This month, many Muslims have embarked on the month of fasting. But for many people, fasting is just another part of a healthy regimen.

Nevertheless, those who fast know that the hunger can take a toll on one's alertness and mental productivity. But that's not the only effect fasting could have on your brain.  

The science behind overeating

Well, here’s an interesting fact: while you’re fasting your brain releases a chemical that changes how your body converts food to energy. What this means is that you have an increased signal in your body to eat. How does that happen? Your body increases the number of mitochondria (energy producing cells) in your brain, and this in turn leads you to believe that you’re hungrier than you really are. So, there’s a scientific explanation to why you can’t seem to stop eating after your fast. 

So that leaves us with the question of how can you avoid this? Well, first we need to talk about where your body gets its primary source of energy. There are two of them, and they are sugar and fat. Everything in the body can use sugar for energy, but not everything can use fat. The brain is an organ of your body that will use glucose only. 

That means the best way to replenish your body after a day of fasting is to have some dates. Other than a good blend of sugar, dates boast higher potassium content than bananas, and also have a nutrient called beta-D-glucan, which is a soluble fiber that has an aray of health benefits, one of which includes an increasing feeling of fullness.

Fasting and sleep

According to Dr. Ebrahim Kazim, fasting may even have some effects on sleep. Low blood sugar can help the brain into deeper stages of sleep. Better quality of sleep is definitely an important issue especially among older adults who get much less stage three and four REM (deep sleep). Repair for the body and brain take place during sleep.

Try napping during the day to break up the fast, and to get sleep worth more than the hours you’re putting into it.

Check out the original article by Megan Meyer.


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