In addition to the spiritual cleansing of Ramadan, fasting during the Holy Month brings with it numerous physical health benefits.
Ramadan is the perfect time to ditch bad habits for good. You’re encouraged to avoid vices like smoking and junk food and that abstinence allows your body to gradually acclimatise.
After all it takes around 21 days to break a habit.
Add to that the support and sense of community. You are surrounded by others who are also breaking habits, which makes it easier to stick to your goals.
One of the main problems with fad dieting is that any weight lost is often quickly put back on, sometimes even with a little added extra just for good measure. But when it comes to Ramadan and fasting the reduction of food throughout the day causes your stomach to gradually shrink, meaning you’ll feel fuller sooner and for longer.
If you want to get into the habit of healthy eating then Ramadan is a great time to start.
Traditionally three dates are eaten to break the fast every day during for spiritual reasons but the delicious sweet fruit is also packed with added health benefits.
Dates are a great way of getting some much-needed fibre which helps to improve digestion, plus the added energy boost after a day of fasting. Then there’s the high level of potassium, magnesium and B vitamins, their antioxidant properties and low glycaemic impact making them safe and healthy for diabetics.
Weight loss is one potential physical outcomes of fasting during Ramadan, but even deeper than that there are a whole host of health changes going on behind the scenes. In fact, a team of cardiologists in the UAE found that people observing Ramadan enjoy a positive effect on their lipid profile – meaning a reduction of cholesterol in the blood.
Low cholesterol helps improve cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of heart disease.
If you maintain a healthy diet after Ramadan, your newly lowered cholesterol level should be easy to maintain.
As well as being great for spiritual cleansing, Ramadan is a perfect time to detox. By not eating or drinking throughout the day your body will be offered the rare chance to detoxify your digestive system throughout the month as long as you feed it well during non-fasting hours.
When your body starts using fat reserves to create energy, it will also burn harmful toxins that might be present in fat deposits. This natural body cleanse leaves you with a healthy blank slate to work from to maintain a consistently healthy lifestyle.
Fasting helps your metabolism becomes more efficient, meaning the amount of nutrients you absorb from food improves – which is why nutrient dense meals for Iftar and Suhoor are so important. Leading to numerous improvements throughout your body, as you are able to better absorb and make use of the nutrients they need to function.Written by Lauren Jacobsen, Nutrition Director