Ramadan is a defining month in the calendar year for anyone in the UAE, with self-discipline and self-control at the vanguard of our thoughts.
Fasting, yet another test of the same, supports the foundation of “Sawm”, the fourth of the Five Pillars of Islam in the heart and mind of all who practice it. For just cause, the spiritual benefits of fasting during Ramadan are emphasized far more than the health benefits.
Take it from Socrates, Hippocrates, and Plato, though- they stand among many who recommend fasting for good health and recovery. No choices, No counting calories, No cooking; can it get any simpler?
Weeding out all the controversy, experts tell us that fasting is a convenient way to seek better health, if done the right way. Now, even amid medicine and therapeutics, the use of ‘Intermittent Fasting’ as part of countless treatments to better control blood glucose, blood lipids, weight management, and more.
The body is said to realize the intentions of our fast when the gut just about finishes absorbing nutrients from our last meal, which is about 7-8 hours after we eat it. When our body is deprived of food for longer than this, it begins to utilize fat – the body’s natural hoard of energy from the excess food we don’t burn off from our activities throughout the day.
Seems a fair bargain for most of us, aye! But if our energy stores fall short, the body is trained to scavenge protein form muscle to produce energy. This could also happen if we fast for too long and too often, enter starvation- deemed as unhealthy; infamous as the choice of the impulsive weight-watcher.
Give your gut a break
Abstaining from food con moderaciónprovides a state of concentrated physiological rest, as the grass of a football pitch would, after a day of wear and tear, sweat and dirt- much like the unhealthy lifestyle choices that is our daily diet. This gives the body enough time to tend to other processes than digestion, which accounts for about 15% of our daily energy usage.
The lining of the digestive tract is rested, made stronger and healthier. A better gut lining would mean better absorption of nutrients from food, and more focus of the energy thus saved towards detox of the body’s organs.
Everything in moderation
It’s not just that moderate fasting appears to be a vacation of sorts to a busy digestive system, but it also lowers levels of bad fat and cholesterol by measurable amounts. A study by the Interventional Cardiology Department of American Hospital, Dubai reveals from studying 37 patients across 3 occasions during Ramadan, that Triglycerides (affect heart health) dropped by 15%, LDL (“Bad” cholesterol) dropped by 10%, and HDL (“Good” Cholestrol) spiked by 13% just 3 weeks into the fast.
This greatly brings down risks associated with heart disease. Now, a month of fasting can surely be a great step towards better heart health, which we only account for in our later years of life.
Foundation for an un-Homer-like body [Any Simpsons fans?]
Fasting is becomingpart of fitness-enhancing strategies in health plans and its view shifting to that of a typical recommendation outside of religious avenues- a powerful tool when combined with exercise or meditation.
Considering the toll that a month of fasting can take on our reserves of energy, patience and motivation, a healthier and realistic approach towards a healthful state and weight can be sought after the end of Ramadan.
Fasting can only give you a temporary clean slate, on which you can choose to build strong and conditioned body we all can’t deny we want for ourselves.
As demotivating as a good workout or an aerobics class can sound in the boiler that seems to be UAE’s every summer, make this year’s fast your foundation to build a sound and healthy body. Waking up every morning to good health, food and lifestyle choices has incentives you might find hard to turn away from.
Have you heard of these health benefits of fasting? Do you agree? Tell us in the comments below.