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39
Are you fasting
this Ramadan?
Tere is a big health side to
fasting that we ofen forget during
Ramadan
.
Besides religious
reasons, fasting can be done to
boost immunity, help digestion,
and add years to life
.
Fasting has many defnitions all
over the world, but it is most ofen
done for religious or therapeutic
purposes
.
In this part of the world,
fasting is done mostly for religious
reasons, and it includes abstaining
from all food and drink from
sunrise to sunset
.
If you are not one for fasting, then
you may be missing out on many of
its benefts
.
Fasting is one of the best
detoxifcation methods
.
It is a
quick way to increase elimination
of wastes and enhance the healing
processes of the body
.
It also
helps boost the immune system
by lowering the blood sugar levels,
particularly during the frst few
hours, which increases the ability
of white blood cells to destroy
harmful microbes
.
And best of
all, it helps the removal of food
allergens from the intestines
.
If you fast, it will help your body
to heal faster and give the organs
a much
-
needed rest
.
It allows
damaged intestines to heal, which
helps with infammatory conditions
such as arthritis, as well as allergies
and intolerances
.
It also helps by
cleansing the liver, kidneys and
blood stream, which makes the
body better at fushing built
-
up
toxins out of the colon
.
Fasting also increases longevity
by increasing the rate of
detoxifcation
.
Fasting, and food
reduction in general, also release
enzymes that help protect all body
cells, thus increasing longevity and
reducing the chances of disease
.
If done correctly, fasting should
give you an increased sense of
well
-
being, renewed energy, clearer
thought, and a sense of purity
!
Since fasting is a very strong
method of detoxifcation, it is
important your body be prepared
for eliminating the toxins
.
By Alia Almoayed
Nutritional Therapist,
Author, Health Speaker
During fasting, the body releases
toxins from fat stores into the
bloodstream for elimination; but
if the body doesn’t have enough
antioxidants and enzymes to help
fush out the toxins, then the toxins
become more dangerous because
they circulate in the bloodstream
and can afect diferent organs and
cause many symptoms such as
headaches and skin rashes
.
Tat’s why it’s so important that
your diet is full of nutritious foods
such as fruits, vegetables and their
juices
.
Also important for the
detoxifcation process are green
leafy salads, fbre from wholegrains,
and water
.
Ideally, this diet
should be started a few days before
Ramadan and then carried out
during the rest of the month, afer
Ifar
(
breaking the fast
).
Resting is also crucial while fasting,
as the body’s energy can be directed
toward healing instead of other
body functions
.
It is a good idea
to conserve energy while fasting
to allow maximal healing
.
Short
walks or light stretching are useful,
but heavy workouts tax the system
and inhibit repair and elimination
.
Exercise should be taken in the
evening, a few hours afer eating
.
Your lifestyle during Ramadan
should also aid the body in its
elimination processes
.
In addition
to taking frequent naps and light
exercise, it is important to steer
away from environmental toxins
such as smoking and pollution
.
Tese may burden the body further
and slow down the body’s many
eforts of detoxifcation
.
What helps detoxifcation
during fasting days?
• Herbal or fruit teas
(
unsweetened
)
– e
.
g
.
Echinacea,
Dandelion, Chamomile,
Peppermint
• Fibre from salads, fruits,
vegetables, wholegrains such as
brown rice, and legumes such as
lentils and beans
.
• Pure unprocessed olive oil
• Sugar
-
free fresh fruit and
vegetable juices
• A quality multi
-
vitamin
/
mineral
to provide general support
• Vitamin C
(
500
-
1000mg
/
day
)
After a whole day of fasting,
it is important to have a
small meal, eat slowly and to
choose your foods carefully.
Here are some pointers for a
healthy iftar:
• When it is time to break your
fast, start by drinking a glass of
pure room
-
temperature water
.
Tis aids in fushing out any
toxins that have accumulated
during the day
.
• Dates give a quick sugar rush
to the body, which creates an
energy boost and then a slump
soon aferwards
.
To combat
that, combine dates with raw
nuts
(
like almonds or walnuts
)
,
which contain some protein and
can slow the release of sugar into
the blood
.
• Introduce solid foods gradually
by limiting your portions
.
Eat
foods at room temperature and
resist the temptation to overeat
.
Eat slowly and chew thoroughly
.
• Always add protein with your
carbohydrate
-
rich meal in order
to avoid that energy slump afer
eating
.
For example, if you eat
rice, combine it with chicken or
lentils for a balanced meal
.
• Drink water or sugar
-
free, fresh
juices
-
which are diluted with
50% water
-
to minimise the
efects of concentrated sugar
entering the body
.
And try to
drink either before or afer the
meal, not during
.
• And don’t forget to go easy on
the sweets
.
Try to minimise or
avoid the fatty, sugary desserts
and learn to enjoy the natural
sweetness of fruits
!
Enjoy the holliest and
healthiest of months in the
year!
And don’t forget to sign up on my
website for the latest
.
www
.
AliaAlmoayed
.
com
Tere are also lots of mistakes that people make when they fast
.
Make sure
to steer away from those
!
Mistake 1 - overeating at Iftar, when breaking the fast.
Tis ofen
comes as a natural reaction to food deprivation
.
And you ofen hear people
saying, “I tend to gain weight during Ramadan although I’m fasting all day”
.
What ofen happens when we fast is that our metabolism slows down in an
efort to conserve energy, which is our body’s natural survival mechanism
.
Our body doesn’t know that we are going to eat in a few hours, so it
prepares for the worst
:
starvation
.
As a result, any food that enters the body
afer breaking the fast is treated diferently from other days during the year
.
Food becomes more likely to be stored as fat for possible energy needs in
the future, which may result in weight gain
.
Mistake 2 - eating rich, fatty, sugary foods.
Tis, unfortunately,
is a cultural habit that has shifed the focus of the month from ‘fasting’
to ‘eating’
.
For example, desserts play a very big role at Ifar, and they
are ofen very rich in sugar and saturated fats
.
Te combination of rich
carbohydrate meals, fatty
/
sugary desserts, and the lack of fbre from salads
and vegetables ofen adds to weight and fat stores and defes the whole
purpose of detoxifcation
.
Also, because fasting can lead to low blood sugar, we ofen experience the
symptoms of blood sugar imbalance, which include sweet cravings
.
Tat
further contributes to weight gain as we give in to those cravings
.
Tat’s
why balancing blood sugar is very important; it requires eating small,
frequent meals afer Ifar, avoiding sugary and refned foods, reducing
stimulants
(
tea
/
cofee
)
, and adding protein to every meal and snack
.
H