My last two blogs were focused on infertility & obesity. I had also put forth various causes leading to both the conditions. Today I am highlighting a very common remedy that takes care of most of the digestion related conditions & help improve metablism… ‘Langhana’ or fasting!
I have seen that there are a plethora of misconceptions and myths surrounding langhana which actually lead to worse health conditions.
Fasting or langhana is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. Langhana is an important treatment to address obesity, as well as to eliminate toxins out of the body and naturally then to maintain good health. Langhana is a non invasive, non pharmacological treatment mentioned in Ayurved texts to treat obesity . However it must be done under proper professional care.
The duration of the langhana must depend upon the age of the individual, the nature of disease, climatic conditions, & constitution of the patient.
How does langhana exactly work?
We all look forward to a relaxing weekend. Because we are basically tired and physically worn out. Similarly our body cells, our digestive system also get tired with constant work. The cells, the body organs, the digestive system need rest. Langhana or fasting one day in a week, allows rest to the digestive system.
Now fasting or langhana doesn’t mean not to eat anything for the whole day. Ayurved recommends eating light and light food, infusing more liquids in the diet that help digestion. By this, we are reducing usually burdened digestive system, the cells and organs.
What is healthy langhana?
Initially begin with langhana once a week which is adequate in ensuring balanced health. Please note that the duration of langhana and its frequency again depend upon the age, constitution, disease, climate and even the place (geographic) of residence. Of course if you have a known medical condition then you should consult your doctor before fasting.
It’s healthy to start the day with breakfast comprising of fresh fruits and soaked almonds, resins the quantity of which should be regulated as per your doctor’s advice. It is a way to digest food efficiently.
Eating fruits, is like reducing extra burden on the digestive system. During langhana period, the digestive system is not supposed to be bombarded by constant supply of food. This is a qualitative period you are offering to your digestive organs and an opportunity for the vital organs that are responsible for ongoing detoxification, to rest and rejuvenate…yes, your liver, kidneys, lungs, & even your skin are the vital organs. Isn’t it?
A day starting with fruits, provides enough nutrients so as to make sure that you don’t starve for sugar and the nutrients in the fruits are easily digestible which lightens the burden on the digestive system and enhance ongoing detoxification.
You may take a bowl of hot herbal soup (refer to my previous blogs of soup) midmorning . The spices we use in the soups have appetizing & digestive properties that further boost the detoxification process.
For lunch you can eat a rice porridge with ghee and spices, buttermilk, some salads, or moong dal. This lunch will ensure adequate energy for your body throughout the day. It will also simultaneously help and gear up detoxification. Please remember food (& drink)that is warm to hot eliminates toxins from the body and not cold. It is therefore imperative that you avoid cold juices, cold water, refrigerated food.
In the afternoon you can give a shot of herbal tea and light snacks to boost detoxification. It is recommended to have early dinner (& same as lunch). I’d say it’s really good to go on a fast for one day every week. Call it a fancy diet plan instead of ‘langhana’ if you like the sound of it.
The uniqueness of Ayurveda is that does not deprive your body of food nor does it bombard with only juices or fruits or smoothies as hugely publicised in most western diets and by modern dieticians.
But mind you, this is effective only if you are eating properly for the remaining six days of the week.
Benefits of langhana or fasting:
The benefits of ‘Langhana’ are many. Especially when you follow the directions of your Ayurvedic physician Langhana gives you specific advantages, the major being metabolism improvement.Physicians of all cultures, throughout history, have recommended extended fasting as therapy for various conditions. The highpoints however, are as follows:
- Basically langhana improves digestion and appetite thus improving the metabolism.
- So langhana is helpful in almost all metabolic disorders like obesity, diabetes, thyroid issuses , PCOS, infertility and even in the treatment of menopause.
- Once the metabolism is normalized, what happens is the fat reduction begins, plasma glucose starts to regularize in diabetics as well as hormone balancing in the body.
- Langhana helps normalizing circulation thus improving the immune system.
- It enhances the body’s immune system by eliminating toxins out of the body.
I am sure now that you have read this, you would give up all fanciful misconceptions and myths and head straight to consult with your physician who will, after checking your ‘Prakriti’ & lifestyle give show you the right way to fasting!
Dr. Manjiri Joshi