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Fasting May Help Your Brain

by Humas IAIN Palangka Raya
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During the entire month of Ramadan, Muslims are obligated to fast (Arabic: صوم‎, sawm), every day from dawn to sunset (or from dawn to night according to some scholars). Fasting requires the abstinence from food, drink and sexual activity. Fasting the month of Ramadān was made obligatory (wājib) during the month of Sha‘bān, in the second year after the Muslims migrated from Makkah to Madīnah. Fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam (https://en.wikipedia.org)
Today, we talk about fasting involving only food. Apart from spiritual or religious reasons, what effects does not eating have on human health?
A team of researchers in the United States says fasting is good for our brain.
Mark Mattson is a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He and others have studied how dietary restrictions might protect your brain from neurological diseases that get worse over time. Two examples of these diseases are Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
His team found that controlling and restricting calories may improve a person’s memory, emotions and state of mind.
Mattson says his studies are built upon years of research that have confirmed links between how many calories a person eats and mental ability. Calories are a measure of energy in food.
A report in the Johns Hopkins Health Review describes the links. It said that every time we eat, a sugar called glucose is stored in the liver as glycogen. It takes your body about 10 to 12 hours to use up all of the glycogen.
The report said, “After the glycogen is used up, your body starts burning fats, which are converted into chemicals used by neurons as energy. These chemicals are important to learning, memory and overall brain health.”
However, if you eat three meals a day, with snacks in between, your body does not have time to use up all of the glycogen in the liver. So, the learning and memory chemicals are not produced.
Mattson said that physical exercise can also use up the glycogens. He added that it was not surprising that “exercise has been shown to have the same positive effect on the brain as fasting.”
The researchers found that cutting down on food at least two days a week can improve neural connections in the hippocampus. This part of the brain controls emotions and plays a part in long-term memory.
A calorie-controlled diet also protected neurons against the build-up of amyloid plaques. Amyloid plaque is a protein commonly found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.
This article has been published on https://learningenglish.voanews.com under the title “Fasting May Help Your Brain “, https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/fasting-may-help-your-brain/4398243.html

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