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MEDICAL BENEFITS OF FASTING (PART 2 OF 2)

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6 – DETOXIFICATION:
Detoxification is a normal body process of eliminating or neutralizing toxins through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph glands, and skin. This process is precipitated by fasting because when food is no longer entering the body, the body turns to fat reserves for energy. “Human fat is valued at 3,500 calories per pound,” a number that would lead one to believe that surviving on one pound of fat every day would provide a body with enough energy to function normally. These fat reserves were created when excess glucose and carbohydrates were not used for energy or growth, not excreted, and therefore converted into fat.

When the fat reserves are used for energy during a fast, it releases the chemicals from the fatty acids into the system which are then eliminated through the aforementioned organs. Chemicals not found in food but absorbed from one’s environment, such as DDT, are also stored in fat reserves that may be released during a fast.

Hence the purification of both the soul and the body is going on during the fast.

7 – HEALING PROCESS:
During a fast energy is diverted away from the digestive system due to its lack of use and towards the metabolism and immune system. The healing process during a fast is precipitated by the body’s search for energy sources. Abnormal growths within the body, tumors and the like, do not have the full support of the body’s supplies and therefore are more susceptible to autolysis. Furthermore, “production of protein for replacement of damaged cells (protein synthesis) occurs more efficiently because fewer ‘mistakes’ are made by the DNA/RNA genetic controls which govern this process.”

A higher efficiency in protein synthesis results in healthier cells, tissues and organs. This is one reason that animals stop eating when they are wounded, and why humans lose hunger during influenza. Hunger has been proven absent in illnesses such as gastritis, tonsillitis and colds. Therefore, when one is fasting, the person is consciously diverting energy from the digestive system to the immune system.

8 – BENEFITS OF SUHUR (SEHRI):

Fasting has been used by patients for weight management, to rest the digestive tract and for lowering lipids. There are many adverse effects of total fasting as well as of crash diets. Islamic fasting is different from such diet plans because in Ramadan fasting, there is no malnutrition or inadequate calorie intake. This ‘diet programme’ is very natural and efficient. We are advised by the prophet to takesuhur (keep fast) as late as possible and to iftaar (open fast) as soon as possible. This is how we can get the proper benefits of fasting. If we follow the proper fasting technique that the prophet Muhammad told us than only we can earn the medical benefits hidden in fasting. If we don’t take proper suhur than we are increasing our fast time and it is detriment to our health.

9 – EXTENDED LIFE EXPECTANCY:

The most scientifically proven advantage to fasting is the feeling of rejuvenation and extended life expectancy. A slower metabolic rate, more efficient protein production, an improved immune system, and the increased production of hormones contributes to this long-term benefit of fasting. In addition to the Human Growth Hormone that is released more frequently during a fast, an anti-aging hormone is also produced more efficiently. “The only reliable way to extend the lifespan of a mammal is under-nutrition without malnutrition.”

10 – MODERATION IS MUST:

Fasting should have its regulations too, and not simply the in orderly skipping meals, that is bound to harm health and stamina, rather than improving them. Here again Islam provides the answer, and in order to realize the benefits of fasting, it recommends the late midnight meals call (before the formal start of a fast) and the breaking of the fast at the time prescribed. Of course, to ensure good health one should abstain from gluttony after breaking fast.
In the holy Quran, there is a Verse gathering the whole matter of medicine. It is: “…Eat and drink but do not be excessive.”
(Surah Al A’araf 7:31)

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