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Fasting boosts weight loss and health in studies: Fasting in Ramadan tips

With the escalating rate of obesity, more scientists are focusing on what really works for weight loss. The latest studies are indicating that intermittent fasting can help with shedding pounds as well as health. But it's important to be careful when choosing from the different options for fasting, reported the Huffington Post on July 9.

 Indonesian Muslims queue for breaking the fast during Ramadan celebrations in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images

In one study, for example, obese women using intermittent fasting with a restricted calorie diet reduced their risk of heart disease and burned more fat And in a second study, researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) discovered three-day fasts can transform your immune system.

However, the frequency of fasting can determine the benefits. An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition report revealed that women who used the alternate-day fasting approach reduced their glucose tolerance. That outcome has the potential to impact your metabolism.

So how can you try intermittent fasting safely? If you've got the money, you can join celebrities for a week of fasting at a luxury spa. That's what Liv Tyler recommends, reported ABC News on July 9.

"I do really hot baths with different salts and oils a few times a week and exfoliate," Liv revealed. "I also believe in going to We Care [spa], doing a week of fasting, colonics, and sleeping a lot."

However, Liv emphasizes that beauty is more than your external appearance. "I believe that beauty comes from the inside out," she said. "There’s no cream that can fix you if you’re not beautiful on the inside."

For those fasting in Ramadan, it's important to be careful about hydration and breaking the fast. Plan ahead, said celebrity dietitian Ghida Arnaout in a July 8 interview with the National. "Even though fasting in Ramadan is a challenge, if done the right way it can be healthy," she emphasized.

The dietitian recommends being diligent about consuming enough fluids to avoid dehydration. "It is essential to drink enough fluids and water during the night hours to make up for the water and electrolyte loss in your body. Also, if you suffer from any kind of disease, it is very important to consult your doctor first before attempting to fast," she said.

As for that first meal after fasting? Ghida recommends sipping water or eating yogurt with two dates. Take a short break, then eat a healthy meal that includes lean protein and healthy fats. For example, you could eat grilled chicken and almonds, as well as green vegetables.

In addition, carefully prepare the pre-dawn meal called suhoor. That meal is complemented by iftar, which is the evening meal eaten during Ramadan. Suhoor is significant because it is viewed in Islamic tradition as a blessing that offers a way to minimize any problems resulting from the fast.

"The suhoor meal should never be missed. It is your fuel for the next day and if you miss it, you will risk losing muscle weight and feeling fatigued," said Ghida. She recommends complex carbohydrates and protein and the avoidance of salty foods and caffeine.

For iftar, Ghida likes a healthy version of a Lebanese dish called fatteh. She recommends toasting rather than frying the bread. The dish also includes yogurt, chickpeas and nuts.

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