Benefits of fasting: Scientific point of view
Fasting in the month of Ramadan is the fourth of the five pillars of Islam and it is an obligatory worship. We all know more or less what is said in the Holy Quran and Hadith about the importance and virtue of fasting. In the Qur'an, Allah says, "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become righteous." (Sura al-Baqara, 2: 183) and "fasting is better for you, if you only knew." (Sura al-Baqara, 2: 184).
The benefits of fasting are immense, not only from a religious point of view, but also from a scientific point of view. We know that the body of every animal is a higher and finer biochemical factory and energy is needed to keep it active. To provide that energy, the Creator has provided various kinds of food for the living world. However, since man is an advanced being, the difference between man and other animals is that man can control his appetite and sexual instinct. The month of Ramadan actually teaches people to control their instincts.
Japanese researcher and scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi has been awarded the Nobel Prize for her amazing information on fasting. He won the Nobel Prize in 2016 for his research on autophagy and thereafter he personally fasts every year. However, in an interview about why he fasts, he gave surprising information about the holy fast of Muslims. "I call autophagy what Muslims call sawm" he said.
Asked what autophagy is, he said the word autophagy is a Greek word. Auto means self and phagy means eat, so autophagy means eating oneself. Medical science does not say to eat one's own gosht. When the cells of the body start eating their own diseased cells without getting any food from outside, it is called autophagy in the language of medicine.
Just as we have a dustbin in our house or a recycle bin on our computer, we have a dustbin in every cell of our body. Because the body's cells are so busy throughout the year, the dustbin doesn't have time to clean. As a result, a lot of garbage and dirt accumulates in the cells. If the body's cells can't clean their dustbin regularly, then the cells become inactive and cause various diseases in the body. Many major diseases like cancer or diabetes start from here.
When a person is on an empty stomach, the cells of the body become very useless. But they are no longer as lazy as we are, so each cell begins to clean up its debris and dirt. Because the cells don't have a place to dump their waste like us, they eat their own waste. In medical parlance this method is called autophagy.
The most important basic elements in the human body are carbs, sugars, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. The energy that people expend in their daily work comes from food. Usually there is a balance between food intake and energy expenditure. If you take extra food for a long time, it accumulates in the body as excess fat and if you take less food than you need, the normal structure of the body starts to break down.
Since Muslims have to fast for a long month, it naturally results in some weight loss. However, due to the beautiful system called sahri and iftar, the rate of weight loss is not at an alarming level. Knowing the physiological changes that take place in the human body during fasting will help us to understand the effects of fasting on the human body.
In addition, all food and drink is closed for at least 15 hours while fasting. At this time the stomach, intestines, liver, heart and other organs get rest. Then these organs can be engaged in restructuring themselves. On the other hand, the fat that accumulates in the body and causes damage to the body is rushed to meet the needs of the body during fasting.
Dr Alexis, a renowned Nobel laureate in medicine and surgery, says that fasting speeds up blood circulation to the liver, causing fat stored under the skin, muscle proteins, glands and cells in the liver to move. Health scientist Dr Abraham J Henry said, "Fasting is a special medicine. Because people are less prone to rheumatism, diabetes, indigestion, heart disease and high blood pressure as a result of fasting. " Another study found that patients with fasting peptic ulcer felt more comfortable fasting. Fasting is also beneficial for patients with heart disease, high blood pressure and asthma.
Since the discovery of autophagy, many health-conscious people around the world, regardless of religion or creed, keep the body healthy by 'autophagy' at different times of the year. Cancer cells also die in autophagy. The discovery of autophagy came in 2016, with followers of other religions now knowing the benefits of autophagy. And Muslims have been 'autophagy' for thousands of years without knowing anything. But Allah has long said in the Qur'an, "And fasting is better for you, if you only knew." (Sura al-Baqara, 2: 184).
Patients with kidney problems do not want to fast thinking that this problem will increase if they fast. But medical scientists say that fasting removes stone particles and lime stored in the kidneys. Also, according to health scientists, the organic toxins accumulate in our body as a result of overeating, inedible, unhealthy, adulterated food throughout the year are harmful to the body. As a result of fasting for one month, these elements are easily removed.
Apart from Islam, other religions also have different types of fasting. Such as the calorie restricted fasting of Orthodox Christians, where the daily intake of food is reduced by 40%, the alternate day fasting, where one has to abstain from all kinds of food except water for 24 consecutive hours in a day. But fasting has been observed in Islam for thousands of years. Ramadan is not only beneficial for spiritual purity, but also for physical and mental development in the scientific point of view. Let us all Muslims observe fasting and pave the way for worldly and other-worldly peace.
The writer is a banker and