The ritual of fasting has been a custom and practice in many cultures and religions around the world. Adherers to the three major world religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism all observe the act of fasting in one form or another. There are also cultures that fast for non-religious reasons. The town of Geneva in Switzerland for example holds the “Jeune Genevois” or “Fast of Geneva,” which is a public holiday and day of fasting that takes place in September. The holiday originated in the Middle Ages when some days were officially decided to be fasting days as penitence after calamities such as wars, epidemics, or the plague.
There are many forms of fasting that people practice. Some cultures or religions simply exclude certain meats from their meals for that particular day, others will refrain from all food except for water. Muslims abstain from both food and water from daybreak to sunset, practicing what is called dry, intermittent fasting. In Islam, fasting is more than just not eating. It is a form of physical and spiritual purification. Muslims take part in fasting as an act of obedience to God, and to practice patience and personal restraint from all forms of gratification: food, drink, marital relations and time wasting activities that serve little to no purpose.
We’re going to discuss the benefits of intermittent fasting and if you are someone who fasts, what you can do to make the most out of it.
Fasting can produce drastic bodily changes. When you don’t eat for a while, your body goes through a detoxification and repair process that would have taken longer to achieve otherwise. Some of the changes your body goes through while you’re abstaining from food and drink include a drop in insulin (which facilitate fat burning), cellular repair, and positive gene expression changes that are linked to disease prevention and longevity.
Fasting can help:
- Increase the metabolism.
- The body burn fat for fuel instead of sugar.
- Increase insulin resistance, thereby lowering your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
- Protect against kidney damage—one of the more severe complications of Diabetes.
- Reduce oxidative stress in the body.
- Reduce inflammation in the body by giving your digestive and waste removal system a break.
- Detoxify your system.
- Improve brain function and increase the growth of new brain cells.
- Boost Human Growth Hormone levels, producing health, anti-aging, repair, neuroprotective, and longevity benefits.
Fasting is extremely beneficial for your body. However, all these effects can be reduced or even reversed if what you eat after your fast is not helpful to the cause. In order to maintain the good results, be sure to avoid the following:
- Sugary foods and drinks: *Conventional fruit juices and sodas.
- Fatty and fried foods. *This includes pizza, fries, and anything deep-fried!
- High sodium foods. *Consuming high amounts of salt will make you thirsty; this will be especially hard if you’re fasting during the day.
- Processed foods: fresh ingredients give your body what it needs—quality fuel.
- Coffee and some teas. * You need to retain as much water as you can when fasting. Caffeine is a diuretic and will flush out the water from your body, so avoid it for the time being!
It is best to avoid caffeine in between fasts to prevent your body from losing too much water. Since caffeine acts as a diuretic, flushing out much needed liquids from your system can cause you to become dehydrated when you are fasting and make it much more difficult to continue your fast. There are other options besides regualar tea and coffee that you can enjoy in between fasts that are healthy, filled with antioxidants and will actually keep you hydrated while you are fasting.
Herbal teas and fruit teas are amazing thirst quenchers. They contain the beneficial qualities of the steeped root, flower, herb or fruit, and nearly all of them contain an abundant of nutrients. Aside from pure water, replenishing your body after a long day of fasting with an herbal tea (warm or iced) is one of the best things you can do for your body. We’ve listed a few benefits of drinking herbal teas before or after a day of fasting:
- Many herbal teas help with the breakdown of fats and speed up the emptying of the stomach. This can help to reduce symptoms of indigestion and bloating.
- Herbal teas enhance the effects of fasting. Weight loss, disease prevention, infection control, and boosting the immune system are all the things herbal teas can do. In other words, herbal teas can further enhance the positive effects of fasting.
- Certain herbal teas have their expertise. There are herbal teas that specialize in relieving stress and anxiety. Others provide anti-ageing benefits, and some can help to lower blood pressure or reduce inflammation.
- Fasting alone is a cleansing tool, but it is depleting. Drinking herbal tea can enhance the clean up of your system, and replenish your body with much-needed electrolytes, vitamins and minerals.
Here is a quick guide to choosing your herbal tea. You don’t need to be suffering from any of these symptoms to enjoy a refreshing cup of herbal tea.
Herbal teas containing Dandelion, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Peppermint, Ginger, Fennel, Liquorice Root, Orange Peel. Or try our Tummy Tamer or Mint Recovery Herbal Tea. For a fruity herbal tea check out Candied Ginger and Blood Orange.
Herbal teas containing Valerian, St. John’s Wort, Ginkgo Biloba, Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Passion flower, Peppermint, Tulsi (Holy Basil), Gotu Kola. Lavender, Hops, Linden. Try one of our stress reducing teas: Stress Less—Tulsi Rose, Stress Less—Lemon Gingko, Sleep Well, Pure Egyptian Chamomile, Mango Peach Relax
Herbal teas containing Dandelion, Marshmallow Root, Juniper, Nettle, Red Clove, Ginger. Our Detoxify—German Blend helps with this.
Herbal teas containing Dandelion root, Burdock root, Ginger, Lemongrass, Rooibos, Red Clover, Fennel, Tulsi (Holy Basil), Rosehip. We recommend the famous Detoxify—German Blend herbal tea.
Herbal teas containing Willow bark, Cloves, Feverfew, Chamomile, Peppermint, Blackberry Leaf, Raspberry Leaf, Lapacho. Our Raspberry Mint Mingle contains powerful anti-inflammatory herbs, raspberry and blackberry leaf, that may help to relieve pain (including menstrual cramps).
Click on the link below for our full list of our herbal and fruit teas. If you’re looking for a tea that contains a particular ingredient, search the name of that ingredient in our main search bar and see what comes up!
*Note: I am not a physician. Do not take this article as medical advice. Consult with a physician or herbalist before taking these if you have any health issues, are pregnant/lactating or have had adverse reactions to herbs in the past.