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3 Ways Fasting For Ramadan Can Benefit Your Health

Posted in General Health 01 Jul, 2015

Ramadan is well underway, and whilst the main focus should be on the spiritual aspect, fasting for 28 days can also be beneficial for your physical health. Although you might experience some water retention and your body will probably retain the little food you are consuming, you could see a slight weight loss as your body burns fat for energy.

However, the real health benefits lie elsewhere, especially as fasting can actually have a detrimental effect on your metabolism after a significant amount of time.

It is so important to look after your health during a summer Ramadan, as you will be fasting for up to 18 hours a day. The lack of food can affect your work and social life, as well as being mentally very tough. Not drinking can be even more difficult, and those fasting may find they are more prone to headaches and tiredness.

If you do it right, however, you can significantly reduce the side effects as well as benefiting from some nifty lifestyle changes too.

Incorporate the healthy foods; what to eat and drink during Ramadan

As you're losing a lot of fluid throughout the day, it's imperative you eat the right foods between sunset and sunrise. Fruits and vegetables will hydrate you and provide an energy boost, and liquid meals such as stews and soups are also advised.

  • Milk and smoothies provide natural sugars in small doses
  • Lots of water to rehydrate
  • Fruits such as dates provide energy and sugar
  • Stews and soups are a substantial hearty meal without being too filling
  • Oats are high in fibre and filling; important for getting you through the morning
  • Rice and couscous provide energy with limited salt or sugar
  • Wholegrain breads give you fibre for healthy digestion

Starchy foods such as rice are perfect for the Suhoor (in the morning) whilst your evening meal (the Iftar) is a chance to stock up on the hydrating foods.

What not to eat during Ramadan

  • Salty food will further dehydrate you
  • Fatty foods burn too much energy too quickly
  • Sugary snacks such as chocolate that cause a crash later on
  • Large meals that make you feel uncomfortably full

So what else can Ramadan do you for your health?

Help you reinvent your lifestyle: If you're in a food rut, then Ramadan has come at a brilliant time. Many feel rejuvenated after Ramadan because their bodies have been cleansed of all the rubbish we tend to consume in our daily diets. It can also reduce your appetite; which will help you enjoy your food more mindfully post-Ramadan.

Reboot your brain: Fasting works as an amazing brain cleanser in the same way a 'detox' does. Studies have shown that stress levels are reduced during and after Ramadan due to the lowered levels of cortisol. Other studies from America have shown that the body actually produces more brain cells during a fast.

Lower cholesterol: Cardiologists in the United Arab Emirates have found a link between Ramadan and the reduction of cholesterol. Those fasting may find it has a positive effect on their lipid profile, which can reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Sources
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Healthyramadan/Pages/fastingandhealth.aspx
https://www.realbuzz.com/articles/7-surprising-health-benefits-of-ramadan/

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