Ramadan 1435 / 2014 is about to start in couple of days and unlike in Australia where the weather is nice and chilly it’s totally the opposite on the other side of the pond. The weather everywhere else it’s summer season.
A fasting person needs good, nutrient-rich food which provides the energy to last the entire day. That means extra preparation and knowing what to eat during non-fasting hours is essential to having a good health and strength during the entire month.
Below are some tips for observing a healthy fast during Ramadan.
Eat Real Food, Not Junk Foods
Processed foods may seem convenient, but they’re usually filled with unhealthy things like high-fructose corn syrup, MSG , tons of sodium and typically all the heart-clogging oils.
Junk foods like chips, candies, cookies etc are basically void of nutrients. These filler foods hardly satisfy the stomach and make you crave more. Rather eat food that is wholesome and packed with nutrition, you’ll feel more satisfied.
Go Easy on the Carbs
While I love a good bowl of pasta, or rice, these are all carbohydrates to minimize during Ramadan. Carbohydrates are converted into sugars and can eventually take their toll on your body way after you’ve finished eating. When you do have your carbohydrates, be sure to pair them with protein-rich foods like beans, meat or eggs to balance the meal.
Consider having slow digesting foods which will last up to 8 hours, while fast-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours. Slow-digesting foods are foods contain grains and seeds such as barley, wheat, oats, semolina, beans, lentils, whole meal flour, and brown rice. These are called complex carbohydrates.
Fast-burning foods are foods that contain ingredients such as sugar and white flour. They are called refined carbohydrates.
Hydrate Your Body
When fasting, we’re slowly being dehydrated over the course of the day, so once we break our fast and during the non-fasting period we need to have foods that put water into our body, not reduce it further. A great way to break the fast is to enjoy your favorite dates along with having fruity drinks such as coconut water, or making smoothies. Consider limiting coffee and tea which are very dehydrating to the body, to about half of what you normally drink.
- Complex carbohydrates at suhoor so that the food lasts longer making you less hungry.
- Dates are excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium.
- Almonds are rich in protein and fibre with less fat.
- Bananas are a good source of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates.
- Fried fatty and salty foods. Dehydration is a risk due to limited fluid intake during the day, and high salt foods can further increase this risk by drawing fluids out of your body
- Foods containing too much sugar. While they may provide you with instant energy, they will not sustain you through the day and night.
- Tea or caffeine are diuretics when consumed in large quantities and the body can lose valuable minerals, salts and fluids that you need during the day.
- Smoking cigarettes: If you cannot give up smoking, cut down gradually starting a few days before Ramadan.
During the month of Ramadan, you might experience some common discomforts. The following measures can help prevent these conditions:
- Constipation —This can be caused by eating too much refined food, drinking too little water and / or not eating enough fiber. To avoid constipation, avoid refined foods by eating foods rich in fiber like whole grain cereals and bread. Increase your intake of high fiber carbohydrates such as daals, dried beans like tabuli, chana, fruits and vegetables. Drink lots of water.
- Indigestion — Indigestion can be caused by over-eating or eating too many fried, fatty and spicy foods, or foods that produce gas. Fasting can also cause increased acidity, leading to the feeling of indigestion. To avoid indigestion, try not to overeat. Be sure to drink plenty of water and include high fiber foods
- Headaches — Headaches while fasting can be caused by caffeine and tobacco-withdrawal, doing too much in one day, lack of sleep, dehydration and hunger. Headaches can occur as the day passes and can worsen by the end of the day. To avoid headaches, prepare for Ramadan by decreasing caffeine and tobacco consumption slowly, starting a week or several days before Ramadan. Start drinking caffeine-free teas, coffee, unsweetened juices and water. Also, don’t forget about sleep. Prepare for Ramadan by reorganizing your daily schedule to ensure a good night’s rest.
- Low blood sugar — Low blood sugar can occur because of the length of time between meals. Symptoms of low blood sugar need to be watched for carefully. These can include weakness, dizziness, tiredness, poor concentration, perspiration, feeling shaky, an inability to perform physical activities, headaches and palpitations. Low blood sugar can also be caused by not eating at suhoor. To avoid significant low blood sugar levels, be sure to eat at suhoor and limit intake of sugary foods and drinks.
Remember a meal should be a meal and NOT A FEAST. May everyone who observes the blessed month of Ramadan have a peaceful & healthy time with family & friends.
Disclaimer: the purpose of this article is not intended as medical advice. The author nor the website are not responsible for any side effects or harm from following its contents. Please consult with your physician regarding fasting or consuming any particular foods before doing so.