12 health benefits of fasting backed by science
We’re all aware that Ramzan has tremendous spiritual blessings but what about the barakah and health benefits the body gets from fasting in the blessed month?
In addition to observing one’s religious and spiritual obligations, fasting in the month of Ramzan comes with a great many health benefits in terms of physical as well as mental well being. It gives your body a good break from the usual intake of food or water — allowing your system to rejuvenate and reset.
Approaching fasting with mindfulness and intention can help attain maximum health benefits in the holy month. So here are 12 health benefits of fasting- backed by science.
1. Weight loss and improved metabolism:
One of the first health benefits of fasting in Ramzan is that it improves metabolism and boosts weight loss. Since the body adjusts to a limited amount of food and drink intake during the day, it begins to use stored fat as a source of energy and consumes it throughout the day. This leads to an increased metabolic rate promoting fat-burn and weight loss.
2. Improved cardiovascular function:
A recent medical research undertaken by cardiologists in the UAE revealed that those who observe fasting in the month of Ramzan enjoy a positive effect on their lipid profile, which means a decrease of bad cholesterol in the blood.
Low cholesterol increases cardiovascular health, greatly reducing the risk of heart disease, or strokes. Routine fasting is associated with lower rates of heart failure and increased life span. Moreover, this newly lowered cholesterol level becomes easy to maintain if you continue to follow a healthy diet after Ramzan.
3. Better mental health:
Fasting also goes a significantly long way towards reducing mental distress and balancing the mind. Fasting is known to strengthen the mind, increase will-power, sharpen focus and provide mental clarity – this is primarily due to a reduction in sugar, salt and overall caloric intake. Various studies have shown that fasting markedly reduces negative emotions, including tension and depressive feelings.
4. Healthier brain and cognitive function:
During the fasting hours, blood in the human body is filled with more endorphins, which in turn, harnesses a feeling of well-being and great mental health. The overall effects of fasting has a similar impact on the brain as does physical exercise. Research also proves that fasting can increase the brains capacity to handle stress, and can improve mood, memory and even learning capacity.
5. Boosted immune system:
One of the important benefits of routine fasting is that it strengthens the immune system. In the fasted state, the body shifts from using glucose as its primary source of energy to using ketones, which are produced from fat stores. This shift activates a process called autophagy, where the body starts to break down and replenish damaged cells, including those of the immune system. As a result, old and damaged immune cells are removed and replaced with new, healthy ones.
6. Improved sleep:
Fasting has been found to help improve sleep quality in several ways. For instance, fasting reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can interfere with sleep. Additionally, fasting in the holy month has been linked to an increase in the production of the sleep-inducing hormone- melatonin. It also helps in regulating circadian rhythms, which are the natural 24-hour cycles that regulate many physiological processes in the body, promoting sleep. By aligning the body’s natural rhythms with the sleep-wake cycle, fasting effectively improves the quality and duration of sleep.
7. Radiant complexion/anti-ageing:
Yet another benefit of fasting is that it potentially slows down the aging process, keeping you younger and fitter for longer. Fasting also facilitates the production of new tissues and cells within the body, degrading damaged and unnecessary cells in the process. This in turn increases the production of collagen, leading to healthier and more radiant skin.
8. Improved digestive system:
Fasting positively impacts the digestive system as long hours of abstaining from food and drinks reduces the overall load on the digestive organs. Whats more, it balances the heat generation and acidity levels in the stomach which promotes a healthy gut and smooth bowel movement.
9. Better blood sugar control:
Fasting can help to keep blood sugar levels in check by reducing insulin resistance and improving insulin sensitivity. When a person fasts, the lack of food intake forces the body to use stored glucose for energy, which helps reduce blood sugar levels. Besides, fasting is also beneficial in reducing inflammation in the body, which is known to contribute to insulin resistance. As mentioned earlier, it helps promote weight loss too, which is important for controlling blood sugar levels, as excess body fat can lead to insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels.
10. Helps improve memory and intellect:
A study published in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience reveals that fasting provides protection against Alzheimer’s disease and relieves its symptoms. Fasting is a therapy option that is rapidly gaining attention outside of the domain of pharmaceuticals and other medicinal treatments.
In addition to that, recent research has shown that fasting improves brain functions and structures in mice. This is because higher glucose levels result in poorer cognitive performance, especially among individuals with pre-diabetes levels.
11. Absorb more nutrients:
Not eating throughout the day during Ramzan helps better your overall metabolism, helping your body efficiently absorb more nutrients from food. All thanks the hormone called adiponectin, the production of which increases by a combination of fasting and eating late at night allowing your muscles to absorb more nutrients.
12. A month-long detox:
Fasting during Ramzan aids natural detoxification by allowing the liver to better process and eliminate toxins that have accumulated in the body. Additionally, fasting can increase the production of certain hormones to reduce inflammation, which further supports the body’s detoxification processes.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.