Wishing a healthy Ramadan to you!

How does fasting affect the body?

During fasting hours when no food or drink is consumed, the body uses its stores of carbohydrate (stored in the liver and muscles known as glycogen) and fat to provide energy once all the calories from the foods consumed during the night have been used up. The body cannot store water and so the kidneys conserve as much water as possible by reducing the amount lost in urine. However, the body cannot avoid losing some water when you go to the toilet, through your skin and when you breathe and when you sweat if it is warm. 

For those who would normally consume caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee during the day, the lack of caffeine during the fast may initially lead to headaches and tiredness. This may ease over the course of Ramadan as the body adjusts to going without caffeine during the day.

Drinking plenty of fluids, as well as consuming fluid-rich foods, such as fruit, vegetables, soups and stews, is very important to replace fluids lost during the day and to start the next day of fasting well hydrated. Salt stimulates thirst and so it’s a good idea to avoid consuming a lot of salty foods. The pre-dawn meal, suhoor, provides fluids and energy for the day of fasting ahead, so making healthy choices can help you to cope better with the fast. Drink a lot of water early in the morning, it will help you get through the hot and humid summer day with ease.

While iftar meals are often a time for celebration, with families and friends coming together to break their fasts, it’s important not to go overboard when eating during Ramadan. Consuming a lot of deep fried, creamy and sweet foods may actually cause you to gain weight during Ramadan. Ramadan can be a good time to make changes to your body composition, so try and make the most out of it.

The changes to eating habits and lack of fluids during the day may cause constipation for some people. When you can eat and drink, consuming plenty of high fibre foods, such as wholegrains, high fibre cereals, bran, fruit and a big bowl of vegetables, dried fruit and nuts alongside plenty of fluids may help to ease constipation as well as doing some light physical activity, such as going for a walk after iftar.

Is fasting good for health?

Fasting has always been considered good for the body. It helps detoxify and declutter the system, and is often used as a fitness jumpstart. Ramadan, however, is a lot different with people going 14 to 18 hours without food or water for a whole month.

This routine is very similar to intermittent-fasting. You eat healthy meals to get your calories in during 8 hours of the day while you go without food for the rest of the day (16:8).

So if you follow a healthy lifestyle during the Holy month you can see some considerable progress towards your weight loss goals, here’s how-

Fat stores start burning

In the usual calorie-counting method, the focus is on burning calories consumed per day and per week to see results in losing weight. In intermittent fasting, the burning goes beyond just calories consumed. In a fast of at least eight hours a day, sugar and carbs consumed on that day gets burnt up completely, after which the body turns to its fat stores for energy. However, it is essential to remember that the meals that you do have should have a healthy mix of proteins, fats and limited carbs to ensure muscle-retention.

Boost in Human Growth Hormone

Why is this important? HGH helps you lose weight without losing muscle, and helps maintain longevity and regulate metabolism. High intensity interval training is another way to increase HGH in a normal exercise regimen.

Exercise During Ramadan

This is a question that comes to almost everyones mind during the Holy month. Should I exercise during fasting?

The answer to this would vary on person to person. However, generally it would be a good idea to continue exercising. If fasting every year is not too difficult for you then exercising right before the sunset would be ideal for burning fat. You can push yourself a little more knowing that you’re going to break your fast soon.

Best type of training suited for exercising before sunset and in fasted state is low to medium intensity cardiovascular training.

If you prefer to workout later in the evening after eating then you can continue with your regular training program. Just remember one thing that you don’t want to negate your workout by eating unhealthy.

In conclusion, intermittent fasting is amazing for the body if done right. As always, this is an informative guide only. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist before starting this if you’re not used to such kind of fasting. If you’re looking at weightloss, exercise right before iftar, on an empty stomach but with the prospect of fueling up later. Break your fast on healthy balanced meals, and work on detoxifying your body and mind. 


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