Fasting Throughout Ramadan and Lent may Improve the Cardiovascular System

Fasting Throughout Ramadan and Lent may Improve the Cardiovascular System

Another increasingly common strategy for managing weight is intermittent fasting.
However, religious fasts have not received the same level of attention as intermittent fasting, despite the latter being covered extensively in recent years. Does fasting for health and wellbeing alone outweigh or equal the health advantages of fasting for religious purposes?

Ramadan and Lenten Fasting has Health Benefits

Ramadan and the Christian season of Lent coincide in 2024 and 2025. While many Christians, especially those of Orthodox churches, observe Lent as a time of abstinence, Muslims observe Ramadan as a time of fasting.

The types of religious fasts differ, though. Fasting is a type of time-restricted eating during Ramadan; adherents must abstain from all food and liquids between the hours of sunrise and sunset. On the other hand, rather than a complete fast, Orthodox Christian fasting traditions typically concentrate on cutting out all animal products and sources of fat from the diet.

Investigated the possible health impacts of various faith-based and religious fasts with colleagues. Recent analysis, based solely on public data from Orthodox Christian and Muslim groups, revealed that both fasting approaches are linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, albeit for different reasons.

While there was no significant correlation found between fasting during Ramadan and body weight loss, there was a substantial correlation found between fasting during Lent and a decrease in cholesterol in Orthodox Christians.

Those who fast during Ramadan may experience reduced blood pressure as a result of not eating or drinking during the day, which lowers insulin levels and reduces blood volume. This can also have an impact on the sympathetic nervous system.

Plant-based fasting by Orthodox Christians may result in reduced fat intake and higher fiber intake compared to their regular diet, which could account for the correlation between their Lent fast and lower cholesterol.

It should come as no surprise that fasting during Ramadan and Lent was linked to weight loss, as fasts often restrict caloric intake.

When the fast is broken, excessive consumption of less healthful food and beverages could negate some of these advantages. Fasting adherents should abstain from eating items high in fat, sugar, and salt in order to preserve the benefits of fasting.

Health workers could encourage people to employ elements of their faith, such as fasting, to support healthier lifestyles, according to the Aligning Healthcare and Religious Practices assessment. This can entail investigating nutritious Iftar meals to break the fast in advance of Ramadan in collaboration with religious authorities like imams and mosque communities.

It may even be feasible to employ elements of faith to encourage self-care as a component of religious practice, enhancing both spiritual development and identity and physical health. For instance, in order to foster social cohesion and good health, religious leaders should support wholesome communal meals outside of fasting times.

Studies have indicated that individuals who practice religion had better health results from a variety of measures, such as managing their weight. This could be because faith-based health interventions are more culturally sensitive and in line with patients’ values, at least in part. For instance, studies point to a link between religiosity and self-control, which may have a beneficial effect on eating habits.

Matching health programs to patients’ religious identities and practices may improve patient adherence and participation. For instance, studies conducted in the United States have connected attending religious services to increased weight loss.

Therefore, it could be a good idea for health experts to collaborate with faith groups to create culturally inclusive ways during Ramadan and Lent, when millions of people observe their religious duties to fast. Given that people are more likely to stick to healthy practices if they are consistent with their personal beliefs, including their faith, this could assist address the difficulty of changing health-related behavior.

Sanchita Patil

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