Fitness

Health Benefits of Fasting in Ramadan

Health benefits of fasting in Ramadan
Written by Aiman Ibrash

The holy month of Ramadan is here with all its blessings and charms. The daily routines change for Muslims all over the world as they start fasting from Fajr till the sun goes down. Fasting is indeed a virtue. It can be hard to stop eating or drinking for an entire day, but slowly, as we advance through the month, fasting becomes the norm. Not only this, your body starts to get strong and bear the long hours of fasting easily also. Furthermore, you may be surprised to hear that fasting has many benefits of the brain also. Yes, along with cleansing your soul, your fasts in Ramadan help you to cleanse your body as well. Here are 20 proven health benefits of fasting in Ramadan that are sure to leave you amazed!

1. Lowers fat levels in the blood

Fasting is a long process. It uses up your body reserves slowly. At the start, the body uses the circulating glucose in the blood. Later, the stored glycogen reserves in the liver are slowly consumed. Finally, after 3-6 hours, the body shifts towards fats as its energy source. It consumes the circulation triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood, which lowers lipid levels in the blood.

2. Increases secretion of human growth hormone

This is the primary hormone that is responsible for the growth and also the metabolic rate of the body. Fasting induces excessive secretion of this hormone by the pituitary. As a result, the basal metabolic rate starts to rise. Furthermore, the hormone exerts its effect on the metabolic process shifting the body into a fat burning and glucose conserving phase. As a result, the hormone induces all the cells of the body into an energy consuming, and fat burning state, helping your body stay slim and smart.

3. Detoxification

Usually, our bodies are exposed to loads of toxins on a daily basis. These toxins are stored in the fat cells, from where they exert their debilitating effects. While fasting, the metabolism shifts towards fat usage and the toxins are released as fat stores melt. Ultimately, these toxins are carried to the liver for removal. Hence, fasting helps to maintain an optimum environment within the body.

4. Rests the digestive system

We hardly realize the stress that we put on our gut regularly. It really needs a break after having to work continuously for so long. Fasting relaxes the gut, which provides it with that soothing gap that it needs to recover. The walls are healed and the muscles are charged to the optimum. Now, when you break the fast, the gut will be working at its best. Therefore, this helps you avoid the many tummy problems that are common during Ramadan, such as, constipation and diarrhea.

5. Reduces blood pressure

The benefits of fasting in Ramadan include an indirect effect on lowering the blood pressure. Fasting reduces atherosclerosis in blood vessels and protects against further build up. In addition, it also prevents the rapid fluctuations in the consistency of the blood. This helps to maintain thin blood and unobstructed circulation, which helps normalize the blood pressure.

6. Promotes weight loss

Fasting can be your road to weight loss. Many metabolic changes are produced during fasting, which include, using fat stores, minimizing blood glucose levels and promoting protein deposition. Therefore, all these effects shift the body into a weight loss state. Now you can easily lose weight while you reap the blessings of this holy month!

7. Boosts immunity

Fasting has known benefits on the immune system. Cleansing the body of toxins and promoting a reduced load of sugars and fats results in a better immune system. In addition, the white blood cells are not suppressed or numbed, allowing them to work at their full capacity.

8. Helps to overcome addictions

During fasting, there are certain hours of the day where you have to restrain your body and your intake. This is the perfect time to rid yourself of addictions. You can minimize chronic habits like drinking, smoking, even excessive coffee or tea by fasting. Hence, as your body starts to adapt to this new lifestyle, it leaves the old cravings behind. A fresh start is all yours.

9. Improves mood and behavior

Thanks to the many metabolic influences of fasting, it has a significant effect on the mood and behavior. Fasting helps to instill patience and virtue in the body. The stable levels of glucose in the blood also result in the normal delivery of glucose to the brain. Hence, the health benefits of fasting in Ramadan allow you to keep your mind calm, instead of the reckless mood or anger that often accompanies hyper and hypoglycemia.

10. Improves mental clarity and brain function

Of course, the health benefits of fasting in Ramadan are associated with a significant effect on the brain also. Fasting produces Brain Derived Neurotrophic factor, BDNF, which is basically a growth factor. In addition, the stem cells in the brain are stimulated to grow, which results in rapid healing and promotion of growth. Besides this, it also stimulates the brain to release natural healing chemicals, that optimize and sharpen brain functions.

11. Improves insulin sensitivity

Fasting has a beneficial effect on the blood glucose levels. In addition, the fatty acid reducing the effect of fasting helps to counteract insulin sensitivity. On op of it all, insulin secretion is also enhanced. All of this helps to prevent diabetes and improve preexisting conditions.

