The holy month of Ramadan is all about fasting and endurance of everyday life while abstaining from all foods and drinks. There are so many reasons why Muslims fast during Ramadan. But other than the obvious religious and spiritual reasons, fasting was always attributed to many health benefits. In this new day and age, we have science-backed research to prove said health benefits. But, what are they? And how does fasting aid them?
Weight loss, delay aging, and muscle gain are all goals for all of us. Who doesn’t want the perfect build or waist measurements! Well, all of those come easily during Ramdan since fasting helps with all of them. When it comes to weight loss, research has found that whole-day fasting could reduce body weight by up to 9% and significantly decrease body fat over 12–24 weeks, it was also found that it is more effective than calorie restriction, especially at increasing fat loss while simultaneously preserving muscle tissue which is a hard balance to achieve, gym-goers know that for a fact. This is also connected to increasing HGH or human growth hormone which leads to growth, metabolism, weight loss, and muscle strength. A study in 11 healthy adults showed that fasting for 24 hours significantly increased levels of HGH. Which will automatically help with muscle growth and complete rejuvenation of the body.
Delaying aging however is still in the works to be proven. Studies on rats showed that fasting every other day increased their longevity in living by 83% which is very promising if proven generally.
Fasting does wonders to our internal systems and metabolism, so much so that it affects every bodily system altogether. When it comes to the Cardiovascular System it is a common fact that a healthy balanced diet helps reduce the risk of getting heart disease. A study showed that eight weeks of alternate-day fasting reduced levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides by 25% and 32%. Another study showed that 110 obese adults showed that fasting for three weeks under medical supervision significantly decreased blood pressure, as well as levels of blood triglycerides, total cholesterol, and “bad” LDL cholesterol. All of these decreased numbers are vital to keeping our hearts and vascular system healthy and fasting is key to achieving that.
Another major system that scientists are trying to connect improvement to fasting is the nervous system and mental health. And while research on this particular system is limited to animal testing, a study on mice found that practicing intermittent fasting for 11 months improved both brain function and brain structure up to the point where it can prevent neurodegenerative disorders and protect against conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.
All and all there is still so much research to be conducted in many fields and ways to get to the bottom of this. One thing is for sure, no matter what you fast for whether it’s health or religion. The benefits are undeniable. And depending on the type of fasting you choose which there are many you’ll definitely get the desired results if you can just keep on it and endure it for a set amount of time.