dry fasting during ramadan is an effective way to detoxify your body and equip yourself to perform at your peak for rest of the year
Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan?
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan fasting is a period of 30 days where you abstain from both food and water from sunrise to sunset. The holy month of Ramadan stresses on fasting, sacrifice, giving and piousness. Many people believe that the essence of fasting in Ramadan is just spiritual. But, in reality, this holy month also offers many benefits for both the mind and body. In this article, we are going to focus on benefits of fasting on health.
What are the health benefits of fasting?
- Reduced blood sugar
- Decreased inflammation
- Lower Insulin and Improved Insulin Sensitivity
- Improved Fat Loss
- Improved Mental Clarity
- Anti-Tumor properties
Is Ramadan (dry) fasting better than Intermittent fasting?
From a physiological standpoint, 1 Day of Dry Fasting is equal to 3 days of Water Fasting. You can burn fat 3 times faster and see results that are 3-5 times more powerful.
Dry fasting during Ramadan is an effective way for the body to Detox and revitalize itself.
During the first couple of days of fasting both the blood sugar and the blood pressure drops. Body starts the detoxification process.
It is common to experience headaches, dizziness, and intense hunger. Body experiences stress as the body adapts to the new environment of no water or food. But, our body is capable of adapting to any stress given to it. Once the body gets accustomed to fasting schedule, the magic starts.
Digestion of food consumes 60% of the body’s total energy expenditure. In the absence of food, the digestive system is able to rest. All the energy freed up from digestion is used to heal the body. White blood cells in the body become very active. Every cell and organ in the body starts to repair itself. After about of a week of fasting, you will start feeling more energetic. Colon, kidney liver, lungs, skins detox by eliminating toxins from the body. People experience improved memory and concentration. Once all toxins are removed, the body is able to function at its maximum capacity.
There is no research done on Ramadan (Dry) fasting in a contained environment. However, in general, people experience faster autophagy and weight loss.
While the health benefits are more pronounced for dry fasting, it can be dangerous. This is mainly due to the risk of complete body dehydration.
Whereas, Intermittent fasting, is safe for the most part. There is a world record for going 382 days without food. This person was able to lose a ton of weight by consuming only a daily multivitamin capsule and water.
How is the body able to sustain without water during Ramadan?
Most of the fat stored in the body is saturated fat. Saturated fat is mostly hydrogen (saturated with hydrogen). When you don’t eat for several hours, fat cells in the body are broken down. Hydrogen is released from the metabolism of fat cells. This hydrogen then combines with oxygen from the air to create water.
Water created inside the body is the purest form of water. This water is even purer than the distilled or mineral water that we drink. It is estimated that our body can produce a liter of water daily.
These exogenous water sources have some additives. The body has to go through detoxification process before it can use that water.
Since the body is able to produce water even if you are not drinking it, you will still feel the need to urinate. This is how we are able to survive several hours of the dry fast.
Difference between Dry and Soft Dry fast?
Dry fasting is three times more effective for autophagy and cleansing. Russian Doctor – Dr. Filonov researched on the science behind dry fasting. He supervised many dry fast – longest of which lasted for 18 days. That’s right – 18 days without food or water. It seems the human body is able to survive for days at a stretch without getting completely dehydrated.
Soft dry fast is where you are allowed to take shower, wash your face and brush your teeth. A hard dry fast is when you avoid all interaction with water. The body has the ability to absorb water even through the skin.
Ramadan dry fast is a soft dry fast as people get in contact with water when doing Wazu. A hard dry fast eliminates toxins faster than soft dry fast. It doesn’t mean Ramadan Dry Fast is ineffective. 30 days of dry fasting during Ramadan is not only enough to detoxify your body but also to rejuvenate it.
How does the body detoxify itself during fasting?
During dry fasting, the body has to use cells within your body to create energy – food as well as water. It first targets cells that are not efficient (bad cells) and metabolize (kills) them for energy.
