Ramadan is the ninth month in the calendar, when Muslims concentrate on their duties to Allah (SWT) and their faith. During Ramadan, people fast only during daytime hours. As soon as the sun goes down, they’re allowed to eat and drink again. Besides the spiritual rewards, Ramadan also has some health benefits.
1. Weight loss
Dr Michael Mosley, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Fast Diet, stated that: “There is nothing else you can do to your body that is as powerful as fasting.”
Eating less meals, through intermittent fasting, has been found to help the body shed fat and studies have also found those observing Ramadan had lower levels of cholesterol; a leading cause of heart diseases.
Through fasting, the body's main energy source, glycogen, is turned off. Glycogen is usually created through the consumption of carbs and without it the body must turn to fat to burn energy instead. This can help aid weight loss, which leads to lower cholesterol and reduced blood pressure.
Mr. Zohair Al Arabi, a Clinical Dietitian at the Hamad Medical Corporation, stated that: “Since the body is unable to get its energy from food during fasting, it dips into glucose that is stored in the liver and muscles. This begins around eight hours after the last meal is consumed. When the stored glucose has been used up, the body then begins to burn fat as a source of energy, which can result in weight loss as well as in preserving muscles and reducing cholesterol levels.”
It is vital for us to avoid overindulging once the fast is over, and it is important to eat a good amount of food for suhoor and iftar as well as having plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the day.
2. Strengthening our immune system
Research has found that fasting for just three days can have a positive impact on the immune system. Researchers also discovered that fasting led to an influx of new white blood cells, which strengthens the immune system.
3. Helping us learn healthy habits
If you're used to eating lots of sugary foods in your day-to-day life, Ramadan could be a good time to stop bad habits.
As the sun goes down, you can choose to feed your body foods that are converted into glucose slowly (such as whole grains and other high-fiber foods) rather than going for sweets again.
You may also cut out unhealthy practices such as smoking to become a healthier person.
4. Spiritual and mental benefits
“Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest” (Quran: 13:28)
As well as the physical health benefits during Ramadan, there are spiritual and mental health benefits too.
Hearts and minds find peace through the recitation of the Quran, and its memorisation has the ability to improve overall memory.
Being mindful, focussing on doing good actions and worshipping is the perfect way to lead a healthier mindset. While Muslims abstain from food, Muslims have the opportunity to focus their intentions and actions on more spiritual goals and become closer to Allah (SWT).
Posted on 12-Apr-2019