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Why Religious Fasting Could Be Good for Your Brain

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Most animals are similar in the way their bodies work physically. In all the animals, food is digested in a similar way and air intake occurs through a similar process. Energy generation, movement and all other bodily functions occur in a similar manner.

What makes humans unique as a race is the fact that their minds are much more developed. Scientists have always connected the functioning of human mind to the processes that occur in the human brain. Unlike animal minds, human minds do not just gather information about food, water and shelter and process it accordingly to reach these things. Human mind carries the powers of visualization and reflection. In this article, we will discuss the possible effects of religious fasting on the human brain.

According to researches carried out at the National Institute of Aging in Baltimore, fasting can help people with mental conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Fasting for one or two days per week can even help people with perfectly sound brain operations. Professor Mark Mattson who is a professor of neuroscience at a leading medical school in the U.S was the lead author of this study. A great part of the study was based on the comparison of humans to other animals, and a lot of deductions of the study were drawn from an analysis of the specific effects produced by different actions in the other animals.

The results of the study were striking. Scientists who carried out this study have compared the effects of a cut on human food (energy) intake on the human brain cells as the effects of exercise on the muscle cells. Although most people think that a carefully crafted and properly controlled diet plan that runs throughout the week is a great way of losing weight. This continuous dieting, however, can affect the brain and some hormones in the body adversely. Scientists who carried out this study suggest that intermittent breaks from meals for one or two days per week work better than continuous dieting plans, because these ‘fasting’ plans help improve the functioning of the brain.

In the following, a few positive impacts of fasting on brain are enlisted:

-          Short term fasting induces an increase in neural autophagy

-          Boost in the production of ketones

-          Reduction in risk of trauma, stroke and depression

-          Calorie restriction through intermittent fasting reduces the risks of Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease.

In some animals, restriction of calorie intake results evidently in a prolonging of lifespan, and most scientists believe that the same is true for humans. However, no concrete evidence of this has been furnished yet.

Religious fasting may help us to not only become better human beings, but also to improve our physical and mental fitness.