Fasting is a way to prevent disease but also an important factor in maintaining health as well as in the development of human mental and spiritual functions, while at the same time it seems to be associated with the reduction of depression. However, in fasting there are some peculiarities, with which those who fast must be careful not to be faced with nutritional deficiencies.
The above points out, speaking to the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency, on the occasion of the impending fast of Lent, the dietitian-nutritionist Panagiota Karakasidou, a member of the Institute of Nutritional Studies and Research and of the Hellenic Book fasting. Theory and action".
Referring to what to look out for in order to reap the benefits of fasting, Ms. Karakasidou recommends those who are going to fast:
Combine protein foods
There are dietary concerns about plant foods, which are lower in quantity and quality of protein, compared to animal foods. Fasters can get all the essential amino acids through combinations of different sources of plant protein. So combine: either legumes with cereals (rice, oatmeal, buckwheat, quinoa, etc.) or legumes with nuts, sesame seeds, whole tahini and seeds (sunflower seeds, flaxseed, etc.).
Eat foods high in essential omega-3 fatty acids
The diet of fasting people contains a lot of Ω6 fatty acids at the expense of Ω3 fatty acids, for this reason it is necessary to consume foods rich in Ω3, such as. flaxseed, walnuts, avocado, sesame, whole tahini etc.
Ensure B-complex vitamins every day
Fasting people are often deficient in vitamin B12 - because it is found mainly in animal foods - which is essential for the development and maintenance of nervous system health, DNA production and red blood cell production. Its presence in foods rich in iron enhances the absorption of iron. Good plant sources of B12 are whole grains and organic soy milk.
Pay attention to dietary iron sources to avoid anemia
Green leafy vegetables, lentils, beans, peas, whole grains are very good sources of non-heme iron (not derived from animal foods). The combination of these foods with foods containing vitamin B12 and C helps in better absorption of iron, creating the conditions for adequate coverage of the body.
Add vitamin C to your diet for better iron absorption
Combining foods that are sources of iron with a source of vitamin C, such as fresh vegetables and fruits, achieves much better absorption of iron in the body.
Remember the importance of zinc
Zinc is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, is involved in the reproduction and growth of our body's cells and, in addition, has a significant effect on carbohydrate metabolism and the nervous system. Zinc sources are: walnuts, cashews, beans, beans, beans, wheat germ, cardamom, etc.
Eat calcium-rich foods to avoid osteoporosis
Calcium foods are found not only in dairy products, but also in green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, almonds, carrots, but also calcium-fortified breakfast cereals.
The benefits of fasting
"By eating in this way we reap only the benefits of fasting", Ms. Karakasidou emphasizes and adds that these are:
- Reduced levels of lipids in the blood (cholesterol, triglycerides). Lack of food of animal origin from the diet means a reduction of fat intake and basically saturated fat, which is the most aggravating. In this way it helps to reduce bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, thus improving the lipid index of the individual.
- The kidneys are cleansed. Abstaining from meat, animal foods and alcohol can help with better kidney function and lower uric acid levels.
- The digestive system is cleansed. Due to the high consumption of fiber from fruits, vegetables and legumes we have a more favorable - better bowel function.
Better and more balanced eating habits, due to the increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, seafood and abstinence from foods of animal origin.
- The fiber of cereals, fruits and vegetables improves blood glucose levels.
Better blood pressure levels due to high potassium intake (fruits, vegetables, legumes) and low sodium intake, as less processed foods are consumed.
- Fasting is a way to prevent illness and an important factor in maintaining good health as well as in the development of mental and spiritual functions of man, thanks to the antioxidants and vitamins contained in fasting food.
- Fasting is an opportunity for detoxification. The purpose of fasting is to direct the various mechanisms of the body to cleanse it of various useless wastes and toxins that have accumulated in it.
- Lower rates of occurrence or reduction of depressive symptoms, as fasting seems to fight bad mood, thanks to its nutrients, but also to intensify the feeling of mental uplift, restraint, moral satisfaction and the feeling of "cleansing" of the body.