What are the health benefits of fasting in Ramadan?

5/1/2022 12:00 PM
Stock image of people breaking their fast with dates

We know Ramadan has its spiritual blessing but what about the barakah and health benefits the body gets from fasting in the blessed month?  

Fasting during the month of Ramadan helps with general wellbeing. It gives your body a break from the usual intake of food or water — allowing your system to reset itself.  

Intermittent fasting has gained in popularity in recent years as it helps lose weight — the 5:2 diet is similar to the Prophetic traditions of fasting twice a week.

Even amongst athletes, it's believed to promote fat loss and muscle gain. And fasting in Ramadan produces similar health benefits.  

Some of the health benefits it is said to be linked with includes:

  • weight loss  
  • lowering the risk of diabetes
  • reducing the risk of heart disease
  • improving insulin levels  
  • boosting brain function
  • helping the immune system
  • promoting blood sugar control
  • improving blood pressure

The practice of fasting  

Some studies suggest that fasting may protect against and improve Parkinson's and Alzheimer's patients' outcomes and improve brain function by supporting memory and brain processing.  

And this isn't just limited to humans. Similarly, animal studies suggest fasting may protect brain health and increase the generation of nerve cells.

The practice of fasting dates back centuries and is seen as one of the oldest therapies in medicine. In the 5th century BC, Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, recommended abstaining from food to aid the healing process.  

Of course, some people can be exempt from fasting — especially if is detrimental to their health.  

Those who are ill can be excused from the duty, as are people who are travelling and women who are pregnant, menstruating or breastfeeding.

Those who have a pre-existing medical condition or are on medication should speak to their GP or healthcare professional before they attempt to fast.