Noviplus | Healthy living made easy
23 Jun 2015
Ramadan Health Benefits
By Nour Fouad, Holistic Health Coach

The holy month of Ramadan is a period of fasting, connectedness, sacrifice, and self-control with the hope that these traits will extend far beyond the month and stay with us all throughout the year. Although the essence of fasting is spiritual, the holy month also offers an array of health benefits for both body and mind if done correctly. So what are these benefits?

 

Improves your blood fat level
Fasting lowers bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and Triglycerides in the body, whilst increasing good cholesterol levels (HDL), thereby protecting your heart from cardiovascular disease. Studies show that the overall saturated fat consumption, most commonly found in butter, lard, fatty meat and fast foods, is also reduced during the month of Ramadan. Some also consider the nightly prayers of ‘Tarawih’ to provide an adequate level of physical activity equivalent to low to moderate physical activity, which for some people may be more than their regular exercise regime.

 

Supports breakdown of fat and weight loss
Calorie consumption is overall decreased during the holy month of Ramadan (of course if you’re over-indulging on Arabic sweets that’s not going to happen!). However, if you maintain your usual eating habits, you are likely to eat less amounts of food and shed some extra weight too. This is especially true during Ramadan when your source of energy throughout the fasting day is derived from fats in the body. Staying lightly active during the day can promote even further fat breakdown.

Encourages healthy new habits
Aside from the above benefits, Ramadan is also the perfect opportunity to re-train yourself and get back on track with healthy eating. When you fast, you learn to control your cravings and as a result, by the end of Ramadan you have stronger willpower and will have regained the strength to say no to unhealthy foods. To ensure this willpower is born, during Ramadan, tend to go for healthier options such as dates, nuts, lentil soup, salads, and home-cooked meals to satisfy the stomach. Ramadan is all about disciplining ourselves to control food intake and not about over-indulging as soon as the opportunity arises.

Ramadan Fasting Tips

Tip 1 – Make it a habit to include soup and salad on your Iftar menu each evening. Soup can easily be prepared days ahead to ease the amount of work required.

Tip 2 – Break your fast with a cup of milk filled with dates. Soak the dates in milk and keep it in fridge, heating right before Iftar. You might like to add a little bit of coconut powder or raisins. Warm or room temperature beverages should always come first, as drinking a cold beverage to break your fast can damage your gut and slow down digestion.

Tip 3 – Make soup your second meal. Remember that your body has been in fasting mode all day and you need these fluids to warm yourself up too. By the last spoon of soup you will almost feel full, so save some space for a little bit of the main course too.

Tip 4 – Enjoy your food and experience the gratitude by eating slowly.  Overeating quickly will only harm your stomach and make you feel sluggish quickly so slow down and savor the moment.

Tip 5 – Don’t sit immediately after Iftar. Get moving by clearing up the dining table or washing the dishes. For those who lead generally active lifestyles, try workouting right before Iftar.

Wishing you a healthy and blessed Ramadan!

The objective of fasting is to encourage discipline, patience and moderation and it is important that your diet during Ramadan doesn’t differ much from your regular diet, meaning that you should aim to keep it as simple as possible. Fasting during the Holy month, if gone about the correct way, can be one of the most physically and spiritually cleansing experiences.

AUTHOR
Nour Fouad, Holistic Health Coach

Founder of Nutrition Scheme, Nour is a fitness lover and nutritionist who has an affinity for plants, whole foods, embracing the mind body connection, and all things which encompass healthy living. Check out her blog Nutrition Scheme for more details about her services.

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