Religious Fasting: Is it Dangerous?

Many cultures include fasting especially in their religious practices. Fasting symbolizes the sacrifice each member of the religious sect must perform in order to affirm their faith. The sanctity of the practice is currently being set aside as weight loss programs adapt the concept of fasting to lose weight and shed off unwanted fats.

Common Fasting Practices
When we say fasting, the process involves restricting the dietary intake to liquids only. Some even take in only a particular kind of liquid such as water, tea or fruit juice. People who are proponents of fasting usually recommend regular short fasts as potion of a general health maintenance process. They usually prescribe two to five days of fasting. These advocates further state that longer fasting can help heal an illness when done under medical supervision.

The central question now is this: is religious fasting dangerous to your health? Some groups may look at it as some kind of burden for the individual, but followers of a certain religion, such as Islam or Roman Catholicism, carry out fasting in such a way that it will be safe for the person. Fasting is done with some considerations in order to maintain the health of the individual. For example, a Muslim has to do fasting during Ramadan period. He or she is not allowed to eat for the entire day, but there is a certain time within the day when he or she can break the fast.

Oftentimes, fruit juices are given to people who fast to supply the necessary nutrients to their bodies.

Health Benefits
Fasting can also be a detoxifying process wherein all the toxins are removed from the body by the process of water therapy. Some advocates of fasting believe that when the body is relieved of its usual chore of breaking down food, it will focus on cleansing and healing processes.

Enhancing the immune system is another claim to fame of fasting. Some people also believe that fasting is an effective way to cure or improve a variety of illnesses such as asthma, heart disease, ulcer, and many more. In the ancient times, fasting is viewed as a process that can purify the soul of an individual. This belief has been carried over up to the present times where it is perceived as a way to cleanse the body. Fasting restores health through physiological mechanisms. Unlike water and fat which can be removed from the body, toxins remain in the body. These harmful elements can be removed by fasting.

Opponents of Fasting
On the other hand, some claim that fasting can be life threatening especially for those who are thin and those who suffer from malnourishment and other chronic illnesses. Even experts say that there is no scientific research to support the claims of fasting advocates. A number of experts even contradict the claims and state the dangers of fasting. They still recommend reducing calorie intake while maintaining a balanced diet to make the body healthy and keep it from being susceptible to diseases.

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