This week over one billion Muslims around the world will begin to fast for the month of Ramadan.
Going without food and water from dawn to sunset (18 hours in the UK this year) for a month brings several physiological changes to the body.
Fasting brings 13 benefits to the body
A May 2015 study by King Saud University in Saudi Arabia found the following 13 benefits to the body during fasting
1. Increases Red Blood Cells (RBCs), which increase energy levels
2. Increases White Blood Cells (WBCs), which prevent illness
3. Increases platelet count, which promotes repair
4. Increases HDL "good" cholesterol in the blood
5. Decreases LDL "bad" cholesterol in the blood
6. Decreases triglyceride fats in the blood
7. Reduces body weight, on average 2kg during the month
8. Reduces waist circumference
9. Reduces body mass index (BMI)
10. Reduces blood glucose levels
11. Reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure
12. Reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6 which reduces inflammation, body tissue destruction and risk of fever
13. Reduces tumour necrosis factor (TNF) α, which is the cause of many serious diseases in the body
What to eat at the end of a fast
The food and drink consumed by a fasting person at the end of a long fast determines how much benefit the body obtains from fasting.
The liver and digestive system has been resting all day during a fast. Overloading with food and drink high in processed sugar, fat and spices can upset the body and cause indigestion, heart burn and sluggishness.
Nutrition experts recommend a balance of high GI and low GI foods at the end of a fast, with more low Gi foods.
High GI foods (sugar, pastries, biscuits etc.) spike blood glucose levels quicker than low GI foods (vegetables, wholegrain, wholemeal). High GI foods cause what is commonly known as a "sugar rush."
Raw honey water is an ideal way to replenish a fasting body for the following three reasons:
1. Raw honey water contains natural sugars which do not cause a sugar rush
Raw honey has a lower GI than commercial supermarket honey because it contains natural sugars.
The natural sugar in raw honey water provides energy to a fasting body but without the side effect associated with processed sugars as found in sweets, artificial fruit drinks and pastries.
A diet low in GI promotes fat burning in the body.
2. Raw honey water floods the empty body with vitamins, minerals, living nutrients, enzymes and probiotic "good" bacteria.
These living nutrients enter the digestive system and help to detox it of undigested food matter.
3. Raw honey water floods the stomach with a sticky substance that aids in digestion
Flooding the body with raw honey water before eating a meal at the end of a long fast primes the body and helps it to digest the food that is about to enter it.
How to make raw honey water?
Simply take a teaspoon of raw honey and mix it into a glass of cold or warm water for a refreshing, natural drink.
This is due to their high digestive enzyme content, mild sweetness and pleasant flavour in a drink.