Aside from observing a traditionally balanced diet, people can opt to go on fasting. It is a form of customized diet that has been shown to provide possible health benefits. But fasting can indeed be hard and some people may want some tips to increase their chances of success while fasting. For those who want to know more about how to fast effectively, read on and discover some helpful tips for fasting.
A Balanced Diet
Before we delve into the specifics of fasting and the tips on how to fast effectively, let us first delve into what a balanced and ideal diet really is. A balanced diet is a form of diet that can help individuals get the required nutrients needed for the body to able to function normally and correctly. Balanced diets usually consist of calories that should ideally include lean proteins, nuts, legumes, whole grains, fresh veggies, and fruits.
However, people must also consider that these calories should ideally be limited to around 2,000 calories daily to retain normal body weight. People should consider though, that the recommended calorie intake is different per individual as they should also take into account the person’s activity levels, gender, and age. For example, people who exercise more require more calories than people who are sedentary while women require fewer calories than men.
A balanced diet does not just look at the number of calories consumed but also at the source of the calories themselves. People who want to achieve a healthy and balanced diet must also reduce or if possible, avoid consuming empty calories which are usually provided by food items that have little to no nutritional and health value. Technically defined by the USDA, food items that have empty calories are those food items that are mostly composed of solid fats and sugars such as shortening and butter.
How Is a Balanced Diet Achieved?
The core principle of a balanced diet revolves around the concept of consuming food items that have reduced or lower sugars and fats and those that have increased levels of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. Some of these food groups include the following:
Healthy Fats. People should go for those fats that are considered good from sources such as olive oil
Dairy or Dairy Alternatives. It is better for people to choose reduced-fat dairy products or smaller services of full-fat dairy. Alternatives to milk like almond milk is also relatively healthy.
Proteins. Individuals may opt to go for proteins coming from beans, meats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, peas, beans, and lentils.
Grains. People who want to achieve a balanced diet should go for grains that still have their husks or outer hull as this can bring in more nutrition.
Vegetables. It is best that green, leafy, and dark vegetables are consumed for a balanced diet.
Fruits. While they contain some form of sugar, they are still better than other processed foods with artificial sugar added to them.
The Importance of a Balanced Diet
A balanced diet is important as it helps the body, particularly its tissues and organs in achieving the right nutrition in order to function properly and effectively. Without this kind of balanced diet, individuals will be more prone to various adverse health conditions such as poor performance, fatigue, infection, and, ultimately, diseases. In addition, children who do not observe a balanced diet are also more likely to experience poor performance in school, stunted growth and development, and the more likely possibility of developing poor eating habits as they grow older.
Poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle have also seen the rise of obesity in the United States of America and that this consequently leads to other conditions that are some of the leading causes of illnesses and death. These conditions include type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, and heart disease.
A balanced diet is indeed important but it may not be generally applicable for people with different diet goals particularly for those who wish to go on some form of fasting.
What is Fasting?
Fasting, particularly intermittent fasting, is slowly becoming a popular way of eating or diet which requires individuals to control or suddenly stopping the intake of food within certain timeframes. This form of fasting can provide numerous different health benefits such as gene expression change and an increase in HGH or human growth hormone.
These health benefits have been shown to lessen the chance of disease, enhanced longevity, and long term weight loss. However, fasting, if done incorrectly may lead to serious health conditions and can be extremely dangerous.
8 Tips on How to Fast
Listed below are some helpful tips to ensure effective and safe fasting:
Periods of fasting should be kept short
Individuals should observe tried and tested patterns of fasting as much as possible. They can go for the 16:8 pattern, the eat stop eat pattern, the 6:1 pattern, and the 5:2 pattern. All these regimens focus on fasting within a range of 8-24 hours and no more beyond the said hours.
Fast days should have dieters eating small amounts of food items
Restricting or reducing food intake may be safer than going on full-scale fasting.
Dieters should keep hydrated
Fasting can lead to dehydration and as such, people are advised to drink liquids during a fast.
Dieters should meditate or go for relaxing walks
Fasting and dieting can be boring and monotonous and as such, meditation or walks can help ease the dieter’s mind
Fasting should never be broken by feasting- Stopping the fast with a feast may result in the dieter feeling tired and bloated
Fasting should not be done when unwell
Fasting should be avoided by dieters when they feel unwell as this can be a sign of some other health condition.
Eating the right amounts of protein
To avoid losing muscle mass, dieters may eat increased levels of protein.
Taking in supplements
Those on a fast may benefit from the additional nutrients provided by supplements.