RAMADAN AND FOOD: IMPORTANT HEALTHY TIPS

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During the Holy month of Ramadan, healthy Adult Muslims practice daily fasting from dawn until sunset. Traditionally, one breaks the fast at sunset with a meal called Iftar and then eats again pre-dawn at Suhoor. There is evidence to suggest that fasting can have positive effects on your health. It may help you lose weight and decrease blood pressure and cholesterol. However, the Holy Month is often seen as a time to practice self-control, self-discipline, sacrifice and empathy for those less fortunate.

The month of Ramadan is a great opportunity to focus on bringing back a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Through fasting you learn how to manage your eating habits and improve self-discipline. If you’re overweight, it can be an opportunity to lose weight ,provided you eat healthily when you break the fast.

You are unlikely to reach the starvation stage during Ramadan, because the fast is broken daily,” says Dr Razeen Mahroof, a consultant from Oxford. A balanced food and fluid intake is important between fasts. The kidneys are very efficient at maintaining the body’s water and salts, but these can be lost through sweating.

To prevent muscle breakdown, meals must contain enough energy food, such as carbohydrates and some fat. 

Aim for a balanced diet

Those observing the fast should have at least two meals a day: the pre-dawn meal (Suhoor) and a meal at dusk (Iftar).

It should contain foods from all the major food groups

Try to limit the amount of sugary foods you eat and instead include healthier sources of carbohydrate in your diet, such as wholegrains, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and lower fat dairy products.

Foods high in fibre can help to keep your bowels healthy and add bulk to your meal, helping you to feel full.These include:

  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • pulses
  • starchy foods (especially wholegrain varieties)

It’s also worth avoiding caffeine-based drinks such as tea, coffee and cola. Caffeine is a diuretic and stimulates faster water loss through urination.

Foods to avoid

  • deep-fried foods – such as pakoras, samosas and fried dumplings
  • high-sugar and high-fat foods – including sweets such as gulab jamun, rasgulla and balushahi
  • high-fat cooked foods – such as parathas, oily curries and greasy pastries

Healthy cooking methods

  • shallow frying – usually there’s little difference in taste
  • grilling or baking is healthier and helps retain the taste and original flavour of the food, especially with chicken and fish
  • The month of Ramadan is a great opportunity to start some healthy new habits, and get rid of some bad ones, such as smoking.
  • Smoking is considered to void a fast because you take something into your body through your mouth. A principle of Ramadan is purification of the body and tobacco is the greatest contributor to death and disease in the developed world.
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