As the Holy Month of Ramadan is the time to reflect and practice self-improvement, one of the main duties is to fast for one whole month before celebrating Eid. Aside from its spiritual purposes, fasting is also known to have positive impacts for your overall health. On this week's journal, we will be explaining a few things you might want to know about the health benefits fasting may bring forth. Read on!
Curbs appetite and boosts metabolism
Humans are creatures of habit, and the same goes for our eating habits. If you are usually consuming a lot of food during a regular day, you might see fasting as a challenging thing and you might experience cravings, only to realize later during iftar that you can't consume that much. This is because the less food you put in your stomach for a period of time, your stomach will likely shrink and get accustomed to your new eating habits. Therefore, fasting is the perfect moment to help curb your appetite, and you might also lose some weight during the process. Eating less may also help increase production of liver enzyme, which in turn helps break down cholesterol and fats and convert them into bile acid, stimulating your metabolism. However, it is also important to pay attention to the things you consume during iftar and suhoor. Recommended foods are fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, proteins, as well as reducing consumption of greasy foods and sweet treats.
Aids weight loss
Like previously mentioned, consuming less food will result in lesser caloric intake and may help you lose some weight if you're consistent enough. Some studies have shown that time-restricted fasting, such as the one being done during Ramadan, may help reduce inflammation, improve blood lipids and aid in weight loss. Fasting may force the body to use fat as a source of energy, as well as maintaining cholesterol levels.
Improves insulin sensitivity
Your eating habits will determine how balanced your blood sugar levels are, especially if you have a diet high in sugar or living a sedentary lifestyle. High blood sugar levels may further lead to insulin resistance, as your body refuses to receive insulin and may cause fatigue after meals. Insulin resistance may not only increase risk of type 2 diabetes, but also disrupts metabolism, triggers inflammation, as well as lowering brain power. Fasting during Ramadan, however, may help curb this habit and lead you to a better blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. Some studies have shown that eating for a certain window of time every day may help improve insulin resistance, lowers inflammation and boosts metabolism. It is also important to note for some people with low blood sugar, fasting needs to be closely monitored and even avoided before blood sugar level is successfully stabilized. Otherwise, it might be detrimental for health.
Fasting also helps in strengthening your body's defense mechanism, contrary to popular belief. The body recycles old white blood cells during fasting, and regenerates those cells once you consume food again. Therefore, it is also important to supply the body with needed nutrients from healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, proteins, fat and carbohydrates. Consuming greasy, sugary, or processed foods should be kept to a minimum as it may raise your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as potentially triggering inflammation in the gut which can affect your immunity.
Provides better mental clarity
Lastly, fasting can be a great way to boost your brain health. Lack of food intake during a fast is actually beneficial for renewal of brain cells, as well as removal of dead cells inside the brain. This can give you a better clarity to think, boost mood, improving memory and learning capacity. In the long run, studies have also shown that fasting may also help in slowing down the decline rate of your brain with age, as well as preventing conditions related to the brain like Alzheimer's.