This is the month of fasting, holy Ramadan is here. We are made to believe that the average human should consume three meals a day plus snacks and drinks, thanks to our society. But the truth is far from what we’ve been told. The fact is – three meals a day is not necessary to maintain a healthy body and mind. An eventual fasting every now and then can improve health and body functions. So, today I’m going to tell you the fasting benefits for health and how it boosts your brain power and function.
Food companies and pharmaceutical industries encourage excessive food consumption in order to make an ever-growing profit. The bottom line is that healthy people who exercise and engage in fasting are not profitable enough for their billion dollar companies. The sad reality is that many people today lack self-control and do not eat out of hunger but purely for the comfort and enjoyment of food and this has sparked a rise in obesity and many other diseases.
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) peace be upon him emphasized the habit of eating less as a method of preventing sickness and disease. He said, ‘nothing is worse than a person who fills his stomach full. It should be enough for the offsprings of Adam to have few bites to satisfy their hunger. If they wish to eat more it should be one-third for his food, one-third of his liquids and one-third for his breath but not more than that.’
How Fasting Boosts Your Overall Brain Power and Function
Prof. Mark Mattson from Johns Hopkins University, Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience with the National Institute on Aging has published a number of papers that explain to us how fasting twice a week can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer and Parkinson disease which is on the rise in recent years. We’ve known for quite some time that changes to one’s diet influences brain functionality. Neuro-scientists have found that overfed brains are more likely to become impaired.
Mattson delineates that fasting causes a formation of neurochemical alterations in the brain. Refraining from food boosts cognitive function decreases inflammation and helps one cope with stress. Fasting is similar to issuing a challenge to one’s brain. The brain reacts to it by altering stress pathways and consequently reducing the risk for various diseases. A person who fasts unshackles his brain to boost its protein production and catalyze the growth of neurons and connection between neurons. In response to fasting, memory function and learning aptitude increase as it stimulates the creation of ketones and mitochondria in nerve cells. Fasting even reinforces the fortitude of synapses. In some instances, fasting benefits by helping to create new nerve cells from the Hippocampus stem cells.
Fasting For DNA Repair
Professor Mattson has also found that those who practice fasting are more likely to enjoy enhanced nerve cells that repair DNA. Fasting can protect the immune system as refraining from food consumption helps stem cells self-renew from a passive state. Fasting essentially destroys old, compromised immune cells and catalyzes stem cell to form brand new perfectly healthy cells.
In 2007, a scientific review of studies focused on fasting was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The review determined that fasting is an efficacious means of reducing life-threatening diseases like Cancer as well as cardiovascular diseases. The article also provided evidence that fasting has the potential to treat diabetes. It is obvious that fasting uplifts the brain’s health and functionality as well as the integrity of the cells throughout the body.
The Problem about Fasting
Most probably there are zero to minimal studies performed by the pharmaceutical industries or any food companies regarding the fasting benefits. Their motive is clear – to simply encourage human beings to overeat and sell them pharmaceuticals to relieve the negative consequences of such an insatiable diet. However, you do not have to eat three square meals each and every day. You have the power to read the fasting benefits and incorporate this knowledge into your everyday life.
As time goes on, science will continue to uncover information that supports the Islamic way of life. Prof. Mark Mattson put forward some powerful life-changing benefits that come from fasting twice a week but fasting twice a week is not a new thing for Muslims as they do it during the Ramadan. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to fast on Monday and Thursday every week outside the month of Ramadan. This Sunnah is still practiced by Muslim all over the world who continue to benefit in ways they don’t even know!