FASTING is complete abstinence from food and drink between dawn and dusk. All those who are ill or frail, pregnant or menstruating women, breastfeeding mothers and travellers are exempted. They are required to make up the number of days missed at a later date or give a fixed sum to charity.
What we eat and drink directly affects our health. Fasting during Ramadan can be good for your health if it’s done correctly. When the body is starved of food, it starts to burn fat so that it can make energy. This can lead to weight loss. However, if you fast for too long your body will eventually start breaking down muscle protein for energy, which is unhealthy.
Those observing the fast should have at least two meals a day, the pre-dawn meal (Suhoor) and a meal at dusk (Iftar). Meals should be simple and not differ too much from a normal diet. It is important that meals contain items from all the major food groups including:
- fruit and vegetables
- bread, other cereals and potatoes
- meat, fish and alternatives
- milk and dairy foods
- foods containing fat and sugar
Breaking a fast with a feast is not recommended and can cause weight gain, regardless of how long a fast has lasted during Ramadan.