During the holy month of Ramadan, the Muslim community observes a fast, or roza, from dawn until dusk and abstain from eating and drinking. While fasting during this holy month, which began on May 7, is known to improve one’s health it is essential to do it the right way.
“Moreover, it can pose as a challenge for people with dietary issues to practice it for the entire month. Therefore, eating healthy and ensuring the consumption of all nutrients during this period is essential,” says Dr Iqbal Bagasrawala, associate director, medical affairs, Saifee Hospital.
Below, he shares a few suggestions to keep in mind in order to observe the Ramadan fast in a healthy way:
*Don’t miss sehri
Also known as ‘Suhoor’, it is considered to be the most important meal of the day. Sehri is the pre-dawn meal that contributes in storing up nutrients to replenish the body’s requirement until Iftar. Unfortunately, several people tend to avoid this meal by eating heavy dinner instead, as waking up early becomes a challenge. However, skipping Sehri can cause digestive discomfort and make your body sluggish throughout the day. Therefore, indulge in a nutritious meal that includes fibre-rich food (figs, bananas, dates, cereals), complex carbohydrates (grains, wheat, oats), and high-protein food (cheese, eggs, meat).
*Keep your body hydrated
This is one of the most essential things to keep in mind during the holy month. One needs to balance the consumption of liquids to compensate not drinking 8 glasses/ 2 litres of water. Dehydration can lead to constipation, splitting headaches, and lethargy, and therefore, hydrating yourself before the fast begins with two-three glasses of water is critical, as is sipping water on breaking the fast, between Iftar and your bedtime. Unhealthy drinks that contain caffeine including coffee, tea, aerated beverages must be avoided. People who cannot function without coffee can have a cup after an hour or two of a healthy balanced Iftar. Consuming water-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and soups are highly recommended to meet the daily water intake.
*Keep a check on your meal intake
People tend to get carried away during the Iftar meal and indulge in large portions. But it is advisable to eat in moderation whenever the fast is broken, and also keep a constant check on the meal size. Overeating can be responsible for an increase in heart-related issues along with triggering type-2 diabetes. Therefore, consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables is advisable.
*Abstain from heavy workouts and exercising
As the entire month demands long hours of fasting, our body tends to get dehydrated, and therefore, it is recommended to not go overboard with your exercise regime. Light workouts are okay following fasting hours as they aid in regulating body functions and keep it hydrated.
*Do not consume processed food, opt for healthy choices
While breaking the fast during Ramadan, it is essential to abstain from consuming fried/excessively oily or processed food, as they comprise lesser nutrients, and more fat. Eating such food may lead to instant acidity and nausea, as well as heartburn and indigestion. One should consume food cooked with lesser oil like soups, fresh fruits and vegetables, grilled meat, and braised dishes. If you are travelling when it’s time to break your fast, instead of having junk or packaged food, opt for healthier alternatives like dry fruits that include dates and nuts.
As important as it is to observe fast, one should not overlook the importance of staying healthy. These simple tips can help you keep a check on your health during the holy month so you can observe fast without compromising on your health.