The holy month of Ramadan is around the corner. It is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, and the time when Muslims observe fast from sunrise to sunset. Meals are served before sunrise, called Suhoor, and after sunset, called Iftar. It is believed that fasting helps the Muslims learn modesty, patience, and spirituality.
Fasting can improve one’s health, but only if done in the proper manner, otherwise it causes more harm than good. Fasting, especially, during Ramadan carries a high risk of dehydration as food and drink are limited to before sunrise and after sunset. All of this can be taken care of by simply preparing and eating food made from fresh ingredients and cooked in a healthy manner.
Do check our tips and make a few lifestyle changes to stay healthy this Ramadan.
Don’t skip Suhoor (pre-dawn meal)
First and foremost, one should not skip the Suhoor, at any cost. Suhoor needs to be wholesome so as to provide enough energy to last during the long hours of fasting. Remember to include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products so as to survive the long day of fasting.
Don’t overeat during Iftar
Iftar is the time when you replenish energy levels. Do not give into temptation of stuffing yourself with various fried treats for they are nothing but empty calories. Traditionally during Ramadan, dates are eaten at the start of Iftar to signify the breaking of the fast. Dates are not only excellent source of energy but are also rich in potassium that helps muscles and nerves to function well. Make an attempt to consume foods from all major food groups: fruit and vegetables, rice and alternatives, as well as meat and alternatives (which include dairy).
Drink as much water as possible
In order to reduce the risk of dehydration, one should make an effort to drink at least minimum 8 glasses of water between Iftar and Suhoor. Say no to caffeinated drink for they promote fluid loss and opt for plain water. One could also consume fruits and vegetables that help keep body hydrated.
Avoid eating fried foods, salty foods and high-sugar foods
Iftar, usually, is the time when families and friends get together for a feast to break the fast. The delicious Ramadan sweets are hard to resist, especially during such times. However, eating sweets immediately after Iftar will result to bloating and cause a delay in digestion. Also, spicy and salty food will make you thirsty the following day. The only way to get out of this situation is to practice portion control and moderation.
A balanced diet
All said and done, balanced diet is a key to good health. Even during Ramadan, ensure your food intake is simple and does not deviate too much from your normal diet. Have plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid processed foods as much as possible. Even deep fried foods should be consumed minimally. Don’t forget to consume food items like barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour and basmati rice which are complex carbohydrates and help release energy slowly during the long hours of fasting. Also, include fibre-rich foods – ones made up of bran, cereals, whole wheat, grains and seeds, potatoes with the skin on, vegetables such as green beans, and almost all fruits, including apricots, prunes and figs for they are digested slowly and help you feel full for a longer duration of time.
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