Fasting Can Be Beneficial
Fasting kicks our system into a healing phase, said Ussma Ghani, a registered dietitian and holistic nutritionist at Nutriacs.
Since the day we were born, our tract has been constantly working for us, she said. So when we give it a break, were allowing for the body to stop, clear out some dead cells and have some time to do some housekeeping or house cleaning.
Other benefits of fasting can include better blood sugar control, decrease in stress and inflammatory processes in your body, and improving heart health and brain function, said Sumiya Khan, a registered dietitian and co-founder of Sanctuary Kitchen.
But if youre going most of the day without eating, what you do put in your body is going to have a larger effect on how you feel throughout the day.
The whole point of Ramadan and fasting is to practice mindfulness, discipline and control, Khan said. So practicing moderation, focusing on the company and why we are fasting, as well as being very mindful of what youre eating while youre eating thats really part of the whole package.
Getting through a month of fasting is hard, but there are things you can do to make it easier, and more meaningful, for yourself or your Muslim friends.
Understanding Your Nutritional Needs
During Ramadan, to meet the amount of energy and nutrients your body needs during the day, you should eat foods rich in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, and you should make sure to drink enough water.
At the same time, this does not mean that you should eat everything you need at once during suhoor. If you do that, your body cannot utilize the energy intake all at once, which may result in weight gain. This is because your metabolism adapts to eating patterns during Ramadan.
Adults need to drink 3 to 4 liters of water a day. Even though you get 40 percent of this amount from foods, fruit juice, mineral water, tea, and other beverages, you should still drink 1.5 and 2.5 liters of water a day. This means you should drink two or three glasses of water every hour from iftar to suhoor.
Tip No : Work From Home If Possible
Remote work has made fasting so much easier for me. After sehri and the morning prayer, fajr, I can go back to bed for about an hour before I take my daughter to school. Lying down so soon after eating isnt the healthiest thing to do. But Im not especially interested in washing the dishes or starting a load of laundry when I can instead conserve my strength. Do what you can handle.
My job, thankfully, doesnt require physical labor or standing on my feet all day. I can move from bedroom to office space in my pajamas and get done what I need to on my laptop.
The privacy and comfort of home also allows me to take quick breaks to get in the daily prayers Muslims are supposed to say at noon and in the late afternoon.
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What To Eat And What To Avoid
One of the most common mistakes is to eat snacks after iftar in order to suppress your appetite and then go to sleep, skipping suhoor and staying hungry until the next iftar. You should always eat during suhoor, preferably right before fasting starts. Eating before bedtime or avoiding eating during suhoor may cause serious low blood sugar problems and dehydration the next day. As a result, you could feel dizzy and distracted during the day.
So, what should you eat during suhoor to feel more energetic throughout the day? A light, healthy and filling breakfast is a great option. Before sunrise, you can eat dairy products and fresh vegetables such as cheeses, eggs, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Additionally, you can always enjoy a soup, vegetables cooked in olive oil and fruits.
This combination meets your bodys daily energy, vitamin and protein needs. In addition to fruit, you should eat whole wheat bread and pasta, couscous or bulgur wheat rich in carbs and fibers, which are good for your digestive system.
Dried fruits like dates, walnuts and almonds are also great food supplements. They can make you feel full for long hours throughout the day. Its not just the variety of food you eat, but also the portions that play a decisive role in your nutrition. You should choose smaller portions and eat wisely.
Ramadan 2022 Timetable For The Uk
Here are the key timings day-by-day for Fajr and Maghrib when the fast begins and ends in London for the Muslim holy month.
The start and end dates are contingent on the moon sighting which signifies when Ramadan begins, which was this year expected to be Monday 12 April, while the timings apply to London:
- Sat 2 April: 4.59am, 7.38pm
- Sun 3 April: 4.57am, 7.40pm
- Mon 4 April: 4.55am, 7.42pm
- Tue 5 April: 4.52am, 7.44pm
- Wed 6 April: 4.50am, 7.45pm
- Thu 7 April: 4.48am, 7.47pm
- Fri 8 April: 4.46am, 7.49pm
- Sat 9 April: 4.43am, 7.50pm
- Sun 10 April: 4.41am, 7.52pm
- Mon 11 April: 4.39am, 7.54pm
- Tue 12 April: 4.37am, 7.55pm
- Wed 13 April: 4.35am, 7.57pm
- Thu 14 April: 4.32am, 7.59pm
- Fri 15 April: 4.30am, 8.00pm
- Sat 16 April: 4.28am, 8.02pm
- Sun 17 April: 4.26am, 8.04pm
- Mon 18 April: 4.23am, 8.05pm
- Tue 19 April: 4.21am, 8.07pm
- Wed 20 April: 4.19am, 8.09pm
- Thu 21 April: 4.16am, 8.10pm
- Fri 22 April: 4.14am, 8.12pm
- Sat 23 April: 4.11am, 8.14pm
- Sun 24 April: 4.08am, 8.15pm
- Mon 25 April: 4.06am, 8.17pm
- Tue 26 April: 4.04am, 8.19pm
- Wed 27 April: 4.01am, 8.20pm
- Thu 28 April: 4.00am, 8.22pm
- Fri 29 April: 3.58am, 8.24pm
- Sat 30 April: 3.55am, 8.25pm
- Sun 1 May: 3.52am, 8.27pm
Fortunately, the charity Muslim Hands offers this following helpful guide to adjust the fasting timetable to apply to where you are:
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Can You Drink Water During Ramadan
No, for all practising Muslims, Ramadan is a month of dry fasting between the hours of sunrise to sunset, and this varies between countries.
