Ramadan is always looked at from a spiritual and behavioural aspect rather than the health aspect and its physical benefits. It is my aim here to discuss the health benefits for those who are not interested in the spiritual aspect thus refrain from fasting. We should not look at this holy month as a chore or a tough month but rather it’s a month of healing, peace, tranquillity and resting our body systems.
Some of the spiritual and behavioural benefits are known to many like being closer to God, feeling with the poor and needy, being grateful, learning to be patient, generous and giving. Also it’s about controlling your anger, being kind, forgiving and controlling your desires. So it is fasting on many levels with the ultimate goal of taking on better behavioural and lifestyle habits to improve your life in the long run.
The health benefits of fasting are numerous provided that we eat healthy balanced meals between sunset and sunrise avoiding over indulgence and keeping ourselves hydrated. Some of the notable health benefits include:
- Detoxification where toxins stored in the body are dissolved
- Weight loss by the use of fat for energy after glucose stores are used up preventing break down of muscle
- Control of diabetes, lower cholesterol and reducing blood pressure due to fasting
- Resting our digestive system giving it a chance to heal
- Improved brain function thus reducing stress by producing brain cells giving a sense of peace and tranquillity
- Getting rid of bad habits and addictions like smoking and excessive caffeine intake thus improving lifestyle
- Experience and improvement in skin conditions and general health due to internal healing
- Scientists discover that fasting triggers stem cell regeneration and fights cancer
The first couple of days are challenging since your body is adapting to the fast but after a few days fasting becomes the norm. Apparently higher levels of endorphins appear in the blood, making you more alert and giving an overall feeling of general mental well-being.
Fasting teaches us to control our food intake and balance our meals because if we don’t we feel so bad, bloated and regret any over indulgence. It’s a learning process we go through every year to ultimately maintain this balance even after Ramadan ends. It’s one month only out off the 12 months of year where we go through this lesson and remind ourselves of the benefits of balancing our meals and eating mind fully.
Fasting is for everyone to try not just Muslims due to its proven medical benefits besides it’s physiological, behavioural, mental and spiritual benefits.
It’s worth it in every way.
Ramadan Kareem (meaning Ramadan is generous, the month of giving and generosity)