The practice of fasting has been done for centuries and so many do it for religious reasons. There are different types of fasts done by Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, etc.
Recently, Intermittent fasting is a diet that has become popular and there are different variations to it. Two popular ways of doing the intermittent fast are the 16/8 method and the 5:2 method.
When doing the 16/8 fast, there is a much longer period of fasting between meals than most of are accustomed to, which is 16 hours. This means that you can eat over 8 hours and this is usually done by skipping one meal. For instance, you can miss breakfast and have an early lunch at 12, mid afternoon snack at 3 pm and dinner before 8pm.
With the 5:2 fast, you can have your regular meals five days of the week and on two non-consecutive days you are restricting your calories intake to about 500 – 600 in the day.
There are many reported benefits of intermittent fasting, including weight loss. Research has shown that in observational study, for those fasting during Ramadan an improvement in the lipid profile and randomized clinical trials of a larger sample are needed
When fasting it is important that the meals eaten are healthy, this means having real whole foods instead of the processed foods which are high in fat, sugar or salt.
What to eat:
For Breakfast, you can have porridge, eggs with vegetables (sautéed mushrooms or spinach) or a smoothie.
For lunch, you can have a tuna or chicken salad and vegetarians can eat Mexican bean salad.
For Dinner, you can have grilled salmon and vegetables and vegetarians could have tofu or lentil curry with a side salad and some brown rice or quinoa.
To experience the benefits to health, fasting should be done for a longer period as many may not see results within a few weeks. Also, being active daily and exercise should be included.
With Ramadan commencing the first week of May this year, many people will be refraining from eating and drinking during the daylight hours, as well as abstaining from other things.
However, its not just about consumption, its also about spiritual rejuvenation. And, this is where it can get very interesting. More than likely you will know someone partaking in Ramadan, so why not join them? Even if you’re not going to give up on drinking water and maybe you’ll start eating straight after work at least you can encourage each other and provide that support and if you add some meditation/yoga into the cauldron then maybe you can also benefit spiritually as well as health wise. Things are always easier when done in groups.
This article was written by our expert contributors at Chelsea Pharmacy Medical Clinic, www.cpmedicalclinic.com