The holiest month in the Islamic calendar, Ramadan, will begin on 2 April, with the first day of fasting on 3 April.
It means not eating, drinking, smoking, or having sex from dawn to sunset in the hope of becoming more "taqwa," or aware of God.
More than 1,400 years ago, Muslims were ordered to fast during Ramadan, the ancient Greeks encouraged fasting to heal the body, and now, medical science advocates its mental and physical benefits.
The five health benefits of fasting:
1. May help disease prevention
Lightening one's normal eating pattern appears to give the body the time to focus on other important functions, including disease prevention. It may also improve the body's ability to manage chronic inflammation and, as such, reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
2. Support blood sugar management
Several studies support fasting as a way to improve blood sugar control and maybe reduce diabetes risk.
3. Support brain function
Fasting may safeguard brain health and promote nerve cell development, according to animal research.
Fasting may help alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms and promote social interaction.
4. May delay aging and support growth and metabolism
Fasting is thought to raise levels of human growth hormone, which is important for growth and repair, metabolism, weight loss, muscle strength, and exercise performance, among other things.
5. May support weight loss
Fasting causes cell stress, which aids in weight loss since fat is used as an energy source. This helps keep blood sugar and cholesterol levels in check. During a fast, the body burns calories more slowly. It switches from carbs to fats as its main source of energy, ensuring that it always has enough energy.
Fasting improves the ability of overweight people to switch their metabolism to fat burning, preserves muscle mass, and improves body composition.