Food for thought: the health benefits of fasting

Here are seven reasons why fasting during Ramadan is good for you.

In the traditional sense, fasting was seen as a cure-all. Hippocrates, Socrates and Plato were all documented as recommending the practice for the healing of physical diseases and conditions.

The effects of fasting seem to go beyond the physical, with positive effects on mental, emotional and spiritual states, allowing you to feel lighter on all levels as you are cleansing not just physical toxins but also more subtle forms of toxicity.

When undertaken with care, Ramadan can be a very healthy time. Here are seven reasons why, as discussed in the context of fasting by numerous authorities including the holistic health writer Dr Andrew Weil, the chiropractor Dr Ben Kim and the US television presenter Dr Mehmet Oz.


A powerful therapeutic process that can help people recover from mild to severe health conditions. The most recorded evidence indicate positive effects on conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma, allergies, chronic headaches, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, adult onset diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, psoriasis, eczema and acne.


A sustained amount of time without food allows your body to rest, a period known as concentrated physiological rest. During this time the body’s own self-healing mechanism is enabled more fully, allowing repair and renewal of damaged cells and organs.


This process also allows the body to cleanse cells of accumulated toxins and waste products as your body literally has more energy to devote to internal cleaning since there is no energy expenditure on digestion.


Fasting gives your digestive tract time to rest and strengthen its mucosal lining, which is essential for the integrity of the intestinal wall, preventing the leakage of undigested food into the blood stream.

Digestive relief

A strong digestive tract is also essential to protect the blood and inner organs against toxins and lowers your probability of suffering food allergies.


Fasting gives you more energy, healthier skin and better quality sleep as a direct result of the concentrated rest and cleansing. Your natural beauty is able to shine through.


A decrease in anxiety and tension is often reported among those who fast for extended periods.

Laura Holland is a well-being consultant and nutritional therapist. Visit