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The holy month of Ramadhan is here, the month where those who are Moslem does intermittent fasting from the crack of dawn to sunset. Aside from Ramadan, fasting before the wedding day is also a common custom for the Muslim brides and grooms-to-be. It is believed that fasting could make the happy couple appear more glowing and ease their emotions during the wedding day.
Intermittent fasting is, in fact, a common practice for athletes and many health practitioners around the world. Outside of Ramadhan or the general Muslim ritual of fasting, it is usually a way to restart your body to its original, healthy state. Here are some benefits of intermittent fasting for your body, especially if you have your wedding day coming up.
1. Weight loss
When you eat fewer meals, you'll end up taking in fewer calories. This enhances the hormone function to facilitate weight loss. The lower insulin levels promote higher growth hormone levels, thus increasing the breakdown of body fat to be used as energy. Therefore, short-term fasting actually increases your metabolic rate by helping you burn even more calories.
Intermittent fasting has also reportedly caused people to lose belly fat, which is the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that cause diseases. One study also showed that intermittent fasting caused less muscle loss, making it an incredibly powerful weight loss tool.
2. Increased immune system
During fasting, the cells in our body initiate a cellular "waste removal" process which basically removes waste material from cells, making them stronger to withstand diseases. This way, your immune system is automatically increased. In addition to removing waste from your cells, fasting also increases your body's resistance to oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress leads to aging and many other chronic diseases and can be caused by something as simple as being exposed to the UV rays from the sunlight. The free radicals in UV rays penetrate the skin and damage its cells, causing it to lose firmness and moisture. The resistance to this added with cellular repair results in a glowing and firm skin, which is something that will definitely show when you walk that aisle during your wedding ceremony!
3. Improved brain functions
It goes without saying that when you treat your body well, your brain will benefit from it too. Intermittent fasting has been known to improve various metabolic features that are important for your brain health. We've mentioned before that fasting reduces oxidative stress. In addition to that, the practice of fasting also reduces inflammation, blood sugar levels and insulin resistance.
This promotes the growth of new nerve cells which improves brain function. It also increases a brain hormone that when deficient often causes depression and other brain problems. Therefore, not only does fasting makes you think more diligently, but it also helps to reduce stress and anxiety that often leads to depression.
4. Increasing your hunger tolerance
It's a common concept of Indonesian weddings, whether traditional or modern, for the bride and groom along with their parents to stand on a stage and be greeted by all the wedding guests. For large sized weddings, the total time of this greeting process can add up to three to four hours, usually with no breaks. The thought of having to stand up for that long, not having anything to eat, can be horrifying, especially when eating beforehand might not be an option as it might cause bloating or having to go to the bathroom.
However, if your body is used to fasting, then not eating for the length of time you'll be on stage might not be a problem at all. Your hunger tolerance will have increased since your stomach is used to not eating for a more extended period. However, ensure that at least you have had a sufficient breakfast as it is the most important meal of the day.
Before deciding whether you should fast before your wedding, or even during the Ramadan month if your wedding day is right after it, consult with your doctor first. If you have a history of digestive or blood sugar problems that might be triggered by fasting, it is imperative that you alter your fasting period to your body's needs. Don't risk getting sick on your wedding day just so that you can shed a few pounds!