With the month of Ramadan coming up in few days, all the muslims in the world will start to fast for the full month. But why fasting have an important place in most religion? And what does fasting do to your body and mind?
Numerous studies have discovered that fasting can help you live longer, control your weight, improve your mood and concentration, increase your energy level, and improve the quality of your sleep.
Before we look at the potential benefits of fasting, it’s important to know what it actually does to the body and mind.
Marcela Fiuza (dietician) explains: “During fasting the body makes a number of metabolic adaptations to keep functioning optimally in the absence of external fuel (food). In the first few hours of fasting, the body resorts to its glycogen stores for energy. Once these are depleted, there is a metabolic switch, in which the body starts breaking down fatty acids into ketones that are then used as a source of energy.
One of the possible benefits of fasting is that it can trigger a process called autophagy — your body’s cellular recycling system. Acting as a sort of quality control for your cells, autophagy allows the body to break down and reuse old cell parts so they can work more efficiently.”
Put simply, it’s the body’s way of housekeeping and getting rid of mutated cells that could develop into cancer or neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, according to a study in the EMBO journal.
When you fast, your body has less toxic materials flowing through the blood and lymphatic system, making it easier for you to think. While fasting, the energy you’d normally use to digest food is available to be used by the brain.
You likely won’t notice this mental change until the first few days of a fast because your body takes time to adjust. You might have headaches or pain points at the beginning of the process. But after your body clears itself of toxins, your brain has access to a cleaner bloodstream, resulting in clearer thoughts, better memory, and increased sharpness of your other senses.
But why do so many religion fast?
Throughout history, in almost all religions of the world, fasting has long been promoted as a spiritual means for intensifying prayers and faith. People have fasted as it is an obligation to God, leading to good health and spirituality. Fasting brings great spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health.
Fasting is now generally accepted as an effective and safe method of detoxifying the body, a technique that men have used for centuries to heal the sick. It purifies the body of the accumulated toxic poison and waste. Fasting regularly, helps the body heal itself as well as awakening the mind and soul. Fasting is now medically proven to be a healthy act and offers numerous benefits to us, some which we know about and some we don’t.