In the recent times, fasting is a common practice in the society and more specifically among the Islamic community whereby they engage in fasting during the month of Ramadhan yearly. Fasting involves abstinence from food over a given period. The main essence of fasting among the Muslims is observance of various religious teachings. However, some other individuals engage in fasting as one way of saving money. This practice is common among the low earning individuals in the society who abstain from their lunch meals as one way of avoiding to spend the little funds they contain. In addition, fasting is practiced by individuals in the society as a way of solving their health problems and maintaining a fit body. For instance, fasting is practiced by many individuals in the society like the athletes as a way of losing weight. Nevertheless, fasting has proved out to contribute positively towards the health standards of those who practice it although not recommended by most health practitioners (Ryan 23).
Besides losing of weight, fasting is associated with several benefits. According to Moore and Westman, fasting is responsible for improvising insulin sensitivity in the body, speeding up of the major body functions like metabolism, and promoting the longevity of those individuals who practice it (48). Furthermore, fasting influences certain hormones in the body that trigger various actions like improving one’s hunger, it improves one’s eating patterns, improves one’s immune system, boosts the functioning of the brain, and positively contributes to self-enlightenment. Upon influencing these changes in the body, fasting is described as a practice that promotes high health living standards in the society. Nevertheless, fasting is not fully recommended as far as health practitioners are concerned, according to them, if fasting is not carried out in an effective manner it can also result in health challenges.
Fasting for years have been associated with weight loss among individuals in the society. Fasting that is carried out under controlled conditions regarding the number of hours involved allows one’s body to burn fat cells in a more effective manner as compared to the regular diet habits. Intermittent fasting subjects an individual’s body towards utilizing fat as a major source of energy as opposed to sugar. In the current society, fasting is a common practice among most athletes as a method of lowering the quantity of fat in the body that eventually favors them during the competitions (“Many Benefits of Fasting | AllAboutFasting”).
According to various research studies, fasting has proven to speed up the metabolic functioning of the body. Individuals who engage in intermittent fasting provides their digestive systems sufficient time to rest. This leads to energizing of the body metabolism that eventually burn’s calories more efficiently as compared to the regular diet habits. The practice of fasting, therefore, regulates the digestion of food that promotes a healthy bowel functioning that handles the improvising of their metabolic body functioning. Furthermore, fasting promotes longevity among various people in the society. Studies shows that the less food one consumes, the longer the period the individual is likely to live. The diet has been considered to increase or decrease the lifespan of people who adopt various cultures. Fasting enables an individual to consume less food thereby reducing the workload on the digestive systems. This individual ends up speeding up and developing a more efficient metabolism that keeps him/her younger thereby increasing his/her longevity(“Many Benefits of Fasting | AllAboutFasting”).
Improving of insulin sensitivity in the body is among the several benefits of fasting. The bodies of individuals who engage in fasting tolerate sugars in a better way than the bodies of those who do not. Studies show that insulin works more effectively in propelling the cells to extract more glucose from the blood in the periods after fasting. This clearly shows how the practice contributes to a healthy living in the society.
In addition, fasting is associated with improving one’s eating habits. For instance, those individuals who are victims of binge eating disorders together with those who are not able to establish the right eating patterns due to work commitments and other priorities, fasting is the solution. Controlled fasting for example going all day without a meal, allows an individual to eat at a given time that most probably suits his/her lifestyle. In addition, individuals with an intent of preventing binge eating can establish a given time whereby they allow their bodies to take a given quantity of food once in a day. This allows them to develop a suitable lifestyle.
Fasting improves the brain functioning of people. According to various reports, fasting enhances the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is a certain type of protein. BDNF activates the conversion of brain stem cells into new neurons and influences other substances to promote a high neural health standards. The protein also plays a major role in protecting the brain cells from severe diseases like Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, through fasting an individual maintains a high brain functioning that enables him/her to portray a high intelligence levels (“Many Benefits of Fasting | AllAboutFasting”).
The practice boosts the body immune system. Intermittent fasting regulates inflammatory body conditions and decreases free radical damage in the body. This fights off the cancer cell formation as a way of improved immune system. In addition, a reduction in consumption of food eradicates internal system stress enabling the body to fight off various diseases. Fasting also contributes to self-enlightenment among individuals in the society. This is achieved through the reduced toll on the digestive systems, which creates more energy in the body as the digestive system happens to consume a lot of energy. This results in individuals being physically and consciously fit within the society (Moore and Westman 58).
However, with the above benefits, fasting may lead to both short-term and long-term side effects. According to the American Cancer Society reports, the short-term effects include; fatigue, dizziness, headaches, low blood pressure and lightheadedness. In addition, people under fasting practice are likely to go through impaired abilities in carrying out various tasks like operating machines. Fasting also may damage the immune system and negatively affect various body organs of an individual in the long run. Although with these drawbacks, fasting is being practiced in the current times (Moore and Westman 93).
Considering the benefits of fasting that includes, weight loss, improved immune system, improved insulin sensitivity and speeding up of metabolism among others, it can be used as a basis for maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the society. Therefore, more individuals should engage in intermittent fasting as one way of creating a disease free society. Various groups like the Muslims should be encouraged towards maintaining their religious, cultural heritage of fasting. Other groups should rather assimilate the aspect of fasting from the Islamic culture. Fasting has proved out to be of much value to the lives of people and, therefore, should be highly valued in the society.
“The Many Benefits of Fasting | AllAboutFasting.” Using Fasting for Natural Healing | AllAboutFasting. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2015.
Moore, J., and E. C. Westman. Keto Clarity: Your definitive guide to the benefits of a low-carb, high-fat diet. N.p., 2014. Print.
Ryan, T. The sacred art of fasting: Preparing to practice. Woodstock, VT: SkyLight Paths Pub, 2005. Print.