Japanese scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi won the 2016 Nobel Prize establishing the truth that fasting is good for health. He coined the term “autophagy” which was the cornerstone of his discovery. In Autophagy our own body cells gobble up the cellular debris, useless parts, and even pathogenic microorganisms making a healthy environment in vivo (within the body).
Autophagy becomes activated under conditions of stress and strain like fasting. Here the autophagy cells produce energy using its cellular rubbish and pathogenic bacteria. During starvation brain gets a signal from the body that there is shortage of food stimulating the autophagy swallowing the old and junky protein in the system. Fasting allows the body at least to derive two benefits:
1. Keeping the body clean by scavenging the damaged cells
2. When self-destruction in the body occurs, there is production of growth hormone which in turn induces the generation of new cells.
The benefit regained during one month of fasting is lost through a discourse of ignorance and bigotry. Many Muslims conceive that since fasting was constituted for the appeasement of Allah, therefore post Ramadan haute cuisine is acceptable and healthy if taken in the name of the creator. Like fasting, the post fasting transition should be followed in the light of science and medical teaching. Many over zealot activists get a bulge in their waist line in the next one month than it was during the fag end of the fasting month.
More often than not, it should be remembered that as our body gradually adjusts its circadian rhythm (body clock) from the first day of fasting to the last day, the same body also demands that post Ramadan transition should be befitting to the homeostasis of the organ.
No sooner the month of fasting ends, we revert to a life of undisciplined, irregular and unhealthy practices subjugating the body to a host of insults and traumas. Sideling the healthy and nutritious foods, the table of junk foods top up the list of appetisers; fried chicken, pizza, burger, hotdog, chips, carbonated sugary beverages and energy drinks with extravaganza of fat, sugar, monosodium glutamate - to name a few. Some of them are carcinogenic and are notoriously culpable to induct glucagon surge which opposes the action of insulin.
Not only that, excesses of tea and coffee assault the diurnal rhythm which is essential to transit to a smooth, homogenous sleep pattern. The repeated burning of the oils leads to the transformation to trans-fat, culminating in the development of stroke and heart diseases.
Those who are the harbinger of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, impaired renal function, ulcer diseases — are at particular risk, should discuss with their physicians to address their particular needs. To get a panacea for most of the diseases and disorders for the rest of the life not only for Ramadan or post Ramadan, here is a magic wand that may be difficult but cost effective — having a balanced and nutritious diet, routine life, adequate physical activity, rest, sleep and meditation and finally avoidance of nicotine, drugs and alcohol. The celebrated Pianist Arthur Rubenstein who lived to ninety eight years made a clarion call, ”If you love life, life will love back.”