As Ramadan nears end, here’s how you have benefited from fasting

Recent research has also found that after a few days of fasting, there are higher levels of endorphins in the blood

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Fasting has numerous benefits, from physical to emotional, mental and spiritual. Even the ancient Greeks recognized its benefits.

“Instead of using medicine, better fast today,” said Plutarch, a Greek Moralist. Fasting has been around for centuries and was performed by the people of the past; its advantages are endless.

Physical benefits:

Staying away from food for long hours cleanses the body and rests the digestive system. Dr Razeen Mahroof, an anesthetist from Oxford, describes fasting as “a detoxification process also occurs, because any toxins stored in the body’s fat are dissolved and removed from the body.” The body is purified from excess food and fat.

Fasting is a natural remedy, which helps to free up energy which can then be used more productively. It is estimated that after a heavy meal the body uses 65% of its available energy to digest that meal. So if you fast, you have energy that is freed up because there is no meal to digest. So the energy can then be used by the body to heal itself, to mend broken tissues and cells.

It also opens the way for healthier eating habits, if the suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and iftaar (breaking fast meal at dusk) are in line with Muslim teachings that encourage light meals.

Mental and emotional benefits:

Fasting clears a person’s mind. The individual is encouraged to become less occupied with the vanities of this world. During Ramadan and any other voluntary fast, Muslims are also encouraged to spend time reading the Quran.

In addition, fasting has been proven to improve brain health. It helps with the homeostatic process of neuronal autophagy, and increases levels of BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor), positively affecting the cognitive part of our brains. Furthermore, the risk of many diseases including Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, brain trauma, depression and ischemic strokes have all been shown to decrease with fasting.

Recent research has also found that after a few days of fasting, there are higher levels of endorphins in the blood making the individual more alert and attentive, giving a sense of mental wellbeing.

Infographic: Ramadan survival tips
Infographic: Ramadan survival tips

Read the full article on the Saudi Gazette.

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