The health benefits of fasting. Periodic fasting, under a religious aspect, has been adopted by humans for centuries as a crucial pathway of spiritual purification. Caloric restriction, with or without the exclusion of certain types of food, is often a key component. Fasting varies significantly among different populations according to cultural habits and local climate conditions. Some of the benefits of fasting include: It Provides the digestive system with a rest from its daily activities, just as we need to take a vacation from our jobs. Cleanses the body by eliminating harmful toxins. Allows the body a period of rest for meditation and spiritual development. Introduces a period of transition (i.e., weight loss, overcoming addictions, the shift from meat eating to a vegetarian diet, etc.) for the body to gear up for it. Studies conducted by Mark P. Mattson at the National Institute on Aging on mice concluded that fasting has beneficial effects on the aging process as well. Mattson said an earlier study found that mice that fasted every other day had extended life spans. A new experiment found the mice also did better in factors involved in diabetes and nerve damage in the brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease. The findings showed that in healthy people, fasting can reduce the inflammatory markers (IL-1 & IL-6, TNF-α), the oxidative stress marker (Malondialdehyde), body weight, abdominal circumference, fasting blood glucose, LDL, triglyceride, and blood pressure. In people at risk or with cardiovascular disease, fasting can reduce body weight, body mass index, abdominal circumference, fat percentage, blood pressure, triglyceride, the biomarker of inflammation (serum amyloid A), the biomarker of oxidative stress (protein carbonyl), the biomarker of endothelial dysfunction (asymmetric dimethylarginine) and increase the vascular endothelial growth factor.