With the advent of Ramadan this month, a sizeable chunk of people would be observing the practice of fasting. Done correctly, it can be a good way to cleanse your system and get fit. Find out how to stay healthy this Ramadan.

What happens to your body while fasting?

When starved of food, the body switches to fat as a source of energy, instead of glucose. This can aid in weight loss. However, if continued for too long your body will eventually start breaking down muscle protein and cause muscle wasting.

These changes depend on the length of a fast. With a traditional fast, your body seldom goes into the muscle-burning phase, as it is broken daily and sandwiched by pre-dawn and post-Sunset meals.

Thus, when done right, fasting can result in detoxification, weight loss, and cholesterol control.

What is a healthy meal plan during fasting?

  • Ensure a balanced, yet simple, diet containing all major food groups.
  • Food rich in fibre (whole wheat, bran, cereal, fruits and vegetables) can help you feel full for longer and aids in proper bowel health.
  • Complex carbohydrates such as those found in beans, peas, vegetables and fruits, provide slow and sustained release of energy.
  • Meals should contain adequate supply of carbohydrates to prevent muscle wasting.
  • Good quantities of protein, as found in soy, other pulses, milk, egg, fish, etc. will also help keep hunger at bay, protect muscle mass and provide nourishment to hair and skin.
  • Drink plenty of fluids both before and after a fast. The latter will help both in rehydration as well as in preventing over-indulgence.
  • Traditionally fasts are broken with dates. This gives a burst of energy, an effect which could be replicated with unprocessed fruit juices and other dry fruits.
  • These practices can help you stay energetic through the length of the month.

 

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