By Dietitian Manoli Mehta
Founder of Tattvum – Discover Wellness
The month of Ramadan “Fasting Month” is once again upon us and millions of Muslims all over the world are fasting as a religious duty. It is a period of fasting, sacrifice, giving, patience and self-training with the hope that these qualities will extend beyond this month and stay throughout the year. However, today a lot of people are practicing fasting not only for faith and religious reasons but because there are a lot of health benefits attached to it.
When it comes to fasting, don’t be mistaken that fasting is starving yourself or that it will make you lose weight. In fact fasting during Ramadan is one of the examples how you do fasting correctly!
It is time we change the old mindset that fasting is a good way to lose weight but it is indeed an excellent way to learn self-discipline and bring new healthy changes in your lifestyle.
Ramadan is a perfect opportunity to re-train ourselves and get back on track of eating healthy and living in discipline.
Here are top 5 ways that Ramadan teaches us health and life lessons:
- Provides tranquility of the heart and mind:
There is an intense and important spiritual meaning to Ramadan for those who practice fasting. Generosity is practiced by being charitable, a sense of family bonding is taught by gathering together at the Iftar table. Praying throughout the day leads to peace of mind and heart. Finding peace with your inner self and connecting with God is an excellent way to de-stress.
- Helps you over-come addictions:
Addiction comes in all shapes and forms. Ramadan teaches you self-restraint for most of the day. This makes us ditch our addictions and realize that life can be pretty good without them too.
TIP– Try quitting one of your addiction this Ramadan. It could be smoking, drinking, lying, laziness or even gossiping. It will improve your quality of life.
- Spiritual Healing/Detoxifying:
Despite of other health benefits, I believe that the main benefit is Spiritual rejuvenation and healing during this month. Fasting is prevention from certain things which are normally permissible and essential in our daily lives. By fasting we avoid food and drinks for most of the day. This gives us strength and makes us value food and empathize with hunger stricken people.
Fasting is a great way to avoid junk and other addictions ultimately leading to detoxification of all the toxins from our body.
- Teaches you Self-discipline/Regulation:
It is important to understand that when you break your fast your body needs instant glucose so start with nuts and dates. Then carry on with lots of liquid and fruits. Try to eat more protein (fish, chicken, pulses, dals, dairy and dairy products) and in the end go for a small amount of treat/sweet.
Over-eating and bingeing on oily and fried food will hinder your cleansing process. Hence, try to self-regulate your body and mind to over-come these temptations. Remember, Ramadan is a blessed month and not your way out to lose weight!
Eating healthy and in a disciplined manner will make you healthy and fit eventually.
- Learning healthy habits:
If you are used to eating a lot of junk food and sugary items in your day-to-day life, Ramadan could be a good time to drop these habits. As the sun goes down, choose healthy and nutrient dense food items to feed your body instead of jumping onto junk.
Try incorporating whole grains like barley, brown rice, buckwheat and oats, high fiber food rather than sweets and starchy items. This will help you eat healthy options which are richer in nutrients obviously and lower in calories. The other benefit is that you will tend to feel less hungry through the day.
Do not restrict yourself but eat everything in moderation. This will teach you balance your eating and soon it will become a habit.
Stay fit, healthy and blessed this Ramadan!