We are familiar with the rules of the Ramadan fast, but what actually happens to our body when we abstain from food and drink? Answer: Our body gets busy…
Taking a complete break from food means that your body goes into self-cleansing mode. The energy normally used in digestion can get to work elsewhere: removing built up toxins, healing old wounds and building new cells.
Related: Eating healthily in Ramadan
The body is forced to feed upon its own stored energy in the form of glycogen. As more stored fat is broken down, the chemicals and toxins absorbed from the food we eat and the environment we live in are released and eliminated from the body. The detoxification that occurs normally in the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph glands and skin also goes into overdrive while we are fasting.
As your body is not receiving a constant energy source, it depends on the reservoir of glycogen in your liver. This causes your blood sugar levels to drop, which can cause feelings of lethargy or weakness.
Meanwhile, your digestive tract is busy cleaning itself, allowing for more efficient digestion and absorption of nutrients. The lining of the stomach and intestines also work to restore glands and muscle and remove waste matter.
Related: How to stay fit in Ramadan
In the first few days of fasting, your kidneys will release more salt and water in a process known asdiuresis, so you may notice an increase in urine production. This, in turn, will reduce your blood pressure. Other processes that sustain the infrastructure of the body increase – including the release of anti-ageing growth hormones.
As the body cleans itself, you many notice certain side effects. These include bad breath, body odour, headaches and a general sluggishness. The first week of Ramadan can be especially tough but, by week two, your system’s purge of all things bad will bring some relief.
Other changes in the body during a fast include a slight decrease in core body temperature, due to a decline in your metabolic rate and general bodily functions.