Ayurveda Guide to Ramadan Fasting

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is considered the holiest month. Muslims practice fasting from dawn to dusk in the month of Ramadan as an act of worshipping the God which enables them to maintain self-discipline, sacrifice, and compassion for those less fortunate. Ayurveda is the holy science of medicine that can be traced back to the ancient Hindu Vedic era. However, separated by religious boundaries, fasting in Ramadan and Ayurveda both share similarities in their basic principles.

Ramadan is considered the holy month for detoxification and cleansing of the body. The main aim here is to healthily abstain from excess food, luxuries, and to practice mental discipline. Fasting is Ramadan and Ayurveda can be highly correlated with each other.

Fasting According to Ayurveda

Ayurveda considers indigested food and diminished digestive fire as one of the biggest cause for a majority of the diseases. The undigested food that accumulates in our gastrointestinal tract turns into a toxin termed as “Ama” and blocks the vital channels causing diseases. Thus, Ayurveda promotes healthy and regular fasting for the expulsion of such toxin from our body.

Our digestive system is working 24×7 to digest the food that we consume every day. Fasting in Ramadan allows our digestive system to reset and work on itself for detoxification. Ayurveda has also considered the spring season during the Ramadan month as the best time for detoxification of the body and fasting because spring is the season of Kapha accumulation.

Moreover, the concept of Suhoor in Ramadan can be correlated with the concept of Braham Muhoortham of the Ayurvedic daily regimen. It is a period one and a half hours before sunrise. Ayurveda considers it as the best time to wake up as Sattva qualities are dominant in nature in this period. People can eat light and healthy foods in Suhoor as it is necessary to keep the energy levels balanced.

Ayurveda Tips to Stay Healthy During Ramadan

Some of the health tips to stay healthy during Ramadan fasting are provided below as per Ayurveda point of view.

  • Take enough sleep: Sleep early in the night, as you have to wake up early in the morning. Lack of sleep can cause vitiate Vata dosha and make you feel uneasy throughout the day.
  • Regular Exercise: People must do regular and light exercises during Ramadan fasting. Physical activities help our body to expel the toxins out. However, vigorous and heavy exercises should be avoided during fasting.
  • Practice Yoga & Mindfulness: Yoga can help you to concentrate on your body and meditation can help you to detoxify your body in the mental and spiritual aspect as well. You can practice meditation by remembering God during the morning prayer.
  • Maintain Muscle Mass: Fasting during Ramadan can decrease your muslce mass, take proteinous foods during Suhur & Iftar. Consume at least 1.5 g of protein per kg of body weight to maintain your muscle mass. You can take dietary supplements to maintain this amount.

Some of the high protein foods are Eggs, Oatmeal, Chicken, Fish, and Nuts such as Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, Cashews, Peanuts etc.

However, Meat and Eggs should be eaten in a moderate amount as they are heavy hard to digest.

  • Stay Hydrated: Fasting in Ramadan is dry fasting. It can lead to reduced water levels in the body & cause severe dehydration. Take watery fruits and juices during Suhur & Iftar.

You can also take Fresh Fruit Juices, Coconut Water, Smoothies, etc. in Suhur. Coconut water is considered the best thirst satiating fluid. Also, avoid salty and sugary food items as they can drain water out of your circulatory system and make you feel dehydrated. You can also consume lemon water, oral rehydration salts to stay hydrated.

  • Read Books: Reading spiritual and religious scriptures can help you to achieve social as well as mental well being. Brahmoohrt (Morning time) after Suhoor is the best time to gain knowledge and read sacred scriptures.

What to Eat in Suhur (Before Sunrise)?

  • Eat light, healthy, and easy-to-digest food in Suhur and Iftar. Eating heavy and unhealthy foods can diminish the benefits of fasting during Ramadan.
  • One can eat Warm Sweet Porridges, Warm Fluids, Dates, etc. in the Suhoor meal. Meat should be avoided if possible.
  • Green gram is considered the best if you are fasting as it is light and easy to digest. You can soak the green grams in the night and boil them in the morning. Drinking green gram boiled water will also allow you to stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • You can add some of the herbal spices to your Suhoor diet such as black pepper powder, cumin seeds, etc.
  • Avoid Tea, Coffee, and other addictive beverages as they may cause Vata imbalance resulting in gaseous problems in your empty stomach during fasting.

What to Eat in Iftar (After Sunset)?

  • One must break their fast after the sunset with light and easy to digest food. Breaking the fast with heavy foods can cause gastric issues.
  • You can consume Dates, Coconut, Soups, Dry Fruits, and Smoothies to break your fast.
  • Cold, heavy, and oily foods should be highly avoided in Iftar after dusk. Kapha dosha is dominating during the Iftar and eating Kapha aggravating foods can diminish your digestive fire.
  • One must consume Healthy Vegetables, Porridges, Milk, Fruits, Brown Rice, Nutritious food during the Iftar.

Thus, one can achieve a higher spiritual, mental, as well as physical well being by practising the healthy way of fasting during the Ramadan month. One must also take care of the dietary as well as a daily regimen during the fasting for its optimum benefits.

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