Aside from the religious obligations upon Muslims during the Holy month of Ramadan, fasting has countless health benefits, too. From improved weight management and healthier blood cell regeneration through to better heart function and vascular wellbeing, fasting has become quite the go-to method of keeping young, fit and healthy.
However, if you are unaware of the numerous benefits that fasting can bring, take a look at some of them below:
Abstaining from all matter of solids and surviving on liquids for a few days is a great way to cleanse the human body and detoxify; improving the function of organs whilst promoting a cleansed digestive system - improving blood circulation and getting rid of any harmful toxins in the body.
Do you ever get that feeling of not being able to tell when you’re full? Or eating out of pure boredom? Fasting can help solve those problems. By structuring your day around everything apart from eating, your body eventually gets accustomed to not feeling hungry all the time. During the Holy month of Ramadan, many Muslims who are partaking in the obligatory fasts will experience many cravings during the fasting day, only to find that they are not able to consume much upon opening their fast. This is due to the fact that the less you put into your stomach over a length of time, the more the stomach shrinks - leading you to feel full after just a small amount of food.
As our bodies get accustomed to how often we eat, a few days of intermittent fasting can drastically decrease our appetite in the long run. Upon breaking the fast, the human body cannot consume a large amount comfortably as the stomach shrinks – leading you to feel satisfied after a smaller meal than usual. This process also increases the production of the thyroid hormone in the body, boosting your metabolism in the process.
One of the more obvious results of fasting is alleviating obesity; fasting prompts the liver’s enzymes to break down cholesterol and fats to convert them into bile acid, which, in turn, converts to heat – ultimately stimulating faster metabolism. Naturally, fasting also decreases the appetite which reduces the hunger hormone levels in the body. You may just find your portion sizes being significantly smaller following a period of fasting.
The term fasting means to refrain from food or drink or even both at the same time. When the human body is undergoing the starvation process, the body turns to fat in order to utilise and burn any stored energy first.
If done correctly, fasting can do wonders for weight loss - particularly for loss of fatty tissues in the body, leading to better physical structure overall. Incorporating intermittent fasting into a regular resistance training regime will promote greater fat loss with quicker results.
Partaking in fasting promotes healing in the human body as it applies core focus to its immune system and metabolism as opposed to focusing on digestion, further enhancing muscle growth in the process.
The immune system is largely comprised of white blood cells and fasting encourages your body to recycle any old white blood cells which results in a healthier, more robust immune system. Your body regenerates stem cells that consist of red and white blood cells along with your platelets once your body consumes food again.
A decrease in the body’s salt intake and loss of salt through urine lowers the body’s blood pressure.
HGH, also known as Human Growth Hormone, is organically produced by the human body and is known to build muscle mass which effectively burns fat. Although it remains active in your bloodstream for merely a few minutes, it can go a long way towards increasing lean muscle strength which could be incredibly beneficial for training.
Many athletic professionals tend to utilise the fasting method in the lead up to big games as it is key for burning fat whilst targeting and optimising muscle growth.
Improved Cardiovascular Function
Fasting can lead to a healthier heart, lowering cholesterol and promoting improved muscle performance along with enhanced blood vessel growth.
Fasting also goes a significantly long way towards balancing the mind and reducing mental stress. Fasting is also known to strengthen the mind, sharpen focus and provide mental clarity – this is primarily due to a reduction in calorie, sugar and salt intake.
During the fasting process, glucose levels are stabilised which can lead to the prevention of type 2 diabetes as a result.
Radiant Complexion /Anti-ageing
It is said that fasting could potentially slow down the aging process, keeping you younger and fitter for longer and it could also potentially increase lifespan. Fasting leads to the production of restored tissues and cells within the human body, degrading unnecessary cells in the process. This enables you to produce collagen, leading to healthier and more radiant skin.
Healthier Brain and Cognitive Function
During the fasting process, blood in the human body is filled with more endorphins, which in turn, gives you a feeling of well-being and great mental health. The overall effects of fasting has a similar impact on the brain as physical exercise would.
As fasting forms one of the five key pillars of Islam, fasting during the month of Ramadan is obligatory upon all able Muslims.
However, should you wish to incorporate any other types of fasting at any other time of the year, it is important to remember to plan your fasting structure well. Be realistic about what you wish to achieve and always ensure that you are in the right mental and physical mind set to be able to reap the full benefits of fasting. Always ensure you get adequate sleep and ensure your stress levels are low.
Remember, it is forbidden to fast on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr which is one of the two vital celebrations in Islam and follows the Holy month of Ramadan.
For more information on fasting times during this auspicious month, see here for our Ramadan calendar.