Benefits of Fasting During Ramadan
Fasting during festivals is not new to any religion. This includes the month long fast before Eid Ul Fitr which has many proven health benefits. The science behind fasting has been unraveled and it is no more seen as a religious obligation. The advantages of fasting are numerous and there is sufficient scientific evidence for the same. Let us look at how fasting during Ramadan helps the body as much as it helps the mind.
The Many Benefits Of Fasting Before Eid
1. Healthy Digestive System
Fasting gives the digestive system a much needed rest from the overeating and consumption of fatty and junk food that is common in the present day humans. The process of fasting leads to reduced production of digestive enzymes by the body and gives it a well deserved rest.
2. Low Blood Presure
Some studies have shown that fasting during occasions like Ramadan can help in the lowering of blood pressure levels and also better heart health. This can be because of higher consumption of fruits, both fresh and dry which are rich sources of potassium and fiber. Also, milk products which are high in calcium are eaten and serve the same health benefit. Nutritionists have always stressed on a good intake of fruits and low fat dairy for the hypertensive.
3. Slower Aging
Fasting also means a reduction in the total calories that are consumed. Many number of studies have shown that the lesser calories humans consume, the longer lifespans they have. Also, aging is slower and there are fewer inflammatory changes ( such as heart diseases) that are seen. This is one of the most important scientifically proven benefit of fasting during Eid UL Fitr.
4. Healthier Brain Cells
The brain also seems to benefit from the abstinence of food and this is mainly due to the chemical changes that take place in the neurons or the nerve cells. According to a study, when there is a reduction in the calorie intake, there is a huge increase in the chemical messengers ( also known as neurotransmitters ) in the brain. This automatically helps to form more nerve cells which can prevent degenerative changes seen in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Fasting can also protect one from dangerous strokes which can cut supply of blood, nutrients and oxygen to the brain. Dementia, a condition that is delipidating and increasing health care costs can also be prevented by fasting regularly, say scientists
5. Low Blood Lipids
Fasting also means a healthy heart as the levels of bad fats in the body such as low density lipoprotein (LDL), triglycerides and cholesterol are seen to drop. There is also an increase in the levels of good cholesterol ( HDL) and a lower LDL to HDL cholesterol, which is better for health.
6. Better Blood Sugar Control
There is a significant decrease in the levels of blood glucose in those who fast during the holy month of Ramadan. This is because of better insulin sensitivity of the body cells which enables efficient utilization of blood glucose. This is good for diabetics and overweight individuals who are suffering from glucose intolerance. A medically conducted study in 2009, too showed the same results. There was better blood sugar control in those who were put on a low calorie diet when compared to those who ate about 2000 calories, the average daily intake of an adult human.
7. Healthy Lungs
There is promising evidence that shows how fasting can ease the breathing trouble that asthmatics have to endure on a daily basis. A study showed that after 8 weeks of fasting, there was a huge reduction in the inflammation that occurs in the respiratory tract of the sufferers which made breathing more relaxed.
8. Anti Cancer
Fasting is also a natural anti cancer agent, one that many of us can benefit from. During a fast, there is a low formation rate of dangerous molecules called free radicals which are naturally produced by our body on a daily basis. Lesser number of free radicals means a lower risk of chronic diseases like cancer.
The above benefits can be seen only if an excess intake of rich and fatty food is avoided after breaking the fast. Baking, steaming and grilling food more often will not only make them healthy, but also reinforce the concept of simple and wholesome eating in the holy month of Ramadan.