Although fasting has become ever more popular for improving your health and wellness, it is an age-old practice and plays a significant part in several religions and cultures.  Fasting means abstaining or limiting all or some foods or drinks for a predetermined time.

There are numerous ways to fast.  In general, most fasts last between 12 and 72 hours.  Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, comprises cycling between eating and fasting stages that can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

Fasting can give several health benefits, from weight reduction to improved cognitive function.

First, let’s have a look at how to start fasting.


There are many forms of fasts, making it simple to pick one that works for you.

The following are some of the most prevalent types of fasting:

  • Water fasting entails only drinking water for a specific time.
  • Juice fasting entails drinking just vegetable or fruit juice for a set amount of time.
  • Intermittent fasting, in which intake is restricted for a few hours to a few days at a time, with a standard diet resumed on other days.  It is employed in several cultural, religious, and personal contexts.
  • Partial fasting is when certain foods or drinks, such as processed foods, animal products, or caffeine, are removed from the diet for a set period.
  • Calorie restriction means that calories are restricted for a few days every week.

There are even more types of fasts within these categories, such as intermittent fasting, which can be divided into subcategories such as alternate-day fasting, which includes intake every other day, or time-restricted feeding, which requires eating only a few hours per day and restricting intake the rest of the time.

Fasting in Muslim countries: A widespread religious practice is intermittent fasts which involve avoiding any food or drinks from early morning to early evening and having all sorts of foods during the rest of the day, which is presumed to impart numerous health benefits with spiritual aspects.

The exact mechanism of how it enhances health is unknown; however, some theories from scientific studies are of the view that it involves the reduction in the production of reactive oxidative species, increased ketosis, and optimization of central and peripheral circadian physiological processes.

Fasting and Indian culture: Fasting as a spiritual and moral act is an essential element of Hinduism for purifying the mind and body and acquiring divine grace.  It can range from mild restriction to complete abstinence, such as you may abstain from just one meal in a day, or avoid a particular food type, or you can be more strict.  Fasting days and methods are not imposed but are determined by the community, family, or individual.

To begin, experiment with different types of fasting to see what works best for you according to your health, dietary habits, and lifestyle.  Consulting a nutritionist or physician can be a better option in this regard.


Fasting has been linked to various health benefits, including:

  • Enhanced weight management
  • Better blood sugar control
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Improved heart health
  • May also protect against diseases like cancer and neurological illnesses


While acute inflammation is a natural immune response used to help fight infections, chronic inflammation can have significant health repercussions.  According to research, chronic inflammation may play a role in developing severe illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Fasting has been proven in numerous studies to aid in reducing inflammation and promoting improved health.  A meta-analysis of 18 research discovered that intermittent fasting could considerably lower C-reactive protein levels, a measure of inflammation.

Another small study revealed that adopting intermittent fasting for a year was more successful than a control group at lowering inflammation and some risk factors for heart disease.

Furthermore, one animal study discovered that eating a very low-calorie diet to simulate the effects of fasting reduced inflammation and was influential in treating multiple sclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disorder.


Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for an estimated 31.5% of all deaths.  One of the most effective ways to minimize cardiovascular disease risk is to modify your dietary pattern and lifestyle.

Based on certain studies, it has been concluded that including fasting in your regimen can be very beneficial for your heart health.  One study found that, compared to a control group, alternate-day fasting could lower total cholesterol levels and numerous risk factors for heart disease in adults who are overweight.

Another study found that alternate-day fasting significantly reduced blood pressure and blood triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

Furthermore, an older study of 4,629 adults linked fasting to a lower risk of coronary artery disease as well as a significantly lower chance of diabetes, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease.


Several studies have suggested that fasting improves blood sugar control, which could be especially beneficial for people with diabetes.  Research involving ten type-2 diabetic patients demonstrated that short-term intermittent fasting lowered blood sugar levels significantly.

Meanwhile, another 2014 study discovered that intermittent and alternate-day fasting were equally efficient at reducing insulin resistance as calorie restriction.

Reduced insulin resistance can enhance your body’s sensitivity to insulin, moving glucose more efficiently from your bloodstream to your cells.

Combined with the potential blood sugar-lowering impacts of fasting, this could help keep your blood sugar stable, reducing blood sugar spikes and crashes.

