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Medical Corner : The medical benefits of fasting.

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Whether you are fasting in the beautiful and holy month of Ramadan or as Sunnah, on Mondays and Thursdays, fasting is beneficial in many ways. Apart from being beneficial for our spiritualities and relationship with Allah (s.w.t), it can also be beneficial for your health and medical needs.

Intermittent fasting, which is what we Muslims do, is periodically eating and fasting. This means having a designated assigned time for fasting and another time for eating. This is medically beneficial in a number of ways :

  1. Improves your hormone and cellular levels

Our hormones are regulated every second in our bodies. Certain organs, ex : liver, pancreas, kidney, adrenal gland, pituitary gland, work hour by hour to regulate the changes in our bodies. These changes are more hormones, such as glucose (sugar) or growth hormone, estrogen, testosterone and cortisol and many more hormones. Our body is very intelligent (Subhanallah) and can detect these changes and change accordingly to them.

During fasting, our body detects a change in our energy consumption. When we fast, we are not introducing new energy to the body but we are rather recycling or using our stored energy. Therefore, when this occurs, our body works accordingly to lower levels of insulin, improve insulin resistance, increase levels of growth hormone and improve cellular repair. 

This is all beneficial to reduce your risks of conditions, or improving your health if you are already diagnosed, such as diabetes mellitus.

  1. Helps with weight loss and reducing belly fat

Although weight loss and reducing belly fat is not the main intention of Ramadan, but it is a good outcome, for those who voluntary want to. Weight gain and belly fat (known as subcutaneous fat) is produced by excessive caloric intake.

This refers to energy and macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) that your body does not require. With fasting, when you are without and restraining yourself from excessive eating in the day, then you are lowering your body’s functionality of storing fat and sugars. This is all in consideration that you are not overeating during iftar. It is important not to over-indulge during iftar as it may just cause no change in your weight.

  1. Reduces Oxidative and Inflammatory Stress

Inflammation and oxidative stress are primarily due to the reaction of free radicals in conjecture with important molecules such as DNA and proteins. With the interaction between the two, you have an increased risk of causing damage to your body.

Inflammation and oxidative stress can affect any part of your body but they can also, and most evidently, affect your joints and bones. Thus causing certain conditions such as osteoarthritis, gouty arthritis and more. With fasting, these is a lower release of free radicals to interact with our important molecules. Therefore, less risk of inflammation, which builds upon your overall strength and health. 

  1. Good for the heart and brain

Fasting improves not only hormones, but also your other lab values such as cholesterol, blood pressure and all that. With an improvement in blood pressure and lowering LDL (the bad) cholesterol is all parallel to proper cardiovascular (or heart) health. Your heart will be pumping in more efficiently and with less stress. It helps with providing your heart longevity.

Some foods have metabolic processes that can deteriorate or harm your brain cells. Foods that are high in sugar or toxin can cause a negative effect on your brain. Therefore, with fasting, you are giving your brain some rest from all the bad foods and your brain can recover.

May this month of Ramadan give you blessings and peace. May you stay healthy and happy. Amin.

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Sources : https://authoritynutr

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Article is written by: 

Fatin Najwa binti Daud, is a medical student studying at IMU Malaysia. She is a freelance writer of this blog at Zaahara. Interests include music, art, sports and travel.

-Photos are taken from google images

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