Top 4 incredible health benefits of fasting in Ramadan

Racha Adib
For those of you who can fast, read on to learn about some of the incredible health benefits of fasting on our overall well-being.

For those of you who can fast, read on to learn about some of the incredible health benefits of fasting on our overall well-being.

By: Racha Adib

The month of Ramadan is a period of fasting, sacrifice, giving, piousness and self-training with the hope that these qualities will extend beyond this month and stay with us throughout the year. Indeed, the essence of fasting in Ramadan is spiritual. Nevertheless, this holy month also offers a number of benefits for both the mind and body.

In a narration of Abu Nuaim, Prophet Mohammad said, “soomo wa tsahhoo”, which can be translated to mean, “Fast and be healthy.” Even science has proven that Ramadan is a month full of blessings. The International Congress on “Health and Ramadan” which was held in Casablanca in 1994, covered 50 studies on the medical ethics of Ramadan and noted various improvements in the health conditions of those who fast.

If any negative effects were seen at all, it was in those who over-indulge in food at iftar or do not sleep well at night. You should also keep in mind that if fasting will be dangerous to your health, such as in Type 1 Diabetics, you are not recommended to fast as your medical condition may worsen.

For those of you who can fast, read on to learn about some of the incredible health benefits of fasting on our overall well-being.

Provides tranquility of the heart and mind

There is intense spiritual meaning to Ramadan for those who fast. Muslims practice generosity by being charitable, family-bonding by gathering around the iftar table, spirituality by praying, and self-control by practicing good manners.

All these habits build a feeling of peace, tranquility and self-satisfaction.

Improves your blood fat levels

A study conducted in 1997 in the Annals of Nutrition Metabolism demonstrated that fasting lowered bad “LDL” cholesterol levels by 8 percent, triglyceride by 30 percent, and increased good “HDL” levels by 14.3 percent thereby protecting your heart from cardiovascular disease.

This can be explained by our eating and exercise habits. In Ramadan, people tend to go for healthier options such as dates, nuts, lentil soup, and home cooked meals. Studies have noted that overall saturated fat consumption, usually found in butter, lard, fatty meat, and fast food, is reduced in Ramadan. In addition, the night prayers of “tawarih” may provide an adequate level of physical activity equivalent to moderate physical activity which, for some, may be more than they usually exercise.

May help you overcome addictions

Addictions can come in all shapes and forms and Ramadan provides an excellent opportunity to ditch them. Because Ramadan teaches you self-restraint for most of the day, you will come to realize that forgoing your addiction all together may not be has hard as you think!

Choose one addiction to drop this Ramadan. It could be an addiction to smoking, lying, chocolate, or even gossiping and say your good-byes.

Promotes fat breakdown and weight loss

Calorie consumption is overall decreased in Ramadan. Of course if you’re binge-eating on Arabic sweets that’s not going to happen. However, if you maintain your usual eating habits, you are very likely to eat less amounts of food and lose weight. This is especially true in Ramadan, when your source of Energy during your fast is mainly fat. Trying to stay lightly active during the day can promote even more fat break-down.

Ramadan may be the perfect opportunity to re-train yourself and get back on track of eating healthy. When you fast, you learn to control your cravings. As a result, by the end of Ramadan you’ll have stronger will-power and you will have re-gained the strength to say no to tempting food.

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Racha Adib is a Beirut-based licensed dietitian who offers nutrition and wellness counseling to individuals and corporations. She graduated from the American University of Beirut with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics followed by a certificate in Essentials of Business. She is a member of the Lebanese Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and the Lebanese League for Women in Business. She has also been frequently featured in media on MTV’s “The Doctors,” LBC’s “Mission Fashion,” and Orbit’s “Ayoun Beirut” among others, and hosts a weekly radio program on the latest nutrition news and science breakthroughs. She can be found on Twitter: @rachaadib

 
 
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