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Intermittent Fasting: How To Maintain Good Health

Staying away from food and drinks for 12-16 hours may seem to be tiring or dangerous to some, especially those with health conditions.

The 10th of July 2013, marks the start of the 9th month of the Islamic calendar or better known as Ramadan. Muslims around the world will be fasting for more than 12 hours daily and no calories or liquid are to be consumed.  Similar to intermittent fasting, there is a certain period of fasting, and a certain period of non-fasting for calorie consumption.

If you are planning on beginning a phase of fasting, check out our tips to maintain good health during the intermittent fasting period:

1) Prepare Well-Balanced Meals

Before you begin your fast, consume foods that are slow-digesting (high in protein and fat), instead of simple carbohydrates. For example, scrambled eggs with fruits, peanut butter on celery sticks or even grilled chicken strips with salad. Avoid sugared/caffeinated drinks, noodles or rice as these simple carbs will cause your insulin levels to spike, and you will start craving for more food in no time.

When you break your fast, go easy. Take a few sips of water first and a couple of dates then proceed with your meal. Your meal should consist of proteins (meat, eggs), fats (nuts, avocados) and fibre(fruits and vegetables). Avoid fried food and loading up on your rice or noodles. Sweet potatoes, quinoa and oats are better for satiety and its fibrous content.

Your meal size should be as normal and not an increment from any regular day. Avoid spicy and fried food as they may cause heart-burn or indigestion. Also avoid candies, sweets, cakes and chocolate.

2) Get Proper Rest and Sleep

 

If you can take a quick 15-20mins nap during the afternoon, that’ll allow your body to refresh itself for the remainder of the evening. Try to get at least 6 hours of quality sleep at night. Turn off all mobile devices and avoid “white light” when you sleep. Organize your daily schedule so that you ensure you get enough rest.

3) Stay in A Cool & Clean Environment

Be in normal room temperature with good ventilation or shaded areas instead of the outdoors or air-conditioned places. It can cause dehydration and cause loss of focus. Avoid smoky/dusty areas as they may be an irritant to your nose and throat. Ensure that you wash your hands and brush/floss your teeth regularly. This prevents potential bacteria or viruses from spreading.

4) Keep Hydration Optimum

During the non-fasting phase, consume at least 8 glasses of water to replenish fluids in your body. Your organs and muscles need water to function properly. Have a 1.5L bottle filled up, and ensure you consume the water before you go to bed at night.

5) Do Light Exercise

As you do not consume fuel (calories) during the fasting period, our bodies become weak and lethargic. After your meal, rest for 30mins, allow the food to digest, and then commence your physical activity. Choose low-impact activities such as walking, Yoga or Pilates. For more experienced exercisers, you can incorporate strength training if you see fit.

Fasting is an enjoyable journey that will reap many benefits physically, mentally and also improve your eating habits and lifestyle. Most importantly is that you fast with clarity in mind. Have a good support group and what’s even better? Get your friends and family join you to reap in on the benefits as well!

 

Sources:

http://www.rmit.com/students/health/ramadan

http://islam.about.com/od/ramadan/a/ramadan_tips.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

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