Fasting comes in many forms, and health concerns should be carefully assessed before committing to any fast. Individuals with health concerns should consult a doctor prior to fasting. Some fasts last for only a day, and others go on for a week or more. The type of fast that is right for you will depend on factors such as your health, what you wish to achieve with the fast and your responsibilities.
Fasting is the act of abstaining from certain types of food and beverages for a period of time. You can choose to go on a 24 hour fast, a three day fast or a longer fast depending on your desires. Some people fast because of spiritual or religious beliefs, while others fast for health benefits. Some of the major health benefits associated with fasting include:
- Giving your digestive system a break. The digestion process is usually non-stop. Years of use (and possibly abuse) can tax your body. Giving this system a break can help your body restore function.
- Because fasting helps to burn excess fat stored in the body, it is used for weight loss by some people.
1. Water Fasting
Water fasting is a type of fasting in which you consume only water for the period of the fast. Because of changes that occur within the body when it’s deprived of food, it is important to make sure you are careful when choosing such a fast. Consulting a physician is recommended.
2. Juice Fasting
Juice fasting, like water fasting, involves consumption of only juice for the fasting period. Fruit and vegetable juices are generally part of the juice fast. This type of fasting is used to detox the body, lose weight and heal the body. The period of the fast depends on the person choosing it.
3. Medical Test Fasting
Many medical tests and procedures require that you fast for a period of time prior to having them done. Your physician or nurse will inform you of the requirements of a medical procedure fast in advance. You may have to refrain from consuming food, water or both.
4. Religious Fasting
Many of the world’s religions employ fasting as a means to restore, purify and seek miracles. Each religion has its own take on the types of fasting that are used. Christians who fast may do so because of the many accounts of fasting within the Bible. In the Catholic faith, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory fast days. Some followers fast by completely abstaining from food, while others choose to abstain from a particular item or vice.
In Hinduism, fasting is done on certain days as well. Followers of the Hindu faith do not eat or drink from sunset until the following sunrise on fast days.
Islam employs fasting during the month of Ramadan. Muslims who follow the fasting process may refrain from drinking, eating, sex and smoking from dawn until dusk during the 30-day fast.