During Ramadan, all Muslims are expected to refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset – but many don’t realise the hidden health benefits associated with this fasting.

Benefit 1: Burns Fat As Energy

During fasting, growth hormone levels can double, leading to increased fat burning and muscle gain. Higher growth hormone levels and increased amounts of noradrenaline increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy.

Benefit 2: Boosts Your Metabolism

According to a 2014 review from the Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine, intermittent fasting – which is similar to what happens during Ramadan – can cause weight loss of up to eight percent over three to 24 weeks. Participants also measured a reduction of up to seven percent of waist circumference, which indicates that they lost lots of fat from the abdomen, the hardest area to burn fat.

Benefit 3: Cleans Your Body

The body induces important cellular repair processes during fasting, such as removing waste material from cells, which leads to a reboot of organs such as the kidneys and liver.

Benefit 4: Reduces Insulin Resistance

Around 85 percent of people with obesity also suffer from type 2 diabetes. One of the main features of this is a high resistance to insulin, which leads to high blood sugar levels. Intermittent fasting reduces insulin resistance, which in turn, lowers blood sugar.

Benefit 5: Helps Your Heart

Intermittent fasting can inhibit numerous risk factors of heart disease, including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides.

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