A Healthy Ramadan

Tehreen Islam

Forma2-back to backRamadan and its spiritual aspects have always been important in every Muslim’s life. It’s also a great chance to get the physical benefits as well. Ramadan can be a healthy affair if a few do’s and don’ts are followed. In today’s Trends we discuss the general pointers related to fasting. This can help us prepare for the month ahead. It is important to keep these in mind while making individualised plan for our fasting.

It is important to resist the urge to feast as much as we can and as quickly as we can after we break a fast. After a day of fasting and discipline, we should resist the urge and temptation and aim to eat in moderation. Avoiding high-fat, high-sugar content, and highly-processed food, fried food, ghee, biryanis, sweets, halwa’s is always best.  In our country, iftar becomes a full feast of fried and fattening foods which are actually unhealthy, and even more when eaten after whole day of fasting. Feasting on these food items causes damage to our health and makes other days of Ramadan even more difficult.

Always begin iftar with dates and plenty of water. Dates provide us with an immediate source of energy while water rehydrates us after the long day of fasting. Instead of soda or artificial drink, natural juice drinks when breaking the fast are a good source of minerals, salts, and vitamins.

By iftar time, our bodies are working to preserve as much energy possible. Therefore, excessive fatty food and sugars will be rapidly added to body fat reserves. Salty food at iftar and sehri will cause dehydration and make one feel increasingly thirsty. After Maghrib , having  a well-balanced meal containing all of the food groups always help. After iftar, stay well hydrated by taking regular sips of water every half hour, or a cup full or more every hour. Do not skip sehri.  It is a great opportunity to nourish our body with a balanced diet containing complex carbohydrates, fibres, proteins, good fats.

Meals with slow release carbohydrates will keep one well energised for a night of prayer. Including sources of fibre, which will keep the bowels working and healthy after resting during the day, is a great step towards a healthy Ramadan. Fibre and proteins keep us feeling full for longer. Hence they should be an important part of our meal plan. Staying well hydrated and eating sources of fibre will help prevent constipation and other health issues in Ramadan.

Cereals, salads, fruit and vegetables are excellent replacements for oily curries and fried snacks. It is important to be mindful of the sugar content in caffeinated energy drinks. With tea and coffee, again moderation is key. Eating in moderation is also important because, a heavy stomach rarely agrees with the whole idea of Ramadan.

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Adopting a healthy and hygienic lifestyle in Ramadan is a great step for a healthy Ramadan. Brushing and flossing regularly is advised. Excessive sugary snacks and drinks are also harmful for teeth. Physical exercise immediately after iftar may not be a good idea, as our blood flow is being directed to our digestive system at that time. Take the strength and discipline developed during fasting to give up smoking this Ramadan. It is a great time to give up on this bad habit.

Try to fit in adequate time for napping. Planning rest well will allow us to make the most of our time in Ramadan. If someone is taking any regular medication, have any health conditions, are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is very important to consult with doctors before planning fasts.

 

Things to eat and not to eat :

To help everyone choose the right food during the holy month, a simple list is following which has many healthy food choices to keep you energetic and nurtured.

MEAT AND OTHER PROTEIN SOURCES

What to eat:

Fish

Grilled or boiled skinless chicken

Lean meat

Moderate amounts of prawns

Legumes such as beans, lentils, and peas

Eggs (egg yolk) 3 times per week (including eggs in cooked foods)

What not to eat:

Fried chicken and duck

Fatty meats

Liver and organ meats

Hotdog and sausages

Large amounts of prawn, shrimp and shellfish

 

MILK AND DAIRY PRODUCTS

What to eat:

Skimmed or low fat milk

Skimmed or low fat yoghurt

Low fat cheese

What not to eat:

Whole milk

Ice cream and whipped cream

Full cream yoghurt

Full cream cheeses especially yellow cheeses

Creamy and cheese sauces

 

balanced diet, cooking, culinary and food concept - close up of different foodstuffs on table

balanced diet, cooking, culinary and food concept – close up of different foodstuffs on table

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

 

What to eat:

 

All fresh vegetables, boiled, baked, steamed or cooked with a little oil

Seasoned vegetables or vegetables with lemon juice or a little oil

Fresh fruits and natural fruit juice

 

What not to eat:

 

Coconut

Fried vegetables

Boiled vegetables with butter

Juices with added sugar

 

BREAD AND GRAINS

 

What to eat:

 

Brown bread

Plain rice or noodle

Grains with no added fat

Baked or boiled potatoes

 

What not to eat:

Pastries that contain large amounts of fat (doughnuts, croissants, Danish pastries)

Fried rice

Fried potato chips or French fries

Sweetened deserts

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