Ramadan is the Holy month for Muslims that requires fasting from dawn until dusk. While fasting during Ramadan is an important religious practice, it can also impact one's health and well-being. From staying hydrated to avoiding certain foods, there are a variety of tips and tricks to help ensure a healthy and successful fast. In this article, we will explore Ramadan fasting tips from a health expert at RAKxa, a leading wellness retreat in Thailand. These tips are designed to help individuals stay nourished and energised throughout the month of Ramadan while also promoting physical and mental wellness.
Fasting Tips and Benefits for Ramadan
What are some of the known benefits of fasting for the body?
There are a number of potential benefits to fasting during the month of Ramadan, both for the body and the mind, which may include:
- Improved insulin sensitivity: Fasting has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Weight loss: Fasting can also help with weight loss and weight management, as it can reduce overall calorie intake.
- Cellular repair: During fasting, the body goes into a process called autophagy, a natural cellular repair process that helps rid the body of damaged cells and regenerate healthier cells.
- Reduced inflammation: Fasting can also help to reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to many chronic diseases.
- Improved brain function: Fasting has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory, and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.
- Increased longevity: Fasting has been shown to increase lifespan, especially when combined with a healthier diet and lifestyle.
What are the foods to avoid whilst fasting (especially when breaking the fast)?
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn until sunset. When breaking their fast, it is important to eat nutritious food that provides energy and refuels the body without disrupting the fasting process. Here are some foods to avoid while fasting:
- High-sugar or processed foods: These can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, leading to crashes later on.
- Fried and oily foods: These can cause indigestion and bloating.
- Spicy and heavily seasoned foods: These can cause heartburn and discomfort during digestion.
- Caffeinated beverages: These can lead to dehydration and disrupt sleep patterns.
- Dairy products, including milk, cheese, and butter: These can lead to an imbalance of gut bacteria, which can negatively impact your digestive and immune systems.
Instead, it's best to break the fast with nutrient-dense and easily digestible foods such as high- and lean-protein foods, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Staying hydrated is also important by drinking plenty of water and electrolyte-rich fluids.
What are the foods we need to eat while fasting?
It is important to note that fasting should always be done under the guidance of a professional health advisor, nutritionist, or physician, particularly for those with underlying health conditions.
- Fruits and vegetables: These are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre and can help keep you feeling full and satisfied.
- Whole grains: These are a good source of complex carbohydrates, which can help provide sustained energy throughout the day.
- Lean protein: This can help keep you feeling full and help prevent muscle loss during prolonged periods of fasting.
- Healthy fats: Including healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, and avocados, can help keep you feeling full and provide essential nutrients.
Avoiding highly processed or sugary foods might be helpful, as they can cause energy crashes and may leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied.
What can we do to avoid feeling weak while fasting?
Avoiding dehydration while fasting is essential to maintaining good health. Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated:
- Stay hydrated: Make sure you drink enough water after breaking your fast and before starting your next fast. Water is essential for keeping your body hydrated and feeling energetic.
- Eat a balanced diet: Make sure your meals include complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. These foods can help you feel full and energetic throughout the day.
- Avoid sugary foods: Sugary foods can lead to energy crashes, making you feel even weaker. Try to avoid them during Ramadan.
- Exercise: During Ramadan, a low-impact exercise can help you keep up your energy and improve your overall health.
- Consult a health and wellness expert: If you have any medical conditions or concerns about fasting, it's important to talk to your healthcare professional before starting. They can help you find ways to fast safely while minimising your risk of feeling weak or unwell.
How much physical activity can we do while fasting?
As fasting can be physically challenging, engaging in low- to moderate-intensity exercises is important to ensure the body remains active and healthy.
RAKxa Wellness can provide personalised wellness programming with low-intensity activities and exercises that are suitable for those who are fasting, including:
- Yoga: Our expert instructors bring you yoga classes, from gentle flow to restorative practices, designed to promote relaxation, flexibility, and strength and reduce stress, which can be beneficial for overall well-being.
- Pilates: Pilates is another low-impact exercise focusing on core strength, stability, and flexibility. It can help improve endurance and reduce stress.
- Tai Chi: This gentle, low-impact martial art is a great way to improve balance, agility, and overall well-being.
- Aquatic Exercise: Our pool is the perfect place to engage in low-impact aquatic exercise routines that are gentle on your joints.
- Stretching: Regular stretching can help improve flexibility and reduce stiffness. Our wellness coaches can work with you to develop a stretching routine that is safe and beneficial while fasting.
However, it should be noted that consulting with a health and wellness advisor before starting any new exercise routine is crucial, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions.
Embrace the Spirit of Ramadan with Emirates