The month of Ramadan is the period when Muslims all over the world engage in fasting during the daylight hours. This period forms a significant part of the religious devotion of many Muslims.
Fasting in the Islamic religion involves eating one meal before dawn (the ‘suhoor’) and a second meal only after sunset (the ‘iftar’) and this goes on for 30 days. This fasting period is normally followed by the festival of the breaking of the fast, known as‘Eid-ul-Fitr’.
Although Ramadan is a purely religious affair for many people, the evidence does suggest that there are likely to be some health benefits to fasting as well.
What are the health benefits of fasting?
Fasting can help you lose weight. For people who are overweight or obese, the fasting period can be a good opportunity to shed some weight because, during the period of fasting, the body often breaks down the excess fat stored up in different parts of the body.
Fasting may help to reduce your blood cholesterol. High cholesterol in the blood can result in complications such as heart attack and stroke. However, it has been found that in some cases, fasting helps the body to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood.
Fasting helps to regulate the digestive system. The gap between the morning and evening meals gives the digestive system enough time to properly process the food you eat and regulate the activity of the digestive system.
Fasting can improve your mental wellbeing. It has been shown in some cases that fasting improves the ability to focus the mind and also helps the brain to release certain chemicals that make you feel good about yourself, improving your mental function.
So, it is clear that fasting not only profers spiritual benefits, it can also contribute to your general physical wellbeing. Therefore, it is important to maintain some, if not all of the healthy practices learned during this period.