Fasting is the first principle of medicine;
Fast and see the strength of the spirit reveal itself.
The medical benefit of fasting is superb. Unfortunately these health benefits are not well circulated among general people. I came across this greatly shared short video titled, “Longevity & Why I now eat one meal a day” which covers a lot of knowledge and wisdom on Fasting and its health benefit and longevity. It reminds me of the Divine wisdom shared in the Qur’an where God says, “And fasting is better for you, if only you knew.”
The video starts by asking a very valid question, “HOW DID EATING GET SO COMPLICATED?” The convention wisdom or culture around food and our eating habit has gotten to a very unhealthy and ignorant state.
Our biology was not designed for 3 meal a day diet. The environment would have chosen our diet, rather than us. The way we developed our food habit has mostly to do with culture and partly western colonialist culture who tried to prove themselves more civilized when they found indigenous people were eating whenever they were hungry.
We know from Islamic tradition that eating only when hungry was not uncivilized but a sure recipe for a healthy body. But when European settlers arrived in North America, then the 3 meal diet was invented. The author argues that one meal a day is much healthier and natural for many good reasons, and yes for many good scientific and biologically valid reason.
Reducing caloric intake is directly proportional to longevity or lifespan and its been tested on other organism by scientists. And it is consistent with the Metaphysical reality of Rizq or Sustenance – that is to say, Our Rizq or Sustenance is fixed and if we use it slowly, we will live longer and those who use it up faster end up dying faster.
Aging in essence is a result of cumulative damage to our DNA. Fasting stimulates particular protein which are directly responsible for DNA repair. One of the great benefit is that fasting promote the growth of new neurons in our brain. Thus fasting is linked to the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
So what we can learn from this video? BioMed tells us that our modern day unnatural habit of constantly consuming Carbohydrates to maintain blood glucose is not only unnecessary but can be detrimental and vicious cycle (look at the rise of diabetics in our societies). EAT ONLY WHEN YOU NEED TO, NOT WHEN THE CLOCK SAYS. FAST WHEN YOU CAN. The benefit of intermittent fasting and long term benefit of fasting for our health and body is one of the best piece of knowledge we can benefit from if we practice.
If we can not regularly practice fasting or one meal a day diet, we can at least do that for one straight month or forty days if we like. Thanks God in Islam this model is practiced in Ramadan.
Fast for a specific number of days, but if one of you is ill, or travelling, on other days later. For those who can fast only with extreme difficulty, there is a way to compensate- feed a needy person. But he that will give more, of his own free will,- it is better for him, and fasting is better for you, if only you knew.
~ The Qur’an 2:184
Muslims around the world have forgotten the wisdom of fasting, they dont even fast as it is commanded in the Qur’an in most Muslim majority countries which is to fast until the Night (not until sunset). In Bangladesh where I live, if I fast until night this year, I fast exactly about 16 hours, the most optimum time medically and biologically speaking. That’s how the Divine instruction is.
.. Complete the fast until nightfall. ~ Qur’an 2:187
If we fast until night, we actually fast with one meal where we eat straight dinner in breaking the fast. Just before dawn there should be a very light meal and water. This way what happened culturally within Muslim society, like all kind of unhealthy food at the sunset (contrary to Qur’an instruction of completing fast until night) and then again another big meal shortly after that – can be reversed and we can move to more healthier and natural way.
Deen, the Divine Prescribed Way of Life is all about aligning in what is the most Natural, how we are Designed, our Fitrah, our Divine Blueprint.
Interesting Qur’an says about fasting, “Fasting is better for you, if only you knew.” The “if only knew” part draws our attention to the fact that it may seem contrary but if studied carefully our biology, how our body works – surely fasting would prove much much superior.
And this video really does.
There are many more such exposition to the benefit of Intermittent Fasting is available in public domain to explore and expand our knowledge. Click here to see a list of available videos on Youtube about Intermittent Fasting.
May your have a blessed and healthy Fasting in this month of Ramadan.