Fasting is an ancient practice that has been used for centuries for spiritual and health reasons. During Ramadan, Muslims around the world fast from dawn till dusk for a month. This includes fasting from food and fluids. The purpose of this fast is not only to exercise self-control but also to enhance health and well-being.
It’s common knowledge by now that fasting has several benefits for the body and mind. Moreover, cooking healthy and tasty meals during this beloved time of the year is important for those who fast to maintain their health and spiritual well-being. Let’s delve into the common benefits, followed by tips on best nutrition practices and cooking tasty meals during Ramadan.
Fasting has numerous benefits for the body and mind. It helps to regulate blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, and boost metabolism. Research shows that fasting can also improve brain function, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and enhance longevity. Fasting can also help to detoxify the body and improve the immune system. Moreover, it can reduce oxidative stress and improve heart health. Overall, fasting can be an effective way to improve health and well-being.
Apart from the traditional fasting practice observed by Muslims, intermittent fasting, which involves limiting food intake for a certain period, has become increasingly popular in recent years. It can take many forms, such as the 16/8 method, which involves fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window.
Some studies suggest that intermittent fasting may have health benefits such as improving blood sugar control, reducing inflammation, and promoting weight loss. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before trying intermittent fasting, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Fasting can have a significant impact on nutrition for the better, but it can be easy to forget about topping up on healthy ingredients. During Ramadan, Muslims eat two meals a day: Suhoor and Iftar. It is important to ensure that these meals are balanced and nutritious to maintain optimal health during the fast. Suhoor should include complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to provide sustained energy throughout the day. Iftar should include a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.
Let’s not forget that fluids play a crucial role in regulating normal organ function and retaining good fitness levels in general. In light of this, it’s important to hydrate during the non-fasting hours to prevent dehydration and maintain optimal health.
When it comes to cooking a great meal for breaking your fast or before starting your fast, it’s a good idea to stay aware of healthy practices. Use fresh herbs and spices to add flavor to dishes while adding nutrition as well, and use healthy fats, such as olive oil or avocado oil, to cook food. Grilling, baking, and roasting are simple healthy cooking methods that preserve the nutrients in food. Using whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa, can also add nutrition to meals.
Iftar is an important meal during Ramadan, and it is important to create a balanced and nutritious meal while keeping things interesting in the kitchen! Some creative meal ideas include vegetable stir-fry with brown rice, grilled chicken with roasted vegetables, and lentil soup with whole-grain bread. It is important to include a variety of foods in the meal to ensure that all essential nutrients are consumed.
Check out this savoury Moroccan Salafe with Chickpea recipe featuring sweet potatoes and kale!
Lean protein is an essential part of a healthy diet, especially during Ramadan. It helps to build and repair muscles, boost metabolism, and regulate blood sugar levels. Incorporating lean protein sources such as chicken breast, fish, tofu, or legumes in Iftar meals can help to keep you full and energized. Try adding grilled chicken or roasted salmon to a salad or make a lentil stew with veggies for a hearty and healthy meal.
Try your hand at this easy-to-cook and deliciously authentic Moroccan Chicken Tajine traditional recipe with yellow onions, garlic, honey, olives, and cilantro among other yummy ingredients!
Incorporating seasonal produce into your meals not only supports local farmers but also ensures that you are getting fresh and nutrient-dense ingredients. During Ramadan, there are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from such as dates, figs, apricots, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, and zucchini. Adding these colourful and flavorful ingredients to dishes can help to boost their nutritional value.
Staying hydrated is crucial during Ramadan, especially since fasting can lead to dehydration. Drinking plenty of water and herbal tea can help to prevent dehydration and maintain optimal health. Avoid sugary drinks and sodas as they can cause dehydration and negatively impact your health. Instead, opt for water infused with fresh fruits or herbal tea such as mint or chamomile to stay hydrated and refreshed.
We hope that these friendly reminders and tips for staying safe and healthy through nutritious meals during Ramadan will make your month exciting and productive! Stay tuned for more fun facts, interesting methods, and wholesome recipes in Freshable’s upcoming Fresh Scoop entries!
8 Health Benefits of Fasting, Backed by Science. (n.d.). 8 Health Benefits of Fasting, Backed by Science. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fasting-benefits
Aly, S. M. (n.d.). Role of Intermittent Fasting on Improving Health and Reducing Diseases. PubMed Central (PMC). https://doi.org/10.12816/0023985