Many of us observe fasting as a religious obligation but only few know the health benefits it has. Fasting promotes elimination of toxins from the body, reduces blood sugar and fat stores. It promotes healthy eating habits and boost immunity. Here are top 10 health benefits we can derive from fasting.
Fasting Promotes detoxification
Processed foods such as breads, cakes and pizza from confectioneries, contain lots of additives. These additives may become toxins in the body. Some of them promote production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Most of these toxins are stored in fats. Fat is burnt during fasting, especially when it is prolonged. And the toxins are released. The liver, kidneys and other organs in the body are involved in detoxification.
Fasting Rests Digestive System
During fasting, the digestive organs rest. The normal physiologic functions continue especially production of digestive secretions, but at reduced rates. This exercise helps to maintain balance of fluids in the body. Breakdown of food takes place at steady rates. Release of energy also follows a gradual pattern. Fasting however does not stop production of acids in the stomach. This is why patients with peptic ulcer are advised to approach fasting with caution.
Fasting Resolves Inflammatory Response
Studies show that fasting promotes resolution of inflammatory diseases and allergies. Examples of such inflammatory diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, and skin diseases such as psoriasis. Some experts assert that fasting may promote healing of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis.
Fasting Reduces Blood Sugar
Fasting increases breakdown of glucose so that the body can get energy. It reduces production of insulin. This rests the pancreas. Glucagon is produced to facilitate the breakdown of glucose. The outcome of fasting is a reduction in blood sugar, which is enormously helpful especially for the diabetes patients.
Fasting Increases Fat breakdown
The first response of the body to fasting is break down of glucose. When the store of glucose is exhausted, ketosis begins. This is break down of fats to release energy. The fats stored in kidney and muscles are broken down to release energy.
Fasting Corrects high blood Pressure
Fasting is one of the non-drug methods of reducing blood pressure. It especially helps cardiac patients since helps to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is clogging of arteries by fat particles. During fasting glucose and later, fat stores are used to produce energy. Metabolic rate is reduced during fasting. The fight-or-flight hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline are also reduced. This keeps the metabolic steady and within limits. The benefit is a reduction in blood pressure.
Ditch bad habits
Ramadan is the perfect time to ditch bad habits for good since we have to observe fast the whole day. Vices such as smoking and sugary foods should not be indulged during Ramadan, and when we abstain abstain from them our body start to gradually acclimatise to their absence, until addiction is finally kicked out for good. It’s also much easier to quit habits when it is done in a group, which should be easy to find during Ramadan. Fasting’s ability to help us cut out bad habits is so significant that the UK’s National Health Service recommends it as the ideal time to ditch smoking.
Fasting Promotes Healthy diet
One of the main problems with extreme fad diets is that any weight lost is often quickly put back on, sometimes even with a little added extra. This isn’t the case with Ramadan. The reduction in food consumed throughout fasting causes stomach to gradually shrink, meaning one need to eat less food to feel full.It has also been observed that fasting reduces craving for processed foods. It promotes desire for natural foods, especially water and fruits. This is one way fasting promote healthy lifestyle.
A team of cardiologists in the UAE found that people observing Ramadan enjoy a positive effect on their lipid profile, which means there is a reduction of cholesterol in the blood. Low cholesterol increases cardiovascular health, greatly reducing the risk of suffering from heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke. What’s more, if a healthy diet after Ramadan is followed, this newly lowered cholesterol level should be easy to maintain.
Theres no doubt of the positive effects of fasting mental wellbeing and spiritual focus, but the brain-boosting powers of Ramadan are even more significant. 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.