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.
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.
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.