After few hours of dry fasting, the body gets dehydrated while the cells in our body are still hydrated. This creates a vacuum. The pressure within the cells becomes greater than the pressure outside of the cells. This imbalance in pressure causes the cells to leak their internal fluids outside. The toxins then get flushed out. These toxins would normally remain trapped inside the cells.
This is how bad cells are eliminated and other cells get detoxified.
How to prepare for 30 days dry fast during Ramadan?
At least 2-3 days before Ramadan, ensure that you eat a lot of whole foods – green vegetables and fruits in particular. On the day before fasting, ensure that you have enough fiber in your diet. Have your dinner early and do not eat anything till Suhoor. This will ensure that you have clear bowels on the day of the fast, which help your digestive system to relax.
How to break-fast during Ramadan at Iftar?
To understand this, we need to understand how our body responds to various foods. Our body is very sensitive to salt (sodium) especially when you don’t eat for hours at a stretch.
When you dry fast, your body gets depleted of sodium along with water. If you consume a lot of sodium (through fried and processed foods) with water, your body will have a hard time to adjust to the sudden increase in sodium. You will feel bloated and your pulse rate will increase.
After a dry fast don’t overload yourself with water either. At the time of breaking fast, have a glass of water sprinkled with Himalayan Pink salt. Drink it slowly. After an hour, have another glass of water. If you overload on water, it will be hard on the nervous system. It will also destabilize the electrolyte balance in your body. This then results in bloating and water retention.
Only use Pink Himalayan Salt to cook food. In order retain benefits of fasting, you would need to eat bland food. Eg. grilled chicken cooked with some seasoning and veggies. After few hours, you can start eating carbs and fats (once body is able to balance the electrolytes).
Pro tip – Use coconut water or lemon water to break your fast. Coconut water is rich in essential potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium which helps natural replenishment of lost electrolytes in the body. Adding a pinch of lemon in water makes your body more alkaline and results in better absorption of nutrients.
Foods to Eat during Ramadan
Water Melon and Dates are an excellent way to break the fast during Ramadan.
Watermelon is 92% water. It is a refreshing fruit soaked with significant levels of vitamins – A, B6, C, and antioxidants. It is also a good source of potassium.
Dates are a good source of a wide range of vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in potassium and fiber.
These fruits help to replenish the nutrients and electrolytes after a day of fast.
Foods to get Macronutrients and Micronutrients
Fruits – Banana, apple, citrus fruits like oranges and berries.
Vegetables – Broccoli, Lettuce, spinach and asparagus.
Complex Carbs – Oats, brown rice, and whole wheat.
Protein sources: Chicken, fish, eggs, chickpea, beans, and lentils.
Foods to avoid during Ramadan
Don’t’ overindulge in food, once you break your fast. Avoid processed and fried food. Avoid caffeine. Caffeine Dehydrates your body and can make you feel thirsty during fasting. It also interferes with your sleep cycle. You need to at least sleep 6 hours. Sleep early so that you get enough time between prayers (namaz) and last meal (Sehri. Not getting enough sleep will slow you down during the day. It may also undo many of the health benefits of fasting.
Avoid sugar as sugar will just reverse all the good things that happened to your body when you were fasting.
Who shouldn’t do it?
People suffering from Diabetes Type 1 shouldn’t attempt to do dry fast or any kind of fast.
Type 1 diabetes is a condition when pancreas stop to produce insulin. Insulin in the body drops significantly while fasting. Without insulin, there is a danger that blood glucose levels may run too high (known as hyperglycemia). The symptoms of high blood glucose levels might include:
- feeling very thirsty
- passing a lot of urine and/or
- extreme tiredness
Patients with kidney or renal disease should avoid dry fast. During Ramadan, they should first review their condition with a health practitioner.
Elderly should also check with a health practitioner before starting with Ramadan fasting.
Bottom line: Ramadan (dry) fasting for 30 days has numerous health benefits. However, special care should be taken to the quality of food eaten during eating window. Without proper nutrition, the body will freak out during the fasted window and it will be very difficult to continue fasting using an engine that is not fueled properly.