Ramadan 2021: Some surprising health benefits of fasting
As Ramadan is approaching, Muslims around the globe will observe a period of deep spiritual reflection and fasting that takes place every year.
The first day of Ramadan is most likely to fall on April 13, with UAE residents will have to observe approx. 14 hours of fasting with a slight difference between various regions of the country.
Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, when Muslims are required to abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk, in the hopes that it will lead to greater “taqwa”, or consciousness of Allah.
Like other Islamic months, Ramadan begins at the first sighting of the new crescent moon and lasts 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the next crescent.
Muslims were commanded to fast during Ramadan more than 1400 years ago, and today scientists reveal the mental and physical benefits of fasting.
Known as intermittent fasting, a modern way of fasting advocated by some scientists that abstains from eating for 12, 18 or even more hours at a stretch.
Therefore, for those who are taking part this year, there are some health benefits that can be reaped from fasting if done right and maintaining a good diet outside of sun-up and sun-down times.
Experts have found that restricting food intake can help prevent health problems such as high cholesterol, obesity, heart problems and improve wellbeing.
By not consuming food, our body is able to flush out toxins by giving some rest to the digestive system. It also promotes mental health.
Dr Razeen Mahroof, an anaesthetist from Oxford, has helped the NHS to map out a guide to successful fasting during Ramadan, according to the Independent.
Weight can be lost, muscles can be preserved, cholesterol levels can fall, with more control being had over diabetes and blood pressure.
As well as this, a few days into Ramadan, the body begins to adjust to its new eating and drinking pattern as higher levels of endorphins appear in the blood, making fasters more alert, happier, and giving an overall feeling of better mental health.
People fasting should avoid overly greasy and deep-fried foods, instead opting for baking, grilling, and shallow frying their two meals a day.
Overall, Dr Mahroof says in his guide that the way Muslims approach diet during fasting is similar to the way they should be eating outside of Ramadan anyway, adding: “You should have a balanced diet, with the right proportion of carbs, fat, and protein.”
Eat a variety of food, including lots of different coloured vegetables, fruits, pulses, and legumes.
Exercise regularly and choose the timing that suits your fitness goals
Fill up on fibre for good digestion.
Limit the intake of desserts and opt for fruits or healthy dessert choices
Ramadan Mubarak to all taking part this year.