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Why fasting is good for your health

By Umar Nsubuga

Added 7th June 2017 08:34 AM

Do you have chronic back pain? Chronic neck pain? Try fasting.

Muslimman 703x422

Do you have chronic back pain? Chronic neck pain? Try fasting.

(Credit: AFP)


In the Islamic faith, Ramadhan is a time when Muslims fast. Aisha Namakula chose to stash away her miniskirts and keep off beef for 30 days while Isam Kinene has decided to respect people.

There are different kinds of fasting. To most people, fasting is a spiritual practice.

But aside from that, it has health benefits as well, as scientific research ha proven over the years. Fasting benefits the body in more ways than one.

Sharon Naluwende, a nutritionist from Mulago Hospital, says weight loss is the most obvious benefit to most people. In fact, fasting is one of the big components of weight loss diets. "The logic is simple: you feel hungry less often so you take in less food and lose more weight.

Detoxification, faster healing

Naluwende says the process through which the body eliminates and neutralises toxins from its system happens naturally when you fast because without food, the body's next source of energy is fat.

"Toxins are also stored in fat. So as the body burns that fat, it gets rid of toxins through the skin, liver, lungs, colon, lymph gland and the kidneys", she says.

Do you have chronic back pain? Chronic neck pain? Try fasting. 

Dr. Ali Ayo of MK Medical Hospital in Wakiso says it speeds the body's healing process by diverting attention to the immune system.

This is one of the reasons you lose appetite when you are sick. You do not feel hungry because your body consciously diverts its resources to healing you, so your attention is diverted from the digestive system (which is always eager to remind you when it has nothing to digest) to the immune system.

He says as a result, the digestive system is able to rest as your energies are diverted to the immune system.

"Abnormal growths like tumours also shrink because they have a less inducing atmosphere for growth during the fasting period," explains Dr. Ayo.

"People with painful uterine fibroids, for instance, can deal with the pain and tumour growth by starting a fast because it has been known to reduce the pain and size of the tumours."

In addition, the replacement of damaged cells is more efficient, so you get healthier cells tissues and organs. Likewise, there is more efficient protein production in the body during the fasting period.

Drugs, hormone production and longer life

According to Haspha Nassolo, a nursing officer in Kampala, if you are fighting to get off drugs, including alcohol, try fasting. It has been proven that fasting reduces the withdrawal symptoms, which is the biggest reason most drug addicts fail to stay off drugs for long.

She says with fasting, there is less activity for the body organs, so the body temperature generally falls to healthier levels. This means the blood sugar levels drop since the body tends to conserve energy.

Meanwhile, Nassolo says the body produces more growth hormones during a fast. It also produces an anti-aging hormone, and the two combined spell good health and better life.

Dr. Ayo says this is the end-result of all the benefits of fasting combined again. The logic is simple: lower metabolic rate, better protein production, better immunity, healthier cells, more growth and anti-aging hormones, controlled weight and a clean (detoxified) body system all equal to longer life.

So, to live a long life, get onto the fasting network.


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