The meaning of fasting is different for each person. It is also a matter of personal choice how exactly to spend these few weeks - without he alth risk, in front of delicious vegetable dishes or ascetically and even dangerously. However, in the case of a he alth problem, it is reasonable to apply dietary restrictions after prior consultation with a doctor in order to avoid unwanted consequences", advises nutrition specialist Assoc. Daniela Popova, head of the Clinic for Metabolic-Endocrine Diseases and Dietetics at Tsaritsa Joanna Hospital - ISUL"
Here's what else the famous endocrinologist shared about the secrets of he althy eating and on the occasion of the 40-day Christmas fasting.
Prof. Popova, it is still a mystery how useful fasting is and what happens in the human body?
- Fasts should not be favored because they are not universally beneficial for everyone. We cannot fail to note, however, that for the majority of people they provide purification of the soul and body. If we talk in a physical aspect, then during this period we deprive ourselves of foods that burden our bodies with a lot of slag and waste products. In my opinion, these are primarily protein products - meat, milk, cheese, eggs and meat. They contain complex fats, which we further complicate in the second stage, if I may say so, with the culinary processing itself. These are smoked, fried and pickled foods. They load our body with a lot of radicals. They require further processing by the liver to be neutralized and excreted.
Observance of fasts from a physiological point of view is better for the body than fasting or even split meals. During fasting, mostly fruits and vegetables and relatively uniform food are eaten. Pectins and cellulose help to break down toxins, nitrates and s alts of heavy metals that have entered the body. The food that is taken has a sparing effect on the endocrine, nervous and cardiovascular systems. During fasting, food is more s alt-free, vegetables are eaten raw or boiled without fat. This contributes to the reduction of cholesterol. The functioning of the kidneys and excretory system improves.
The body gets rid of animal proteins
The result of fasting is a weakening and improvement of physical and mental endurance in general, unloading and relaxation of the body, improved functioning of the endocrine, cardiovascular, excretory and nervous systems. Self-confidence improves, a person feels more comfortable in everyday life and more satisfied with his work.
Fasting is a good way to detox that has been talked about a lot lately. That's why many young people join in such a venture with the idea of detoxifying the internal environment of their body and losing a few kilos by the way.
You talk about food as a bomb that needs to be carefully defused, why?
- Because certain concentrated and highly processed foods increase the toxic pressure in the body. In this sense, fasting is a good occasion to reduce our burden with excess and waste products and to throw out the already accumulated ones from our body. This is how the purifying organs themselves are purified - kidneys, liver, lungs, skin. Joints become more elastic.
Which foods burden us the most?
- Those that require longer processing and that lead to the formation of intermediate metabolites that in themselves have some damaging or burdensome effect. These are the complex carbohydrates and fats, mucopolysaccharides, mycosaccharides, which are quite complex and in order to get to the nutrients embedded in them, i.e. simple nutrients, the body makes a large expenditure of energy and enzymes - digestive juices.
However, one must also look at what the final products of metabolism are. For most nutrients, it is carbon dioxide that is eliminated through respiration. The most taxing end product is ammonia, which is an end product of proteins. That is why they have a strictly defined minimum, optimum, and maximum. Precisely for this reason, in order not to exceed the body's capacity to eliminate the final product of ammonia, which is
toxic to our brain
This is why it is so important to follow a dosage in terms of the amount of protein food taken. If it is in excess, the capacity to dispose of ammonia in the liver is exceeded. There it is converted to urea, or in the kidneys, where it is eliminated as ammonium s alts. So it is important that both organs are in good condition so that our body is not poisoned during food processing.
Which are he althier - animal or vegetable proteins?
- Proteins are divided into vegetable and animal, depending on the origin of the food on our tables. The latter are more complete and are contained in meat, white and red meats. Because they contain all the essential amino acids, which actually determines their biological completeness. Eggs are also wholesome. Vegetable proteins are preferred because of the very general constitution of the plant. Christian fasting achieves two goals - the blood vessels are given a chance to rest and the kidneys and liver are spared from processing low-protein foods such as plant products.
Prof. Popova, what risks are there, however, in the following fasting meals at Christmas?
- Holiday meals always bring food hazards. They are, of course, an element of rituals, accompany the holiday and create a lot of mood. You can't do without them, but many people succumb to temptation and often go to extremes that can cause serious he alth disorders. Suddenly, the body is loaded with more fat, s alt and sugar. This process is often combined with the use of alcohol, which is also not well measured. All this can cause the least discomfort, insomnia, gastrointestinal problems. It should be emphasized that such eating disorders are especially dangerous for people who already have he alth problems.
What character can they be?
- Accidents related to a cardiovascular attack, even a heart attack, as well as cerebrovascular problems, provoked precisely by overeating, are not rare. Biliary crises also often occur, as well as inflammation of the pancreas. Acute pancreatitis are serious diseases that can provoke quite unpleasant consequences. As a result of the food feasts, a hypertensive crisis may also appear.
What helps in cases of overeating?
- People who generally have certain digestive disorders, in such cases can take enzyme preparations that will facilitate the absorption of the food taken. Probiotics should also be present in the food in order to restore the good balance of the microbial flora. A fruit and vegetable fresh would go a long way in helping such problems. But if the digestive disorders are more serious, consultation with a doctor is necessary according to the individual case.