Health & Fitness
Ramadhan Health Benefits
Friday, May 24, 2019 13:48
By NASIBO KABALE
The Islamic month of Ramadhan is two weeks in. As Muslims around the world abstain from food or drink between dawn and sunset, they get to understand hunger just like the poor, so that they can be able to give more and help the needy.
It is also a time of self-reflection, reconnecting with their spiritual side and strengthening their connection with God by doing extra prayers and extra charity.
Besides the spiritual gains, others say they get to kick bad habits and lose weight during the fasting period.
Jamia Mosque Imam, Sheikh Muhammad Swalihu says that many can lose weight during the first few days of Ramadhan.
Some lose about three kilogrammes in the one-month fasting period.
“People tend to lose weight during the first three days or so but afterwards their bodies adjust. Allah would never prescribe something that would harm His people so it is not some form of punishment,” he says.
Sheikh Swalihu says that experts have also found that restricting food intake can act as a detoxifier.
“By not eating during Ramadhan, our bodies concentrate on removing toxins, as we give the digestive system a rest,” he adds.
With about six hours a day when you can eat and drink, mostly overnight, some tend to overeat. Sheikh Swalihu advises that you avoid the temptation of overeating because it may undo all the benefits of fasting.
“Overeating or eating fatty foods throughout is not good for the body. Strike a balance,” he says.
Ramlah Abdulrahman is one of the people who loses weight during Ramadhan. “I make a good meal plan so that I eat clean and lose weight. It is easy to find bhajia, samosa, mahamri and all kinds of deep-fried foods on the break-the-fast table but I avoid them,” she says.
While the spiritual and health benefits of fasting are immense, Sheikh Swalihu, says there are people who are prohibited from fasting like the sick, pregnant women, nursing mothers, women on their menses.
“Like a said, Ramadhan is not meant to harm but bring people closer to God. So there are a group of people who should not fast because their bodies cannot handle it,” says Sheikh Swalihu.
Those who suffer from diabetes should seek medical advice beforehand, says Dr Eric Njenga.
“While fasting, the body should use fat reserves and not scavenge the tissues for energy which can be detrimental,” he adds.
People with Type1 diabetes, pregnant women with diabetes, a diabetic with damaged blood vessels and the elderly who suffer from diabetes should not fast.
“Fasting to lose weight should also be done under well supervised programme and blood sugar levels and blood pressure checked every often,” he adds.
Dr Njenga advises against diet plans that make someone lose weight very fast.
Apart from weight loss and rewards from God, the Ramadhan fast has other benefits.
For Mursal Mohammed, it is a time to ditch bad habits like smoking cigarettes or chewing miraa.
“Because you will be fasting during the day, Ramadhan is the perfect time to ditch bad habits for good. Vices such as smoking and eating sugary foods are forbidden during Ramadhan. And as one abstains, the body gradually acclimatises to their absence, until you kick the addiction for good,” he says.
He adds that it is also much easier to quit habits when you do so in a group, which should be easy to find during Ramadhan.