beads and bowl with dates
29 Mar 2022

Fasting during the month of Ramadan

Fasting during the month of Ramadan can be good for your health if it's done correctly. Fasting not only burns fat reserves but also rids your bodyof potentially hazardous poisons stored in fat deposits. Your body naturallydetoxifies after a month of overhauling your digestive system, allowing you tocontinue living a healthier lifestyle after Ramadan. If you're overweight, it can be an opportunity to loseweight provided you eat healthily when you break the fast.


What happens to your body when you fast?

The changes that happen in the body during a fast dependon the length of the continuous fast. The body enters into a fasting stateeight hours or so after the last meal when the gut finishes absorbing nutrientsfrom the food. In a normal state, body glucose, which is stored in the liverand muscles, is the body's main source of energy. During a fast, this glucose store is used up first to provide energy. Later in the fast, once the glucoseruns out, fat becomes the next source of energy for the body. With a prolongedfast of many days or weeks, the body starts using protein and breaking downprotein for energy. This is the technical description of what's commonly knownas "starvation. You are unlikely to reach the starvation stage duringRamadan because the fast is broken daily," says Dr Razeen Mahroof, a consultant from Oxford.


The gentle transition from glucose to fat

As the Ramadan fast only lasts from dawn till dusk, thebody's energy can be replaced in the pre-dawn and dusk meals. This provides agentle transition from using glucose as the main source of energy to using fatand prevents the breakdown of muscle for protein. The use of fat for energyhelps weight loss. It preserves the muscles and eventually reduces yourcholesterol level. In addition, weight loss results in better control ofdiabetes and reduces blood pressure. After a few days of the fast, higherlevels of endorphins appear in the blood, making you more alert and giving anoverall feeling of general mental wellbeing. A balanced food and fluid intakeis important between fasts. The kidneys are very efficient at maintaining thebody's water and salts, but these can be lost through sweating. To preventmuscle breakdown, meals must contain enough energy food, such as carbohydratesand some fat.


Increasingmental capacity

Fastingcan also help us be more productive in the brain. Fasting causes our brains tobecome stressed, prompting them to create a protein called brain-derivedneurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which helps to stimulate brain stem cellregeneration, according to a study conducted by US researchers. Fasting mayhelp prevent the beginning of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, according toa study undertaken by the National Institute of Ageing in the United States.

AlthoughRamadan is known for its fasting, it is not limited to the holy month. Manyfaithful Muslims follow the Prophet's advice and fast on Mondays and Thursdays,as well as on Arafat Day before Eid Al Adha.