This means that Muslims are to refrain from drinking water or any other liquid, and eating food.
It is recommended that anyone fasting consumes enough water at night, before the sun re-rises.
If you consume anything during daylight hours, the fast becomes void and would not count.
Ghazala Yousuf is a lead Dietitian at Harley Dietitians. On hydration, she recommends pacing yourself with drinks and food, but cut out the caffeine if you can, because it can be dehydrating.
Going for fruits such as watermelons, and soup can help with drink intake during the night, and pacing yourself is vital.
In other forms of hydration, she said: Coconut water is also quite re-hydrating, so when youre thinking about what type of juice to have, ask, is it something that hydrates you?
Places With The Shortest Fasting Hours
The following are places with the shortest fasting hours:
- Brasilia, Brazil 12 to 13 hours
- Harare, Zimbabwe 12 to 13 hours
- Johannesburg, South Africa 11 to 12 hours
- Buenos Aires, Argentina 11 to 12 hours
- Cape Town, South Africa 11 to 12 hours
- Christchurch, New Zealand 11 to 12 hours
- Ciudad del Este, Paraguay 11 to 12 hours
- Montevideo, Uruguay 11 to 12 hours
The average fasting hours in the above cities are just shy of 11 to 12 hours.
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Okay But Why Is There Always Confusion Every Year About Exactly What Day Ramadan Starts On
There’s a reason “Ramadan start date” is one of the most-searched phrases every single year. That’s because Muslims around the world do not know when exactly Ramadan is actually supposed to start. If you Google it, you’ll see there’s a little disclaimer under Google’s answer that says “Dates may vary”:
That also has to do with the moon as well as disagreements about science, history, and tradition, plus a bit of geopolitical rivalry.
The beginning of each new month in the Islamic calendar starts on the new moon. Which means the month of Ramadan starts on the new moon. Simple enough, right?
If it’s been a while since your high school astronomy class, here’s a reminder of what the phases of the moon look like:
Back in Mohammed’s day, in sixth-century Arabia, astronomical calculations weren’t as precise as they are today, so people went by what they could see with the naked eye.
Since the new moon isn’t actually super visible in the night sky , Muslims traditionally waited to start fasting until the small sliver of crescent moon became visible. There’s even a saying attributed to the Prophet Mohammed about waiting to start the fast until you see the crescent.
Today, however, we have precise scientific calculations that tell us exactly when the new moon begins, and we don’t need to wait until someone spots a tiny crescent in the sky.
Significance Of Ramadan In Islamic History
Prior to becoming a messenger of God, Muhammad used to withdraw to the Hira mountain top cave. He would meditate in solitude, away from the polytheistic culture of tribal Mecca for the whole month of Ramadan. We are not sure if this retreat involved fasting at the time.
In 610, when he was 40, he again went to the same mountain top to meditate. Several weeks into the retreat, he experienced an angelic form appearing before him, commanding him to read. He replied he did not know how to read. The angelic form squeezed him tight and repeated the command to read. This continued three times, after which the first five verses of the holy Quran was revealed:
Read in the name of your Lord who created humans from a piece of flesh. Read, for your Lord is Most Generous. Who taught humans with the pen. Who taught humans what they do not know.
Muhammad still was not able to read in a conventional way, but he understood that he was being asked to read the book of the universe and learn from it, and also understand that it points to its creator.
This incident marked the beginning of Islam, revelation of the Quran and the prophetic mission of Prophet Muhammad.
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Fasting And Fellowship During Ramadan
Abdi Iftin | March 29, 2022
An Iftar meal, which is the meal to break the fast of Muslims during Ramadan.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is also the holiest month. This year Ramadan begins on Saturday, April 2, for most of the world.
This year will be my twelfth Ramadan since I shared meal with my closest family members in Somalia. I started fasting when I was 11 years old. Kids of that age are not required to fast, since Ramadan is only mandatory for adults who are in good health. Kids may start fasting once they reach 15. But to me, it was always more than a religious duty. Fasting during Ramadan was building resilience and strength. It reinforced my relationship with God and family. Ramadan had always been the epitome of family values.
I recall some years I spent in a refugee camp in Kenya after I fled Somalia. There were some bitter Ramadan months as I fasted as an adult alone, without my family. The fasting days were long and uneventful. I could tolerate the hunger and thirst I had trained for that. But I was not trained for living far away from my closest family members. It was hard to adjust to Ramadan without my family. I missed the days when we shared food, told stories and went to the mosque together. They made the days during fasting short and always eventful.
