Physiology of Ramadan fasting
Ramadan is the ninth lunar month of the Islamic calendar. In this month every Muslims in the world are obligated to fast, in which they abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, taking oral medication and IV fluid and nutrients from a period of Suhoor to iftaar. The month (Ramadan) is intended to remind Muslims of the suffering of those less fortunate and bring believers closer to Allah.
What is Fasting
Fasting is simply the complete abstinence from food and drink between dawn and dusk.
Now that we all know we are entering the Holy month of Ramadan when Muslims all over the world will be fasting, there won’t be eating of food, no drinking, no smoking and drinking of alcoholic drinks, and also every part of our body will be on fasting. It is important to discuss some issues that is pertaining to our health and how to cope in the month of Ramadan.
Fasting is good for the human body. Fasting alone is more power in preventing and reversing some diseases than some drugs. Fasting is then prescribed for us for some benefits apart from spiritual benefits.
The health benefits of Ramadan fasting
You may be asking if Ramadan fasting is healthy, well below are the benefits of fasting during Ramadan period.
- Appetite control
- Blood sugar control
- Improved cardiovascular functions
- Reduces blood pressure, inflammation, risk of cancer
- It lowers LDL cholesterol
- It gives vital organs opportunity for complete rest
- Promotes elimination of metabolic waste
- Increased digestion
- Restore cell/tissue condition
Who are exempted from Ramadan fasting
- People who are ill
- Pregnant or menstruating women
- Breastfeeding mothers
However, they are required to make up the number of days missed or give a fixed sum of charity.
Health is the key to have and what we consume directly affects our health. Islam encourages Muslims to ensure that they are mindful of their health.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had said we should take advantage of the good health before illness afflict us. He also encouraged us to try our best to take up a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular mental and physical exercise and a balance between material and spiritual needs.
The month of Ramadan is a great opportunity to focus on bringing back a balance and healthy lifestyle in your life. Through fasting, you begin to learn how to manage your eating habits ,how to improve self-control and discipline. This month requires you to give the stomach a break, and by doing so you are able to break down and expel the accumulated toxins from your body.
The physiology or functions of fasting
The changes that occur in the body is dependent on the length of the continuous fast.
In the normal state, body glucose stored in the liver and muscle is the human main source of energy. But during a fast, this store of glucose is used up first to provide energy. Later in the fast when the glucose is exhausted, fat become the next source of energy for body use. Although small quantities of glucose are also manufactured through other mechanism in the liver.
As the Ramadan fast only extends from dawn till dusk, there is ample opposite to replenish energy store at predawn and dusk mealtime. This provide a progressive gentle transition from glucose to fat as the main energy source and also prevent breakdown of muscle for protein.
- fasting aids weight loss through the use of fat.
- It reduces cholesterol level.
- It then helps in better control of diabetes.
- It reduces blood pressure.
- It helps to detoxify toxins stored in the liver.
- Feeling of general and mental well-being
Eating habits in Ramadan
Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal should be wholesome, moderate meal that is filling and provide enough energy for many hours.
Iftaar is the meal which breaks the fast. This meal could include date following the Prophet tradition.
Healthy foods mention in the Holy Quran include fruits and vegetables such as olives, onion, cucumber, dates, grapes and so on.
- Drink plenty of water and eat hydrated foods between iftaar and suhoor
- Take fruits like Watermelon and oranges
- Avoid taking caffeinated drinks such as tea, coke and coffee (they may lead to dehydration because of frequent urination).
- Remember that fizzy drinks can also serves as additional source of sugar
- It is also advisable to break your fast with date as they are quick source of sugar the body needs after a fast.
- Eat a light and balanced food for iftaaar
- Don’t skip suhoor ,it is very important.
- Say no to alcohols and hard drugs
- No smoking.
- Stay active, Ramadan fasting is not an excuse for us to be sleeping and be lazy.
COVID-19 and Ramadan
This year Ramadan fasting, we Muslims around the world will observe this Holy month under lockdown and tight restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak that has paralysed entire countries.
In this month, as Muslims we congregate for prayers, attend lectures and tafsir and share meals as a community.
But there are strict measures and physical distancing directives that have been enforced to limit the spread of this deadly virus. Therefore many of our traditions in the month of Ramadan will be curtailed this year.
Please brothers,let us all obey all the rules of Covid-19 and observe our fast and prayers at home, don’t forget to read the Qur’an. The strict measures of covid-19 is not an excuse for not fasting.
FAST but there should be no gathering of many people.
It is like we are facing a war with the enemy which is corona virus.
Let us protect ourselves from this enemy by staying at home and obeying the rules of social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and other measures like washing hands regularly, cleaning of surfaces, and avoid sneezing in public places,touching of eyes,nose and mouth.
Let us have suhoor and iftar individually or with family at home.
Congregational prayers are banned in several countries.
The king of Saudi Arabia has shortening of Tarawih prayers, which will be held without public attendance, at the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina.
Meanwhile, Pakistan will allow congregational prayers at mosques during Ramadan, but worshippers must keep a distance of two metres (six feet) from each other and are encouraged to bring their own prayer mats.
Mosques in the United Kingdom and elsewhere will live-stream sermons, Quranic recitation and prayers.
In regards to any environment that we are, please let us cope with the situation.
May Allah accept our fast and accept it as an act of Ibadah.
Happy Ramadan in advance to everyone. May Allah ease our hardships and shower us with load of peace and prosperity during this Holy month.
Abioye Adekunle Muhydeen (Rx Catalyst)
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