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Fasting increases brain activity; Dr. Wasim Jafri

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A recent study reveals that fasting affects the lipid profile, which results in reduced blood cholesterol that can keep heart attacks, strokes and other diseases at bay.

People affected with diabetes, cancer, kidney and liver diseases must consult with their physicians before observing fast in Ramadan.

Fasting can be a method of ‘supercharging’ the brain. Fasting not only uses Ramadan observers’ fat reserves, but also cleanses their body of harmful toxins that might be present in fat deposits. The citizens, wiling to observe fast, are strongly advised to take it easy with the amount of heavy, creamy and fried foods, as well as salty and sugary dishes.”

These views were expressed by Dr. Wasim Jafri, Professor of Medicine at the Aga Khan University, while delivering a lecture on “Ramadan and Health” organized by Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi at the L.E.J. National Science Information Center on Friday.

The lecture, delivered in the public awareness seminar, was jointly organised by Dr. Panjwani Center and Sindh Innovation, Research, and Education Network (SIREN).

Prof. Jafri said, “Observing Ramadan and fasting gives a positive U-turn to the lifestyle and digestive system of an individual.”

As Ramadan observers’ body gets used to eating less, their digestive system gets a chance to rest and their stomach gradually shrinks in size, he added, saying that this reduces one’s appetite, and the results can last longer than many trend of diets.

With the digestive system on a month-long overhaul, Ramadan observers’ body naturally detoxifies, giving them the opportunity to continue a healthier lifestyle beyond Ramadan, he said.

Fasting can be a method of ‘supercharging’ the brain, increasing growth and development of new brain cells, in turn sharpening responses to information in the world around us, he said. Studies also show that fasting can also make the brain more resilient to stress, more adaptable to change, and can improve mood, memory and even learning capacity, he maintained.

A little dehydration is natural, and this can lead to slight headaches and lack of concentration, he said, advised that Ramadan observers can help keep themself hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids in the Iftar – Suhoor hours.

Remaining active helps reduce fatigue, gives one’s body the strength to keep going and is a good opportunity to lose weight if needed, he said.

It’s best to exercise just before Iftar or Suhoor or a few hours after Iftar, he advised.

Ramadan is also a chance for Ramadan observers to ditch addictions like smoking or sugar, he pointed out. With a little self-control people can continue to restrain from their addictions during and after fasting hours as well, he said.

Ramadan is also a great time to start and maintain healthy habits like eating more greens, drinking more water and taking regular exercise, he observed.

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