However, other studies have indicated that fasting affects blood sugar levels and insulin resistance differently in men and women.  For example, one older 3-week trial found that alternate-day fasting harmed female blood sugar regulation but did not affect males.


Many dieters try fasting to reduce weight.  In theory, avoiding all or certain foods and beverages should reduce your overall calorie consumption, potentially leading to increased weight loss over time.

In animal studies, short-term fasting promotes metabolism by boosting levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which may aid in weight loss.  One study found that fasting for the entire day could reduce body weight by up to 9% and considerably reduce body fat over 12-24 weeks.

Another study discovered intermittent fasting was more efficient than constant calorie restriction in causing weight loss.  Furthermore, several studies have demonstrated that fasting may significantly reduce body and belly fat more than ongoing calorie restriction.


Though most studies have been conducted on animals, some investigations have discovered that fasting may significantly impact brain function.

In a 2013 study on mice, intermittent fasting for 11 months increased brain function and anatomy.  Other animal research has found that fasting can improve cognitive function by protecting brain health and increasing nerve cell production.

Fasting, as already discussed, may also help alleviate inflammation, which may aid in the prevention of neurodegenerative illnesses.

Fasting, in particular, appears to protect against and improve results in animal tests for illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Some religious beliefs in several Muslim countries are of the view that fasting improves memory.  It has also been highlighted in a systematic review study published in the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association in 2019 that demonstrated that Islamic fasting, which involves the complete prohibition of any food or drinks from dawn to dusk, has a positive impact on cognitive activities such as visual memory, spatial memory, and attention.


The protein hormone human growth factor (HGH) plays a crucial role in various areas of your health.  Indeed, research indicates that this vital hormone is involved in metabolism, weight reduction, and muscular growth.

Fasting has been revealed in more than a few research studies to boost the levels of HGH naturally.  Fasting for 24 hours dramatically raised HGH levels in one study of 11 healthy adults.  Another small, older study of nine males discovered that fasting for just two days increased HGH synthesis by fivefold.

Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, fasting may help maintain consistent blood sugar and insulin levels throughout the day, which may assist in optimizing HGH levels further, as some study has revealed that insulin can influence HGH output.


Fasting appears to aid cancer treatment and prevention in animal and test-tube research.  An older study discovered that fasting on alternate days helped to prevent tumor growth.  Several animal and test-tube studies also believe fasting could lessen tumor progression and increase chemotherapy effectiveness.

Unfortunately, most of these studies on the impact of fasting on cancer formation are limited to cell studies.  Hence, despite these encouraging findings, more research is needed to determine how fasting may influence cancer growth and therapy in humans.


Animal research on the possible lifespan-extension effects of fasting has yielded promising results.  In one study, rats who fasted lived 28% longer and acquired disease 28% later than rats with unlimited food access.

Other studies have found similar results, indicating that fasting may help improve longevity and delay the disease.

However, most current research is confined to animal studies.  More studies about how fasting affects aging and longevity in humans may be needed.


Although fasting offers many health benefits, it is still not recommended or appropriate for everyone.  Fasting, for example, can cause severe rises and dips in blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.

If you have any underlying health concerns or want to fast for more than 24 hours, you should consult a doctor first.

Fasting is also not generally advised without medical supervision for elderly adults, adolescents, or underweight persons.

To maximize the potential health benefits of fasting, remain hydrated and enrich your diet with nutrient-dense foods throughout your feeding intervals.

Also, if fasting for an extended period, try to avoid strenuous physical activity and get plenty of rest.

The Takeaway

The practice of fasting has been linked to a wide range of potential health benefits, including weight loss, improved blood sugar control, enhanced heart health, better brain function, and cancer prevention.

Numerous fasting styles accommodate practically every lifestyle, from water fasting to intermittent fasting and calorie restriction.

Fasting may help your health when combined with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle to live a long, disease free life.

Got a question? Leave it below in the comments!

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Tony Vortex
S.T.E.M. Researcher & Teacher | Healer - Tony is the Spiritual Son to the beloved Dr. Delbert Blair. At age 11 he began to study plant life and their healing mechanisms as it bothered him deeply to see so many older family members needlessly sick. Throughout the years he has been sharing what he knows so that others may live a life full of abundance while exploring its mysteries.

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