a healthy ramadan
Ramadan is a month of self regulation, discipline and appreciation of what God has bestowed upon us. Cleansing our body is a gift and God has entrusted us to take care of it. This month provides an ideal opportunity to break bad habits, start a healthier lifestyle and provide tranquillity of the heart and mind. If you can deal with the challenges of this month and feel renewed in yourself, it should prepare you for the rest of the year!
Advice on healthy eating
If the correct diet is not adhered to, the benefits of fasting can be lost and, worse still, be detrimental to health by leading to weight gain! The diet during Ramadan should not differ significantly from a healthy balanced diet. Some points to consider:
1. SUHOOR the pre-dawn meal. To ensure a healthy fast, it is important to not to miss this meal. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, ‘Take Suhoor; for in Suhoor there is a blessing” (Sahih Muslim). This should be a meal that is filling and provides energy to keep you going through the day.
2. IFTAR is the meal in which the fast is broken at dusk time. In keeping with the Prophet’s (SAW)
teachings, this usually includes dates and water. It will be in keeping with the teachings of Islam to make sure this meal remains moderate in size as opposed to a huge feast.
3. Drink plenty of water and juices to avoid dehydration and for detoxification of the digestive system. Avoid drinking tea or coffee at Suhoor as caffeine acts as a diuretic and stimulates water loss through urination.
4. Eat ‘complex carbohydrates’ these are foods that will help release energy slowly during the long hours of fasting. Eat more starchy foods such as whole grain bread with seeds, porridge, semolina, bran flakes, wholemeal chappati and naan bread for suhoor to stop you feeling hungry.
5. Eat fiber rich foods as they are digested slowly. This includes bran, cereals, whole wheat, grains and seeds, potatoes with skin, vegetables such as green beans.
6. Have a variety of fruits, vegetables and yoghurts for suhoor and iftar, to maintain a balanced diet and prevent constipation, include fresh fruits and dried ones e.g. apricots, prunes and figs.
7. Reduce oil in the preparation and intake of fried foods When using oil for cooking, only use 1-2 tablespoons. Avoid using deep fat fryers as re-heated oil becomes unhealthy saturated fat.
Devised by Dr Afrosa Ahmed MBBS, DFFP, DCH, MRCGPmerit