Abdi Iftin is the Communications Specialist, Welcoming Communities at CWS.
Heres How 15 Hardcore Athletes Train During Ramadan
Competitive athletes from around the world tell us how they stay in fighting shape while fasting for Ramadan.
Ramadan takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar the month when God, according to Islamic belief, revealed the Qur’an and when Muslims observe the practice of fasting. To fast, they abstain from food, drink, smoking, and intimate relations from sunrise until sundown this summer that time span can last over 18 hours. At sunset, family and friends gather to break their fasts, replenishing their spiritual selves.
There are exceptions for those who are sick, elderly, pregnant, nursing, or traveling. But for many amateur and professional athletes, who can’t take time off from training or competition for the full 30 days, participating in the ritual can prove tricky.
So how do those in the world of sports stay observant? This isn’t a new question, but there’s still a lot of misinformation out there on the subject. BuzzFeed News interviewed 15 Muslim athletes to learn why they fast, how their bodies handle thirst and exhaustion and how they navigate the intensity of this important month.
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What Is Ramadan Actually About
Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year for Muslims the Prophet Mohammed reportedly said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained.”
Muslims believe it was during this month that God revealed the first verses of the Quran, Islam’s sacred text, to Mohammed, on a night known as “The Night of Power” .
During the entire month of Ramadan, Muslims fast every day from dawn to sunset. It is meant to be a time of spiritual discipline of deep contemplation of one’s relationship with God, extra prayer, increased charity and generosity, and intense study of the Quran.
But if that makes it sound super serious and boring, it’s really not. It’s a time of celebration and joy, to be spent with loved ones. At the end of Ramadan theres a big three-day celebration called Eid al-Fitr,or the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.
It’s kind of like the Muslim version of Christmas, in the sense that it’s a religious holiday where everyone comes together for big meals with family and friends, exchanges presents, and generally has a lovely time.
Spiritual Significance And Benefits Of Ramadan Fasting
What may seem to some to be a self-inflicted ordeal has profound meaning for human beings and God, and their reciprocal relationship. God exhibits the perfection of lordship, grace and mercy by making the surface of this Earth a table of blessing, and placing all kinds of sustenance on that table for every creature to enjoy.
In Ramadan, believers show a collective act of worship in the presence of the mighty and universal Mercy as they wait for the divine invitation to the table of blessings at the time of breaking the fast. As the Earth revolves around its axis, the jubilant timeframe is repeated in a continuous manner for the whole month.
Many people forget the fact God is the source of all sustenance. While they readily thank agents of delivery, they forget to remember and thank God as the one who ultimately meets all their needs. God expects the price of thanksgiving for the sustenance he has provided.
True thanksgiving is to know that all sustenance comes directly from God, to acknowledge its value and to feel our own need and dependence on that sustenance.
A fasting person physically feels the value of, and their need for, basic sustenance when they experience the pangs of hunger and thirst. Since a believer fasts for the sake of God, they acknowledge the sustenance, which may be taken for granted, actually comes from God. Therefore, fasting in the Islamic tradition is the best way to show a true and sincere thanksgiving.
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General Advice For All Fasting Patients
A preRamadan medical assessment and education to all Muslim patients, who are willing to fast, would be helpful to achieve safe fasting. Avoiding dehydration during fasting should be emphasized, especially when Ramadan occurs in hot seasons, by drinking ample amount of fluids between iftar and suhoor. It is also highly recommended to maintain a well-balanced, healthy diet that is rich in fibers and low in salt and glycemic index. People who would like to exercise are encouraged to do so after iftar time. Although some fasting Muslims lose weight, regaining weight is commonly seen few weeks after Ramadan. Therefore, individuals should be encouraged to have structured and consistent lifestyle modifications in order to avoid rapid weight gain after Ramadan.
Dates And Dry Fruits:
Breaking your fast with dates is actually in the Quran. It is called Sunnah in Islam. This is a practice Prophet Muhammad performed.
They are also considered gifts for a healthy heart and life as eating dates lowersblood pressure levels. They also reduce your risks for heart diseases. Dates can help normalize your low sugar levels during fasting.
Whether or not you are fasting, add dates to your food plate.
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Treatments And Procedures That Invalidate Or Do Not Invalidate Fasting
Both Muslim and nonMuslim PCPs may encounter fasting Muslim patients who refuse, or do not adhere, to take a specific prescribed medication or have a specific procedure during Ramadan, thinking that it would invalidate their fast. For example, a cross-sectional survey among Muslims in Mumbai, India, showed that most of the respondents in the study believe that using eye drops during fasting hours of Ramadan would break the fast and about a third of them would not use drops for a painful eye condition during the fasting period, although eye drops do not invalidate fasting as long as the patient does not feel the taste as will be mentioned later on. This indicates that Ramadan could be an important cause for noncompliance with prescribed medications. Therefore, it is important for PCPs to know the main medication types, conditions, and procedures that may or may not invalidate fasting in order to have an informed discussion with their Muslim patients.