HYDERABAD: Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese cell biologist, scientifically proved that fasting is good for health.
Ohsumi has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for his “discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy,” a Greek term for “self-eating.”
His focus of research points towards the health boosting effects of fasting. It could help a body fight and protect against number of viral and bacterial infections such as cancer or neurological disorders like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
Ohsomi showed that autophagy, a natural defence that our bodies use to survive can be induced by fasting. Here good cells create membranes that hunt out diseased or infectious, dead cells and engulfed them up.
In the human body, self-eating autophagy is a crucial process by which good cells reduced own components to release energy and to build new functional parts.
Apparently, intermittent fasting (fasting and then feasting on purpose; similar to traditional practice of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan) stimulates autophagy by increasing body stress.
Fasting during Ramadan is ideal time for Autophagy’s process to happen as it needs 8 to 16 hours of starvation, which helps fighting in cancer viruses.
Muslims enjoy the health benefits and the spiritual rewards of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
Twice-a-week fast is probably enough to up-regulate this powerful physiological process. Also, it was a regular practice of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) to fast every Monday and Thursday.
It was narrated from Abu Qataadah al-Ansari that the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) was asked about fasting on Mondays and he said, “On that day I was born, and on it the Revelation came to me.” (Sahih Muslim, 1162).
Aisha (RA), the Prophet’s (Peace Be Upon Him) wife, said, “The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) was keen to fast on Mondays and Thursdays. (At-Tirmidhi, 745).
It is praiseworthy to fast three days each month; some scholars say any three days and others say specifically the 13th, 14th, and 15th days of the lunar month.
It was narrated that Abd-Allah bin Amr bin al-Aas said, “The Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) said to me: “It is sufficient for you to fast three days every month, because for every good deed you will have (the reward of) ten like it, so that will be like fasting for a lifetime.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, 1874).
Reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease are some of the benefits associated with fasting attributed to this process.