Health Benefits of Ramadan

on Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Boundless mercy flows towards those who submit themselves to the will of Allah SWT. We believe this to be a reason to abide by the words of God. Most of us follow God’s orders simply for the fact that the orders are from Allah, our creator and master. Indeed that in itself is a complete justification for following a certain set of rules if you are a believer, but since Islam is the world’s most practical religion, it always has reasons for every order made to Muslims. It is another story whether we are intelligent enough or educated enough or far sighted enough to understand the reasons. It will be completely foolish of us to question a teaching of Islam in situations where we do not see why we have been ordered to do something because we are of limited mind, we don’t know what God does and God knows the best.

That is not the case for the blessed month of Ramadan and the act of fasting in general; the miracles of fasting have been proven beyond doubt from Islamic as well as medical sources. If we start looking at the benefits, we get from a simple act of fasting, we would be obliged beyond limits towards Allah SWT for giving us such a blessing, the month of Ramadan. Since the holy month is just around the corner, I decided to pile up some of the crucial gains of holding a fast –in terms of health.

We do get a buzz in the brain and a strain all over our bodies sometimes due to hunger but do we actually know how good it is for our body? According to some researchers, fasting might help reduce the risk of cancer! A research conducted by the Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, Valter Longo suggests that fasting slows down the growth of five different types of cancers. The research is still in progress and so far the institute says that the results were certainly positive.

In another research conducted by Benjamin Horne at Intermountain Heart Institute, Utah states that occasional fasting increases the human growth hormones. Stored fat is broken down and converted into energy resulting in people losing weight which in turn means that the person stands at a lesser risk of diabetes and heart diseases –this was published in the American Journal of Cardiology. Lipid levels are improved which control the cholesterol levels, as well. Obese people can benefit from fasting such that, as mentioned above, they reduce the previously higher risk of diabetes that they face along with losing weight. In some cases, it was also proven that overweight people with asthma can improve their asthma through fasting (Mattson, 2007).

That doesn’t mean it’s only the overweight people who benefit from holding fasts. It has unlimited benefits for everyone whether they are fat, skinny or normal; I will jot down some. Most of the toxins produced in our bodies due to intake of processed food are stored in our fats, when we fast the fats get burned to restore our energy levels, and our liver and kidneys start working on the toxins, thus a natural process of detoxification occurs in our body.

It was scientifically proven that our digestive system always benefits from a little rest. When we fast, digestive secretions are reduced, the fluid levels of our bodies become stable and food is broken down at a steadier pace meaning the organs are comparatively at rest. Fasting can be used as a tool against high blood pressure as well, again due to glucose and fat reserves being burnt. So clogging of arteries is reduced through this process which of course means a lesser risk of high blood pressure. Along with the fact that when a person fasts, the adrenaline levels are also reduced which results in a more stable metabolism rate –thus blood pressure is controlled. A hormone called adiponectin which is produced during the time a person fasts helps you absorb a greater level of nutrients whenever you intake food after a fast which means you intake the same amount of food but your body extracts more from it than usual.

According to a study, the period of fasting leads to an increase in brain driven neurotrophic factor, which makes the body produce a greater number of brain cells in simpler works, a person holding regular fasts has a mind that can be more active than the rest in usual days. Coming towards easier topics; the National Health Service of the UK suggests that Ramadan is the best time to get rid of addictions and other bad habits. It makes sense too, if a Muslim is following Islamic teachings he will abstain from all the vices like smoking etc and once he keeps that up for a month, it will be easier for him/her to say goodbye to that bad habit for good.

The list is never ending –and even then it is based on the limited knowledge that humans have as compared to the knowledge of the all knowing Allah SWT. Imagine what treasures could be in store for us that we don’t even know of yet. I pray that Allah SWT gives all of us the privilege of observing our fasts throughout the month of Ramadan with complete obedience.

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