“…So whoever sights (the new moon of) the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then (they have to make up for) an equal number of other days.” Quran 2:185
A lot of articles have been written about the health benefits of fasting. It is however puzzling that whenever fasting is approaching some people rush to their GPs to assess their medical conditions in case they have ailments that would guarantee them exemption from fasting.
High Blood Pressure is one of the health conditions that affects a cross section of people and although one cannot be exempted from fasting due to this condition, studies have revealed that while drug treatments for mild hypertension may be effective at lowering blood pressure, the drugs are not effective in reducing overall mortality.
Your heart pumps blood that provides the necessary nutrients and removes waste in the body. During this circulation process, the blood is filtered and pumped again into the circulatory system. To achieve this process, the heart expands and contracts causing the blood pressure to be high at one moment and low a second later. Its these pressure levels that are measured at the hospital in order to determine a person’s blood pressure. High blood pressure is a mechanical problem that arises due to excessive salt in the diet an clogged arteries. The clogging usually happens when there are excess fats in your body.
But did you know that fasting reduces high blood pressure? A study conducted on 174 patients diagnosed with severe high blood pressure at the Centre for Conservative Therapy in California, USA produced remarkable results. All the patients discontinued their medications no matter the severity of their condition.
To achieve this result, the patients in this study, which was partly funded by ANHS-National Health Association, were given water only for a period of 10.6 days and later on given a natural foods diet for one week and the fasting managed to spare them the lifelong medication!
Now, Muslims fast from dawn to task with no intake of either solids or liquids into their body. In the process, the body cleans itself of excess fats and salts leaving it healthy and refreshed.
However, in order to achieve maximum results, it is advisable that we avoid too much foods in the evening. One of the objectives of fasting is to teach the Muslims to have a feel of what it is like to starve so that we should have a spirit of assisting the needy. Of what benefit will it to be to fast the whole day and over-feed ourselves in the evening, some to the extent of even failing to complete Taraweh prayer because their stomachs are over-laden with food?
Consider the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who advised the faithful to break their fast with dates or water! Light and natural; not the expensive foodstuffs that are only prepared during the month of Ramadhan.
Therefore, make this year’s fasting a lifetime investment on your body. Fast, eat light and natural foods and forgo the blood pressure medication that will not even save your life!