3 Mental Health Reasons That Ban Religious Fasting

People of various faiths, such as Judaism, Islam, Christianity, or Hinduism, participate in fasting—temporarily abstaining from eating and sometimes drinking—as part of their religious practice as a means of repentance, purification, or self-discipline.

In addition to the religious and cultural significance of fasting, some people experience mental benefits of fasting as well. Some observational studies have suggested that fasting improves mood and reduces Stress levels” Ketan Parmar, MDa psychiatrist based MumbaiIndia, who identifies as a Hindu.

For example, a A study published in Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research showed that fasting during Ramadan, a month-long Islamic holiday that occurs every spring, was associated with a decrease in Symptoms of depression and stress levels afterwards among the nurses.

Although religious fasting is safe for most people, there are exceptions. For example, in the month of Ramadan, Muslims who are sick, pregnant or breastfeeding are advised not to fast according to another. Article in Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. And while fasting may have mental health benefits for some, it can be detrimental to the mental health of others. That’s why some experts believe that there should be mental health-related exceptions to religious fasting.

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