Fasting has been practised since long time for religious, spiritual, physical and mental reasons. "Fast" is abstinence from a food or certain kinds of food for a period of time. We have a natural instinct, an appetite or a call for food by the body when required. With the addition of condiments/spices and frying, we make the food suitable for our taste and we tend to overeat. We eat too frequently that we don't know what real appetite is. How many of us follow the natural call of the body to miss a meal when we do not have the appetite for it. An animal stops eating when sick and has no appetite. Does a man do the same? Man keeps on eating even when he is sick or emotionally upset. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, recommended fasting to many of his patients. He said, "when you feed the sick, you feed the disease." On the other hand if you withhold food, disease goes away. Therefore it is not correct to think that a person becomes weak with fasting.
Benefit of fasting: People who are chronically underweight in spite of eating heavy meals often gain weight to the normal level after fasting.
- The workload that organs normally do is reduced. As no food is taken in, no digestion takes place. So all the energy required is saved and utilized for eliminating the morbid matter from the body organs get rest and regain their vital powers.
- During fasting the senses become acute. Even a hint of aroma of food can activate the nostrils. The taste buds on tongue become extra sensitive. Even simple food tastes good.
- Fasting brings down the cholesterol levels in the blood.o Skin becomes fresh and youthful after a fast. Wrinkles, blotches, discolouration and pimples disappear during fasting.
- More nourishment is derived from less essential tissues. So the body gradually frees itself from surplus waste material.
Fasting calls for a strong mind and a proper atmosphere. If there are friends around to encourage while on fast then it becomes easy; But if there are people who discourage fasting, then it becomes difficult to keep away from food. To continue fasting one has to keep eyes on a set target. One must remind oneself about the many benefits that come by, health-wise, at the end of the fast.
So for health, beauty, cures and regeneration, there is no better method than fasting at least once in six months for seven days for complete detoxification. The mind becomes clear and calmness dawns over the body and mind.