[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]During Ramadan, the holy month, healthy adult Muslims practice daily fasting from sunrise until sunset. Traditionally, the pre-dawn meal is called sehri/suhoor and the fast is broken at sunset with a meal called iftaar. Recently there has been evidence suggesting fasting can have positive effects on your health. By doing it correctly, it may help you lose weight and subsequently improves blood pressure and cholesterol. On the contrary, over-indulging at iftaar and sehri can cause weight gain. It is important to remember that the holy month is a time to practice self-control, self-discipline, sacrifice and empathy for those less fortunate. Therefore, try to maintain these practices even outside of fasting hours.
Many people view Ramadan as a month to prepare the best meals, since not eating all day should be rewarded with exceptional evening meals. Whether it is Ramadan or not, your food concerns should remain the same. We fast for the sake of Allah (SWT), so instead of rewarding yourself with excess hours in the kitchen, aim to focus on enhancing yourself spiritually, and keeping food consumption the same as any day throughout the year.
Here is a timeless hadith from our Prophet (PBUH) regarding healthy eating:
“A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one third of food, one third for drink, and one third for air.”
Portion control was suggested more than 1400 years ago by our beloved Prophet (PBUH), long before the weight loss craze began. Follow this golden advice and choose to not eat mindlessly and fill your stomach until it is full, which could lead to weight gain, laziness and lethargy. For those who have had issues with binge eating, fasting can help you increase your self-control and overcome your food addictions. Since you will be forced to eat only when it is allowed, your body will be accustomed to this new change after a few days, and hopefully help you adopt a healthier eating pattern in future.
Another misconception is that fasting is starvation. Some people are under the impression that fasting starves the body and hence you go into “starvation mode”. This is untrue. Fasting is simply not eating or drinking for a certain period, not continuously for days on end with no basic nutrition. So, remember starvation literally means starvation. It doesn’t mean skipping a meal or not eating for 24 hours.
Have you noticed that your body feels more rested in Ramadan? This is because fasting is a natural detox. Not eating anything for just a day has shown to help the body clean up the toxins and regulate the functioning of other organs including the liver and kidneys. It can regulate your digestion and promote healthy bowel function and in turn improve your metabolic function. Even though fasting has numerous benefits, it cannot be a permanent weight loss solution. Instead, why not use it to jump start your weight loss journey?
Stay tuned for another post on what are the best foods to include at sehri and iftaar. [/vc_column][/vc_row]