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Fasting is a kind of abstinence. It is when someone does not eat or drink for some specified period of time. It is only the case if the person does so of his or her own will. It may also be that the person only eats and drinks certain kinds of food. Most often, fasting is done for religious reasons. Depending on the tradition, fasting practices may forbid or items, such as eating certain types or groups of food (e.g. meat).
Fasting for religious and spiritual reasons has been a part of human custom since pre-history. It is mentioned in the Qur'an, in the Mahabharata, in the Upanishads, and in the Bible, in both the Old and New Testament. In Buddhism it is also taught as a way to getting Nirvana.
In almost all cases, there are exceptions for observing the fasting. These are made for the following groups of people
- pregnant women
- Those who have a disease, or are recovering from one
- In some cases, the old people
Some people choose to fast for health reasons, such as to reduce the risk of many diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease Animal studies have shown significant increases in longevity when fasting is incorporated.