Local spotlight: Fasting helps

By Abdellatif Sharaa

Many people are not aware of the significant health benefits of fasting, which is really an effective healthy practice when it is done the right way. Fasting helps the body to get rid of toxins, reduce blood sugar levels and lowers fat storage, while at the same time helps the immune system.

As for removing toxins, we all know that foods prepared in advance contain many additives and preservatives which turn into toxins inside the body, and most of them are stored in body fat. Fasting prompts the body to burn such fats, and this in turn helps in expelling the toxins through the liver and kidneys, in addition to other organs.

We should remember that our digestive system takes a break while fasting. The natural physiological functions continue, particularly the secretion of digestive juices at a lower rate, and this helps keep the fluid balance in the body, while food digestion takes place at a steady rate, and this produces energy at a gradual rate. Yet fasting does not prevent secretion of gastric acids, so patients with ulcers must be careful when fasting.

There are studies that show fasting helps in some medical issues, including allergies. Fasting increases the breakup of glucose and energy production, which in turn reduces the production of insulin, giving the pancreas a break. Blood pressure or hypertension can be reduced by fasting, as it helps the reduction of arteriosclerosis. Fats are burned and glucose is broken to produce the necessary energy for the body. The metabolism rates also slow down, reducing hormones such as adrenaline, and this in turn helps in lowering hypertension.

When one follows a balanced diet between fasting periods, it helps the immune system. Eating fruits helps increase the nutritional content of vitamins A and E – both are excellent antioxidants and augment the immune system. It is good to remember that fasting can suppress the appetite for readymade foods, and instead of that fasting increases the desire to eat healthy food. Finally, regardless of the mentioned benefits, one should seek medical advice any time before starting the fast in case of any medical condition.

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