The surprising health benefits of Ramadan


Ramadan is a particular month for the Muslim group. It’s a time for reflection, for spirituality, for meals and household. It’s additionally a time of self-restraint.

During Ramadan, a whole lot of 1000’s of Australians keep away from consuming and ingesting from daybreak till sundown. (Before you ask: Yes, you possibly can’t even drink water.)

What you won’t know is that Ramadan seems to be nice for health. Studies have proven individuals typically shed pounds and scale back their danger components for coronary heart illness throughout the Ramadan quick.

But it may be arduous to be disciplined amidst all of the scrumptious Ramadan meals, and exercising when you’re fasting will be tough. Here’s what it is advisable know to have a wholesome Ramadan this 12 months.

Start your day proper with protein and complicated carbs

For Susan Carland, a tutorial and media commentator, one of the toughest elements of Ramadan is getting up early within the morning for suhoor, the pre-dawn meal.

“At the moment, I set my alarm for 5:00am. I set about five alarms, because the thought of missing this meal is terrifying to me,” Dr Carland says.

A typical meal is 2 boiled eggs, a bit of toast, some fruit, tons of espresso and water. She’ll begin fasting about 5:45am and breaks it about 5:20pm, when the solar goes down in Melbourne.

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Toast and eggs are additionally a favorite of Lina Breik, an accredited practising dietitian from Melbourne.

With a glass of milk, it is a fast meal that is an incredible supply of calcium, protein and complicated carbohydrates, which launch vitality all through the day.

“Other simple things are a bowl of oats or porridge with some cut-up fruit in it. This sounds really familiar, because it is just generally healthy eating — the difference with Ramadan is just the timing,” she says.

It will be arduous to eat that early within the morning, particularly within the first few days, whereas your physique is adjusting to a brand new routine, but it surely does get simpler, Ms Breik says.

“I personally really struggle during the first week, but once I get into the rhythm of drinking water more regularly, having proper pre-dawn meals … having all those gatherings and sunset meals, it’s just really fun,” she says.

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How to remain hydrated throughout Ramadan

A typical criticism throughout Ramadan is complications. Coffee typically cops the blame, however Lina Breik thinks the true downside is dehydration.

As a rule of thumb, you must purpose to drink 35 millilitres of water per kilogram of physique weight every day, Ms Breik says. So, when you weigh 60 kilograms, you wish to be ingesting 2.1 litres, a bit greater than eight cups.

“After sunset, [you should] be having one or two cups every hour. That should take you from 5:00pm until bedtime, and you’ll be drinking about two litres of water per day,” she says.

“It’s something really important to keep on top of during Ramadan.”

Breaking your quick the wholesome method

At sundown, most individuals break their quick with dates and water. It’s a practice — the Prophet Muhammad is claimed to have damaged his quick that method earlier than studying prayers.

Sugary dates and water are an incredible “sunset snack”, Ms Breik says, that may enable you to keep away from overeating later within the night.

It’s additionally the right time to get in some train, she provides, which is essential to maintain up your muscle mass when you’re fasting.

Lina Breik (second from right) eating with friends during Ramadan.
Image Lina Breik (second from proper) consuming with pals throughout Ramadan.(Supplied: Lina Breik)

When it involves consuming your principal night meal, you must purpose to have half your plate with greens or salad, 1 / 4 with protein, and one other quarter with carbohydrates like rice, potatoes or pasta.

It’s additionally essential to tempo your self, she says.

“With Ramadan, when you break your fast, you just want to gorge on anything and everything,” she says.

“Break your fast with dates and water … then get up. Do your prayers, have a little bit of a walk, stretch yourself out, then come back to the dinner table.”

Why Ramadan could be good to your health

While fasting is hard, the excellent news is it seems to be good to your health.

For starters, there’s some proof that fasting can scale back the quantity of “bad” ldl cholesterol within the blood stream and improve the quantity of “good” ldl cholesterol, which may scale back the chance of coronary heart illness.

It can even result in individuals dropping pounds, says Amanda Salis, professor of weight problems analysis on the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.

“We know from research that Ramadan generally results in weight loss. That’s been shown in a lot of clinical trials: people often lose weight without any intervention,” she says.

A portrait of Amanda and Zubeyir Salis preparing to break their fast during Ramadan.
Image Amanda and Zubeyir Salis put together to interrupt their quick throughout Ramadan.(Supplied: Amanda Salis)

Recently, her colleagues on the University of Sydney checked out whether or not this weight reduction was because of diminished muscle mass or fats.

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It was one thing that Professor Salis: her husband is from Turkey and stops exercising throughout Ramadan.

Because we lose muscle mass once we cease exercising, she thought it might need one thing to do why individuals shed pounds whereas fasting.

Interestingly, the examine discovered the loss of lean tissue throughout Ramadan was no totally different to every other method.

“What was highlighted in this research was that, yes, people lose weight and fat and lean tissue during the Ramadan fast. [But] after the Ramadan fast, these things tend to return to normal in the ensuing six weeks or so. So, the weight loss is temporary,” she says.

“Looking forward, I think the next step is to find ways we could potentially prolong those benefits.”



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