Medical Benefits of Ramadhan

Fasting During Ramzan Improves the health and stamina, so enjoy your fasting. But Mus­lims don’t fast because of health benefits but because it has been ordained to them in the Quran. The medical benefits of fasting are as a result of fasting.

Fasting in general has been used for medical reasons including weight manage­ment, for rest of the digestive tract, and for lowering lipids. There are many adverse effects of the total fasting as well as so called crash di­ets. Islamic fasting is different from such diet plans because in Ramzan fasting, there is no malnutrition or inadequate calorie intake. The calorie intake of Muslims during Ramzan is at or slightly below the standard requirement guidelines. Ramzan is a month of self regula­tion and self training with the hope that this training will last beyond the end of Ramzan.

If the lessons learned during Ramzan, whether in terms of dietary intake or righ­teousness are carried on after Ramzan, It is beneficial for ones entire life. More over the type of food taken during Ramzan does not have any selective criteria of crash diets such as those which are protein only or fruits only. Everything that is permissible is taken in moderate quantities.

The only difference between Ramadan and total fasting is the timing of food; during Ramadan we basically miss lunch and take an early breakfast and do not eat until dusk. Ab­stinence from water during this period caus­es concentration of all fluids within the body producing slight dehydration. The body has its own water conservation mechanism; in fact, it has been shown that slight dehydration and water conservation improve longevity. The physiological effects of fasting includes low­ering of blood-sugar, lowering of cholesterol and lowering of systolic blood pressure; in fact Ramadhan fasting would be an ideal recom­mendation for treatment of mild to moderate, stable, non- insulin diabetes, obesity and es­sential hypertension.

Muslims must give heed to the proph­et’s saying that if one slanders you say I am fasting; this psychological improvement could be related to better stabilization of blood during fasting as hypoglycemia after eating aggravates behavior changes.

There is a beneficial effect of extra prayers at night there are 10 extra calories out­put for each rikat of the prayer; again we do not pray for exercise but a mild movement of the joints with extra calorie utilization is just a spin off.

Ramadhan is a month of Supplication , Sympathy and self training with the hope that this training will last beyond the end of Ramadhan. As far as sympathy is concerned fasting teaches a man what basic human re­quirements are. It makes him aware of hunger and thrist.

During Ramadhan a dramatic change comes over believers .They are seen sitting inside mosques reciting the holy Quran im­mersed in prayer and the remembrance of God .They become more detached and con­templative.Ramadhan is thus a process of self regulation of a believer.He can look forward applying the lessons learnt during Ramadhan to everyday life.

If the lessons learned during this month, whether in terms of dietary intake or righteousness are carried on afterwards, It is beneficial for ones entire life.

Dr. Aejaz Iqbal (Microbiologist) can be reached at