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Hijabi Sisters, Vitamin D deficiency and weight loss.

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Ahamed Sharif wrote:
Assalamu alaykum

Doctor sahib; how do Hijabi sisters who rarely come out of their house lose fat. This is a serious issue, also they have Vitamin-D and calcium deficiency issues.


Wa Alaikum Assalam w.w.

Good questions Bhai Ahmed Sharif sahab..

let us begin with the Topic of Hijab and Vitamin D deficiency..
Hijab now the cause for vitamin D deficiency?

By Faraz Omar

If “oppression” didn’t work, it’s a “health hazard.” Yes, the old talk about how Hijab can cause vitamin D deficiency in women has resurfaced. As science gets political, “facts” are derived from preformed conclusions. The “truth” that researchers arrive at nowadays depends on who is funding the research.

So time and again Muslim women in the West have been told that their wearing of Hijab is causing vitamin D deficiency, as “proven” by research, which was no more than a study revealing such a deficiency in Asian or Arab women.

Studies however have also shown something else: 54% of black and 42% of white childbearing women in the Northern US were found with insufficient vitamin D levels.

Unless it is believed that such a large percentage of North Americans are good Hijabis who cover themselves up completely, the accusation falls flat.

Dr. Abdul Majid Katme of the Islamic Medical Association in Britain said,

“This is a common fallacy among the people of the West. It is a medical fact that diet is the main cause of vitamin D deficiency among some Asians, and not lack of exposure to the sun.

We Muslims who live in the East and Asia are exposed to the sun all the time and our houses, yards and private gardens are full of sunshine.”
(Q-News, 1995)

Vitamin D is important and Allah has so perfectly made our body that it produces the vitamin automatically when exposed to sufficient sunlight. Normally one would receive enough exposure even while staying at home by just standing by the window or in the balcony – with or without Hijab. In fact, Hijab has nothing to do with it because exposure to sun doesn’t mean every part of the body must be exposed.

Mona Salama, an Egyptian nutritionist and pediatrician, was asked in an online Q&A session on Islamonline.net (2007) on the issue of Hijab and sunlight. She replied:

“Alhamdulliah (that we are) Muslimat (Muslim women) and that we wear Hijab. Besides protecting us from bad looks and immodest people, Hijab also protects our skin from the damages of ultraviolet rays.

Overexposure to sunlight causes more than 90 percent of all premature aging (sagging, bagging, wrinkling, scaly skin) and 90 percent of all skin cancers.

“Ultraviolet rays cause skin damage and weaken the skin structure by diminishing production of elastin and collagen, the two important substances that keep skin firm, youthful and wrinkle-free.

“There are three main types of UV rays (UVA, UVB and UVC). The truth is we need the sun’s UVB rays as it triggers our supply of vitamin D which in turn regulates Calcium. This gives us stronger bones and disease protection.

But it only takes 10 minutes of sun exposure to manufacture a month’s worth of vitamin D, and the Hijab can by no means block this benefit. It’s easy to get the necessary amount simply by taking a short walk at lunchtime with your Hijab or simply stand in the balcony, also with your Hijab, for 10 minutes.”

For Muslims, the natural scientific benefits that come with following our Creator’s laws is not the reason for following Islam. We follow Allah’s laws in full obedience and submission to our Creator – out of our will and love. Allah praised the believers who say: “We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your Forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all).” (Qur’an, 2:285)

He also instructs us: “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error.” (Qur’an, 33:36)

Whether we come to know of the benefit of a particular injunction or not, we submit to the divine laws because of our firm belief in the truthfulness of Qur’an as the Word of God and Islam as the Religion of God. This belief is not blind, but based on solid evidences and indisputable facts that are more than sufficient for mankind to believe in His message.



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Following a medical study in which a number of doctors took part, Dr. Muhammad al-Shaakir (consultant in bone disease at the specialist King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh) rejected what has been said about women’s Islamic clothing playing a part in vitamin D deficiency and said: This theory has no connection to truth.

Specialists think that one of the means of protection against bone disease is exposure to the sun so as to enable the skin to produce vitamin D. The Muslim woman’s hijab does not prevent her being exposed to the rays of the sun, because minimal daily exposure is enough to produce sufficient amounts of this vitamin.

End quote from the [saudi] Ministry of Health website.



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And how to counter Vitamin D deficiency..



1. Drink Vitamin D fortified drinks like Milk, Orange Juice and some of the Vitamin Waters that have vitamin D in them naturally or added as a supplement.

2. Eat dairy products like cheese, butter and yogurt and fortified cereals that have vitamin D in them. Also eat canned mushrooms and egg yolks. “Fatty” fish like salmon also help with vitamin D. And if you can’t stand the taste of fish, hold your nose and gulp down some good old fashioned fish oil.

3. If you still won’t eat all of the D that you need in your food choices, take a multi-vitamin that has at least 600 units of Vitamin D in it or a Vitamin D tablet. But don’t overdo it! Remember, Muslims are supposed to be moderate in all things.

4. The easiest and best way to get the vitamin D that you need is the SUN! Big, bright thing... comes up every day? Sisters, there are ways to get a little tanning without compromising modesty.

A safe amount of sun exposure is just 10-15 minutes which will get your body to produce Vitamin D naturally without being a hazard to your skin health. Sensible sun exposure means the exposure of arms and legs for 5-30 minutes (depending on time of day, season, latitude, and skin pigmentation) between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm twice a week.

