Apart from being known as the women’s festival, Teej is also famous for the 24-hour arduous fasting. Fasting is an integral part of Teej. Many Nepali Hindu married women take Teej fasting, praying for the longevity and good health of their husbands whereas the unmarried ones do it wishing for good husbands as a blessing of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Teej fasting has religious and cultural connotations; hence, it is rarely seen from a health perspective. However, 24 hours of arduous Teej fasting without even having a drop of water has some health benefits as well as hazards, informs a clinical dietician at Norvic International Hospital, Praniti Singh. Meanwhile, she also shares some warnings for the people fasting.
Let’s get to know the pros and cons of Teej fasting better as shared by Singh:
1. Increase in human growth hormone (HGH)
Many studies have shown that general fasting for 24 hours boosts the human growth hormone, produced by the pituitary gland. This will eventually better your metabolism, and weight, and increase muscle strength. Overall, it helps with the recovery of the body. The HGH starts increasing generally after eight to 12 hours of fasting.
2. Formation of new cells
After 16 hours of fasting, your body goes into a state of autophagy, in which the body cleans out old damaged cells and renews or regenerates newer and healthier cells. So, new cells are built up in this process in the body.
After 12 hours of fasting, your body also goes into detoxification mode. When you do not eat for 12 hours, your body will not get glucose from the food, which is the main source of energy. After that, the body, mainly the liver, starts burning the glycogen stored in the body and uses it for energy, which also helps in fat burning.
4. Reduction in inflammations
Fasting helps in lowering inflammation by releasing toxins from the body, lowering oxidative stress, and giving a break to the digestive system. So, it also has time for recovery.
5. Preparedness for adverse conditions
After certain hours of fasting, when your body goes into a state of starvation, it puts a strain on your body. And, when the body is strained, it forces body cells to adapt to this kind of environment. The body cells learn to cope with such adverse conditions, thus their coping mechanism and ability are built and they are better suited to cope with these kinds of circumstances.
The ways Nepali women used to have “Dar” (special delicacies) on the eve of Teej in the past and what they do in recent times are totally different. In old times, that used to be scientific; they used to eat dar just a day before fasting and they used to have healthy home-cooked food. But, now, many are feasting on fast food and even alcohol. Intake of junk food and alcohol will not provide any energy to the body rather dehydrates the body and increases the cravings on the Teej fasting day.
3. Adding toxins to body
All of this intake of junk food and alcohol during the Dar eve can also add toxins to the body and stay in fat cells.
4. Fluctuation in blood sugar level
If a person with diabetes goes on fasting, their blood sugar level can fluctuate. If fasting is done under medical guidance, it does help to control your obesity, blood sugar level, and hypertension. But if you choose to do it on your own, it can have negative impacts on your health.
Further, Singh also mentions who should not be fasting:
- Pregnant women
- Breastfeeding women
- Children below 15 years
- People with fluctuating blood sugar levels and hypoglycemia and hyperglycemic patients
- People having low blood pressure levels
- People under heavy medication which needs to be taken with food
- People with eating disorders, binge eating or anorexia
- People with severe gastritis