Scientists discover lots of health benefits of fasting. But they do so not for losing weight or any psychological, medical, or health benefit, but as it is ordained in the Quran.
Every year millions of Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset (no food or no water) in the month of Ramadan. All Muslims start fasting in Ramadan daily for 30 days as ordained in Quran.
‘O you who believe fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you so that you can learn Taqwa’ (Quran 2:183).
For the past few years, summer fasting has been observed in the countries of the Northern Hemisphere. As a result, Muslims in these countries have to fast for a long time in the heat.
For example, let’s talk about Norway. There, Muslims have to fast for about 20 hours in summer. But what effect does the fasting of Muslims for a month have on their bodies?
The first few days most difficult
In that sense, fasting does not affect the human body until eight hours have passed since the last meal. The food we eat takes at least eight hours for the body to fully digest and absorb its nutrients in the stomach.
When this food is fully digested, our body tries to take energy from the glucose that is stored in the liver and muscles. When the body starts consuming this fat, it helps us to lose weight. It lowers cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of diabetes.
However, as blood sugar levels drop, you may feel a little weaker and drowsy. Also, some people may experience headaches, dizziness, nausea, or bad breath. At this time the body actually feels the most hunger.
3 to 6 fasting
Beware of dehydration, after the first few days, when your body becomes accustomed to fasting, the body fat melts and turns into blood sugar.
But since you can’t eat or drink anything during the day in Ramadan, you must drink plenty of water to break the fast. Otherwise, you may suffer from severe dehydration. Especially on hot days if the body is sweating.
And the food you eat must have enough energy. Such as carbohydrates or sugars and fats. A balanced diet is very important, where there will be all kinds of nutrients, protein or meat, salt, and water.
8 to 15 fasting
The body is becoming accustomed. At this stage, you can surely feel that your body-mind is feeling better because your body has started to adapt to Fasting.
Usually, we eat a lot of high-calorie foods in our daily life and as a result, our body can’t do many other things properly, such as the body can heal itself.
But since we are fasting during Ramadan, the body can then focus on other activities. So fasting is very beneficial for the body. It can help the body heal wounds or prevent infections. said Dr Rajin, a consultant in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Edenbrooks Hospital in Cambridge.
18 to 30 fasting
The body is weightless. In the second half of the month of Ramadan, your body will adapt to fasting. Your body’s digestive system, liver, kidneys, and skin will now undergo a kind of change. Get rid of all the contaminants and your body will be cleansed.
During this time your body parts will regain their full functionality. Your memory and attention will improve and you will get a lot of energy in your body.
When your body is ‘hungry’ it is using the body’s muscles for energy. It protects our muscles and at the same time helps us lose weight again. And it happens when you are fasting for many days or weeks continuously.
The health benefits of fasting
Fasting is good for the body because it helps us to focus on what we eat and when we eat it. Fasting for a month may be good. But it is not advisable to fast continuously.
Because at some point your body will stop melting fat and turning it into energy. Then it will depend on the muscles for strength. It is not good for health.
The doctor’s advice is that after the month of Ramadan, other types of fasting can be done from time to time. For example 5:2 diet (eating less for five days and eating properly for two days). Where one can fast for a few days and eat and drink healthily again.
Boost Your Brain
No doubt you’ll be aware of the positive effects fasting can have on your mental wellbeing and spiritual focus, but the brain-boosting powers of Ramadan are even more significant than you might think.
A study carried out by scientists in the USA found that the mental focus achieved during Ramadan increases the level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which causes the body to produce more brain cells, thus improving brain function.
Likewise, a distinct reduction in the amount of the hormone cortisol, produced by the adrenal gland, means that stress levels are greatly reduced both during and after Ramadan.
In light of all these facts, we should observe the month of Ramadan with utmost zeal and enthusiasm. However, we should be very careful in terms of Sahary and Ifteri meals which should be light but nutritious.
Over-eating can ruin the positive health benefits of fasting. We should also keep ourselves enough hydrated by drinking water and mildly alkaline beverages which also help reversal of the metabolic acidity due to prolonged fasting.
Why Islamic fasting is different than other types of fasting?
Compared to other diet plans, fasting during the month of Ramadan has no restrictions on the type or amount of food eaten during Iftar or Sahary, so no malnutrition or insufficient calories can be consumed.
This was confirmed by MM Hussaini, during Ramadan 1974 when he conducted a dietary analysis of Muslim students at the University of North Dakota State University at Fargo.
Ramadan fasting is actually a practice of self-discipline. For those who smoke regularly, or drink coffee every hour, a good way to break this habit, hoping the effect will continue even after the month is over.
It is also a month of self-regulation and self-training in terms of food intake thereby causing hopefully, a permanent change in lipostat reading.
In Islamic fasting, we are not subjected to a diet of selective food only (protein only, fruits only, etc). An early breakfast, before dawn is taken and then at sunset fast is broken with something sweet such as dates, fruits, juices, etc.
The psychological effects of Ramadan fasting are also well observed by the description of people who fast. They describe a feeling of inner peace and tranquility. Personal hostility during the month is minimal.
The 9 health benefits of fasting in Ramadan
- Improves fasting detoxification
Processed foods contain many additives. That additive takes shape in the body as fat and accumulates as fat. Due to fasting during the long month of Ramadan, that fat is burnt and dissolved in it. The liver, kidneys, and other organs do this complete detoxification.
- Fasting gives rest to the digestive system
Due to fasting, the digestive system does not have to digest all day and no digestive enzymes are secreted and the digestive system gets to rest for a long time. After Iftar, it can conduct full digestion activities again. So the quality of work increases and digestion is also better
- Fasting lowers blood pressure
Fasting is the only method that lowers blood pressure without drugs. During fasting, the fat stored in the body is burned and provides energy. As fat decreases, blood concentration decreases and so does blood pressure
- Reduces blood sugar
During fasting, glucose stored in the body is burned and converted into energy. The insulin hormone is less secreted. The pancreas can rest on it. Eating carbohydrates (rice, bread, potatoes, vegetables) after Iftar releases insulin from the Pancreas and insulin can work better. As a result, blood sugar decreases.
Physical, Psychological and Health Benefits Of Fasting: Dr Zakir Naik
- Fasting reduces weight
If you are fasting, you will lose weight very quickly. Because if you fast, the fat stored in the body is converted into energy. It reduces the stored fat. So weight loss.
- Fasting inspires a healthy diet
The fast is broken with dates as circumcision. Dates are good health food. Each date contains 31 grams of sugar, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B, which are very beneficial for the body. For example, potassium reduces the heartbeat. Moreover, dates contain natural fiber which is very good for the stomach and prevents constipation. Fasting causes constipation, so dates prevent it. So by performing this circumcision, we can achieve goodness as well as good health.
- Fasting reduces inflammation and allergies
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriasis get better. Accelerates the healing process. So Inflammatory Bowel Diseases are cured.
- Fasting alleviates intoxication
Some smoke, some drink tea or coffee. These bad habits are eliminated because of fasting. Which is very good for health.
- Fasting reduces fat
Glucose is used to make energy when fasting. When finished, the fat stored in the body is used to make energy. Thus fat is reduced. So fasting lowers cholesterol and other fats and leads to good health.
Happy Ramadan to all Muslims.
10 Surprising health benefits of fasting in Islam
Writer: Maher Zain, Stockholm, Sweden
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