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Fasting fest – Religious fasting

Religious fasting is undertaken for spiritual or religious purposes and is characterized by variable degrees of caloric restriction and abstinence from specific foods.

Advantages of religious fasting:

- Fasting leads to better metabolic health by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Fasting therapy may contribute to the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and neurological disorders. It is possible that, in future, some physician may recommend fasting as a complementary treatment for some specific chronic disorders.

- Although religious fasting is often a time of great spiritual growth, it can also be a time of great improvement to one's physical health.

- It is interesting to see the positive effects on body mass index (BMI), lipid profile, cardiovascular health, obesity, chronic disorders despite of variability in schedules of fasting, hours of fasting, gender differences, and very less caloric restriction in various fasting types. This is in contrast to the typical scientific intermittent fasting where caloric restriction remains the main component.

- The very basis of religious fasting is that it has to be done over a particular time period, e.g., particular season (monsoon), particular day/days (Monday, ekaadashi,chaturthi/ paryushan, Navratri), particular month (Ramadan, shraavan), etc. So, it definitely unites one with the law of nature! And nature always HEALS.

Although it is usually good to take an opportunity to be healthy and to enlighten ourselves with religious fasting, one must be aware that as per scriptures, not everyone is fit for fasting, whether religious or therapeutic. For example, fasting is usually not recommended for pregnant women, children, very old and very sick persons. So, it is always desirable to discuss pros and cons of fasting with your medical professional before including fasting into your lifestyle.

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