There are some simple methods for getting the sun you need. Do you have a private porch or deck, someplace where you won’t be observed? In the Middle East and Africa, many homes have a private courtyard where the ladies can be unobserved while they are uncovered, but in the US and Europe it is more difficult.

If you have a backyard where you can set up some screens or panels that allow the sun to shine on you but keep prying eyes out, do it! Sit and relax for a couple of minutes reciting dua’s or just taking a break. Don’t stay out for very long and if you want to break it up into several 5-10 minute “mini-tans”, use a timer to keep track.

If finding a suitable spot is really out of the question or the weather in your area is unfavorable for outdoor sunning for extended periods of time, invest in a small sunlamp and use it a couple of times a week. Read the warnings about using it though because a sun lamp can also cause sun burns.

Still having trouble getting enough sun in your life? Light colored fabric can allow a lot of sun to permeate the cloth and allow your skin to absorb some of the sun’s rays. Don’t stay out too long because you can still get a burn and you don’t want your shape to be observed through the transparent material.

To sum it all up, Vitamin D is important for Muslim Women. You don’t have to give up or compromise Hijab to get what you need (either in vitamins or in life.) Writers like to take items out of context and use it to show how wrong Islam is in THEIR opinion.

And Muslim women need to ignore the hype and find the truth just like we do with Islam.

Some of the Material I found:

The first online article that I want you to access is titled “Vitamin D and your health: Breaking
old rules, raising new hopes.”

This was published by the Harvard Medical School and does a great job explaining what Vitamin D is, what it does for your health and what can happen if you don’t get enough.

The URL is as follows: www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/vitamin-d-and-your-health...

The second online article that I would like you to see is “How to get enough Vitamin D.”

This one has a lot of good tips about getting enough “D” in your diet and in your life.

The URL is: www.ehow.com/how_2160026_enough-vitamin-d.html



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On weight loss..

With fad diets and fitness routines round every corner, it is quite difficult to keep a tab on which weight loss tips really do work and which don't. Should you join that bhangra aerobics class, adopt that no-carb diet, or eat dinner at 6pm? Never mind all that loophole-ridden weight loss jargon, step over to the healthy side.

Here are 10 tips for guaranteed weight loss that will set your weight straight, and help you adopt some really healthy, weight-friendly habits for life.

Weight loss tip 1: Decide how much weight you need to lose - Most people start their weight loss journey by claiming to be xyz kilos overweight. This isn't a healthy way to project or aim for weight loss. Calculate your desired weight against your height by using reliable methods like the BMI, and set a healthy weight loss target. This is often half the battle won.

Weight loss tip 2: Time management - This is quite often overlooked. Decide which part of your day will be dedicated to exercise, when in the week you will stock up on groceries, and when you will do the cooking - all within your current work and home life routine. If you don't do this now, your days will be rushed and unplanned, and you won't be able to sustain your weight loss efforts.

Weight loss tip 3: Stock your kitchen - Keep your house well-stocked with fruits, vegetables, healthy meats, grains, cereals, spices, and flavourers. Follow our tricks to healthy cooking, cooking vegetables for the week, and low-fat cooking posts to understand how best you can stock your kitchen with healthy and delicious ingredients. All of this will go into helping the next step - cooking healthy meals at home.

Weight loss tip 4: Eat healthy homecooked meals - Whether it's you who's cooking, a family member, or house help, ensure that every one practises healthy cooking methods, and ingredients. Ask any person who's lost weight the healthy way, and you will always hear about how healthy homecooked meals were a big reason behind it. Use less oil, low salt, fresh produce, and you'll start seeing results in no time.

Weight loss tip 5: Start a cardio workout - A healthy weight loss programme is incomplete without a good exercise routine, and cardio is the best way to lose weight. Of course, variations and forms exist, but any workout that stresses on muscle tone and increased heart rate will always help you lose weight and keep it off.

Weight loss tip 6: Alter your snacking habits - At Health Me Up, we have several healthy snacking ideas for you. Set those French fries aside, skip that aerated drink, and ban those unhealthy deep fried samosas.

Weight loss tip 7: Have at least one active hobby - It isn't sufficient to rely on just 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Moving from bed to office chair, and back to bed, isn't a healthy way to live.

Buy a motion sensor gaming console that lets you enjoy social games with friends and family, plan weekend trips, clean your house once a week, play sports, the list is endless. Get out of the coffee shop and dining table rut, and you'll have fun along with the healthy weight loss.

Weight loss tip 8: Find a solution to combat stress - As we pointed out in our post about stress and weight loss, stress is always detrimental to healthy weight loss in the long run. Find ways to combat stress and you'll soon realise that your diet and exercise aren't sabotaged anymore, and that you truly do see results.

Weight loss tip 9: Drink plenty of water - You've known that your body relies heavily on water for all important bodily functions, and yet you skimp on drinking adequate quantities of water every day. Well, it's time to stop that.

Check out some exciting ways to make water interesting and you'll be packing it away in no time. Do not forget to carry a water bottle to your workout, and take a few sips after every 2-3 minutes of exercise.

Weight loss tip 10: Plan healthy vacations - Why go all the way with healthy weight loss, when one tiny vacation will just come along and topple it all? Healthy vacations aren't impossible. Take a look at how you can eat smart on a holiday, and then at bodyweight workouts that you can carry with you wherever you go, to understand how to holiday right.

Above all, remember that these are lifelong habits that'll help you stay fit forever and not short term weight loss quickfixes.

(Note: i (dr76) have tailored the above for Muslim women from the OP)


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