Research on Fasting

Fasting and Cancer

The experiments of fasting done on cancer patients in Florida by the Institute of Islamic Medicine for Education and Research headed by Dr. Ahmed Elkadi are quite exciting. As a result of the experiments, it was seen that the spread of malignant tumors slowed down (and even stopped) in the patients who fasted regularly and that the benign tumors, which were normally removed by operation, disappeared. Joel Fuhrman states the following in his book called "Fasting and Eating for Health" published in 1995: "Fasting is a safe and effective approach for not only fibroid tumors, but also most of the noncancerous tumors. A person responds favorably to therapeutic fasting if he is not very overweight."

The Differences between Islamic Fasting and Other Forms of Fasting Biologically and Psychologically
It is possible to list the differences between Islamic fasting and other diet plans as follows:  

* There is no inadequate calorie intake unless abnormal amounts of food are eaten during the times of iftar and suhoor. This was confirmed by the study conducted by M. M. Hussaini on the Muslim students at North Dakota State University.  He concluded that calorie intake of Muslim students during fasting was about two-thirds of the calorie intake of other students.
This means the maintenance of the calorie balance of the body.

* It is scientifically known that there is a center called the “lipostat”, which controls body mass, in the hypothalamus of the brain. When severe and rapid weight loss is achieved by starvation diet, the center does not recognize this as normal and, therefore re-programs itself to cause weight gain rapidly once the person goes off the starvation diet. In Ramadan, the body loses weight regularly and it is possible to lose weight healthily and to put on weight again through fasting. The lipostat center in a person who fasts does not need to program itself again.

* In Islamic fasting, people are not subject to a diet of selected foods only (i.e. protein only, fruits only, etc.); they eat equally from all foods. Thus, the body takes only the foods that it needs.

* Ramadan is a month of self-discipline; therefore, those who are chain smokers, drink a lot of tea and coffee, etc. give up their habits to a great extent. It has been determined that, after Ramadan, they do not smoke and drink as much as they used to do.

* Along with biological effects, fasting has a lot of psychological effects. Those who fast become less angry and always act more constructively. They remember the following advice of the Prophet (pbuh): “If someone slanders you or treats you badly, tell him, ‘I am fasting’.” As we have mentioned, their inclination to commit crimes disappear when they fast.

Advice to Ill People about Fasting

Diabetic Patients: It is not harmful for diabetics to fast; on the contrary, there are many benefits of fasting because it will eliminate diabetes or at least their diabetes will get better. However, it is risky for the diabetics who take insulin to fast. It is necessary for those patients to consult their doctors and find out about the amount of insulin they need to take at the times of iftar and suhoor. If diabetics fast, they should eat diabetic food in iftar and suhoor. It is also necessary for them to have their blood glucose levels measured.  

Cardiac Patients: It is beneficial for cardiac patients to fast since fasting lowers their blood pressure. They should see their physicians to adjust medicines. Those with hypertension and severe heart diseases are not advised to fast.

Those with Migraine Headache: Patients with migraines are advised not to fast since fasting increases fatty acids in blood.

Pregnant Women: Pregnancy is a delicate issue; therefore, it is appropriate to decide about fasting together with the doctor. Pregnant women should not fast during the first and third trimesters. If Ramadan happens to come between the 4th and 6th months of a healthy pregnancy, they can fast under the close supervision of their doctors.

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