12. Reduces oxidative stress on the body

The health benefits of fasting in Islam are diverse. It helps to eliminate toxins and counteracts the many oxidative radicals produced in the body. This reduces the stress on the body and eliminates oxidative radicals that are constantly damaging your internal organs. A better internal environment means a healthier body and reduced chances of diseases.

13. Prolongs life

It is a fact that the body is influenced by what we eat. Many studies in rats prove that fasting actually prolongs life. A study found an 83% increase in life expectancy in fasting rats as compared to non-fasting ones. Furthermore, general observations also prove that fasting helps to minimize harmful diseases and promote a healthy and long life. This may as well be one of the best health benefits of fasting in Ramadan.

14. Curbs hunger

Although fasting may seem like you are actually keeping yourself hungry and are bound to get those severe hunger pangs, this is far from the truth. In reality, fasting resets the hunger button so that your body knows what actual hunger is. When you can differentiate between the desire to eat and actual hunger, you can choose to eat less and control your hunger.

15. Helps prevent cancer

There is strong evidence that fasting helps to counteract the negative effects of chemotherapy. In addition to this, many animal studies have shown promising results in cancer trials. Although human studies still need to be conducted for a definite answer, fasting does show improvement in cancer patients. It may actually help prevent cancer.

16. Improves cell repair

As your body fasts, the cells initiate a self-eating response called autophagy. It is this self-engulfing process, which causes the body to eat all the harmful and diseased cells. This results in a healthier environment where all cells are optimized for function. The minor defects are repaired rapidly and the damaged cells are removed.

17. May help prevent Alzheimer’s

There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, which is a neuro-degenerative disease. All that we can do is figure out ways to prevent it. Fasting helps to delay the onset and improve the severity of this disease in many patients. Moreover, certain studies found that the condition improved significantly in 9 out of 10 patients with Alzheimer’s. This indicates a positive role of fasting in this disease, one which we can take advantage of.

18. Prevents heart diseases

You may be surprised to hear of the many ways that fasting has a cardioprotective function. It lowers blood lipids, increases the good lipids, reduces the blood pressure, promotes a healthy diet and weight loss and also prevents atherosclerosis. All of these factors combine to protect the heart from any adverse conditions.

19. Increases metabolic rate

Fasting has a significant role on the body’s hormones. It’s effect of inducing growth hormone secretion and shifting from the carbs to fats results in the production of excessive energy. At the same time, a lot of energy is used in digesting and utilizing them also. This causes the basal metabolic rate to rise, which causes more energy to be burnt even at rest. Hence, all these effects shift your body into a weight loss phase, which helps you to maintain weight. Therefore, you can claim the many benefits of fasting in Ramadan.

20. Anti-aging effects

The health benefits of fasting in Islam also addresses the color and freshness of the face. Slowly, as your body is detoxified, the excessive, unnecessary stores removed and the cell repair processes are set into motion, your skin starts to glow and look much younger. This is all due to a better internal environment, which optimizes the conditions around your cells and helps them flourish, producing the anti aging effect.

The many health benefits of fasting in Islam are evident. Fasting really does encompass all aspects of physical and mental health. Not only does your body start to work better, you start feeling better too. Hence, you can wash your sins and your body in this holy month, to start afresh. Claim the benefits of fasting in Ramadan for your body and for your soul!

 

 

 

References:

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10 Benefits of Fasting That Will Surprise You. (2017). Lifehack. Retrieved 11 June 2017, from http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-benefits-of-fasting-that-will-surprise-you.html

The Health Benefits of Fasting. (2017). HuffPost. Retrieved 11 June 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-health-benefits-of-fasting_us_5762c714e4b02081542fd6b3

Seven Benefits of Fasting. (2017). HuffPost. Retrieved 11 June 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/atif-rashid/seven-benefits-of-fasting_b_10315148.html

This is what can happen to your waistline when you fast every day. (2017). Mercola.com. Retrieved 11 June 2017, from http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2016/03/25/health-benefits-fasting.aspx

Revolution, H. (2017). Top 10 Health Benefits of Fasting • Health Fitness Revolution. Health Fitness Revolution. Retrieved 11 June 2017, from http://www.healthfitnessrevolution.com/10-health-benefits-fasting/

About the author

Aiman Ibrash

Aiman Ibrash is a competent nutritionist, striving to make a difference by providing excellent nutrition tips that actually work. She has experience as a nutritionist for weight management, rapid weight loss and weight control among other noted areas of expertise.

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