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Fasting: A guide to a healthier fasting period

Authors: Dr Faeeza Abdullatief (Unani Tibb Practitioner) , Dr Khalida Sabi (Naturopath)

Fasting is known to be one of the best forms of detox of the mind and body. It can be spiritually uplifting and clears the mind. Fasting is done in various ways and for various reasons depending on the origin e.g. health reasons to control disease, Religious or cultural beliefs. Here are some of the common types of fasting:

Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating.

It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them.

In this respect, it’s not a diet in the conventional sense but more accurately described as an eating pattern. Common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours, twice per week. Fasting has been a practice throughout human evolution. Ancient hunter-gatherers didn’t have supermarkets, refrigerators or food available year-round. Sometimes they couldn’t find anything to eat. As a result, humans evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods of time. In fact, fasting from time to time is more natural than always eating 3–4 (or more) meals per day. Fasting is also often done for religious or spiritual reasons, including in Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism [1].


In many different cultures and religions Fasting is recommended at special times of the year. In Islam, Fasting is recommended on a regular basis ons specific days of the week then there is also the month of Ramadaan. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Muslim lunar calendar. Healthy adult Muslims fast in Ramadan from dawn until dusk. This includes abstaining from drinking, eating, immoral acts and anger. Other acts of worship such as prayer, reading the Quran and charity are also encouraged during the holy month [2].


In Christianity, Lent is a significant season in the year for Christians – a time of solemnity and self-reflection where they confess their failings and resolve to live a more godly life based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. It lasts for just over six weeks leading up to Easter. Traditionally it was a time of fasting from certain foods such as eggs, meat, fish and fats. Nowadays people might give up a luxury food – such as chocolate. They may also give up an activity such as using social media or drinking alcohol. It is called Lent in English because it is the time of the year when days are lengthening in the northern hemisphere. Like Easter, Lent falls on different dates each year. Christians in different church traditions around the world celebrate slightly different periods of Lent [3].

Benefits of fasting

  • Promotes Blood Sugar Control by Reducing Insulin Resistance

  • Promotes Better Health by Fighting Inflammation

  • May Enhance Heart Health by Improving Blood Pressure, Triglycerides and Cholesterol Levels

  • May Boost Brain Function and Prevent Neurodegenerative Disorders

  • Aids Weight Loss by Limiting Calorie Intake and Boosting Metabolism [4]

Preparing for fasting with detoxification

Fasting is a cleansing of the mind and body. When detoxing, it allows the body to clear itself from toxins that cause disease and assist in normalising bodily functions. One method of enhancing detoxification is through cupping therapy. Detoxification is also when we rid our bodies of built up toxins due to poor eating habits and lifestyle factors. When detoxing it is important to avoid toxic substances e.g. smoking, alcohol, junk food, processed foods, sugar and eat more nutritious foods that promote good digestion and nutrition e.g. more fresh fruit and vegetables, fibre, water intake. Exercise is another method of promoting detoxification by increasing metabolism and through sweating which also releases toxins. Both dry and wet cupping therapy can assist in improving blood circulation and promote detoxification. There are also specific herbs that act as tonics to the liver, kidneys and digestive system to also promote detoxification. It is best that you consult a practitioner to ensure that this is done safely and suited to your individual needs.

For more information on pre-fasting detox and eating healthy during fasting join us in our online webinar to get fully equipped and recharge your health.


Join our workshop with Dr Khalida Sabi (Naturopath) on Saturday 20 March at 11:00- 13:00 for R100 per person. Due to the workshop being interactive, there will be a limit of 25 people for this workshop

Content to be covered in the workshop:

  1. Detoxing before the fasting period. Why is it important to cleanse the body before fasting?

  2. How to ease into the fasting period- what to do and what not to do before fasting

  3. How to maintain a healthy fasting period

For appointment bookings visit:


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