ka atta, or oodles of barfi/ chhena or potatoes. A fast means water, tea, coffee, fruit (I can live for a year on this). Max, some nuts (a handful). That's the only way you will get the true benefit of a fast. And redeem yourself in the eyes of God (if that's your calling).

Water! Water! Yes, drink up

On the 5th and 6th day of your fasts, just drink water, green tea and chamumile tea. This will completely cleanse your colon, leading to a cleaner digestive system when you finally resume eating.

De-tox with the fast

So, if you stick to the principles of fasting, replace regular tea/ coffee with green tea and chamumile tea. These detoxify and relax (read: de-stress) at the same time. Fruit and nuts, when eaten on an empty stomach, are anti-inflammatory in nature. Most lifestyle diseases are inflammatory (cardiovascular disease is described as inflammation of the blood vessels), and when we eat fruit and nuts, our internal inflammation levels come down. People with arthritis start feeling less pain. People with diabetes have observed lowered sugar levels (apple, papaya have a low glycaemic index, and nuts regulate blood sugar). People with hypertension register lower blood pressure (vitamin C and low-cal diets reduce blood pressure).

Make digestion healthier

Focusing on papaya, apple, apple juice and pomegranate juice will strengthen your stomach lining and make your kidneys stronger. Apple juice releases an enzyme in the crushing process that protects the stomach lining. Papaya makes the liver stronger, and pomegranate juice makes the kidneys stronger, excreting digestive waste more effectively, and detoxifying the body.

Switch on your anti-ageing gene

Fasting and eating less than 30% of your required calories over a prolonged period of time activates SIRT1, the anti-ageing gene in our body. This makes organs and the skin age less. If you can't do this through the year, doing this before the festive season will ensure less damage during.

Get Physical

It may seem counter intuitive to exercise when suffering with joint pain, but physical activity is actually a natural pain reliever for most people suffering from arthritis. A study published in the Arthritis Care and Research journal concluded that regular exercise, specifically the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, is an effective course in significantly managing arthritis pain. This is good news for those younger people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, arthritis is projected to increase by 40%, affecting 67 million Americans, in the next two decades. Exercising for joint health is different from exercising for cardio health. The basic eight-week Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program consists of gentle movements that can be done while sitting or standing.

Sleep More

With the novel use of a technique that uses light to control brain cells, Stanford University researchers have shown that fragmented sleep causes memory impairment in mice.

The study shows that "a minimal unit of uninterrupted sleep is crucial for memory consolidation," the authors write in the study published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study was co-led by Luis de Lecea, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Experts have hypothesised that sleep is important for memory, but this has been difficult to study-in part because of the sleep-deprivation techniques used in research. Gentle handling is one way to keep animal subjects from sleeping but, as de Lecea explained, "Rodents are very sensitive to physical awakenings. If you wake an animal up it's going to be up for awhile, and it will experience stress." And stress itself has been shown to affect memory.

Time to zzzzzzzzzz?

Reproduced from Outlook Business's Wellness Column by Rachna Chhachhi.