Namashkar! What exactly is the importance of fasting? I have come across so many stories and all religions emphasize so much on fasting and prayer. While prayer is fine, but how does fasting while praying help?
Fasting helps de-toxify the body. After or during a longer fast, one can often meditate quite deeply. Fasting helps with gaining self-control over the powerful food addiction.
Fasting must be done with common sense and awareness, however. Once a week, fasting on juice and ground nuts, like almonds, is a good thing to try. Three days a month, perhaps also. But beyond that longer fasting can attract fanatical tendencies and should be done with some guidance. Herbal laxative should be taken the night before.
Do not be fanatical but learn to control the palate. Fasting can help with meditation, health, and clarity of mind. It should not be over emphasized, however.
But fasting does have a place in the lives of sincere devotees seeking contact with God!
I can send you a PDF file with recommendations made by my guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, if you like.