Health Tips For Ramadan
Intake of a balanced diet is critical to maintain good health, sustain an active lifestyle and attain the full benefits of Ramadan.
Fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan can be good for one's health and personal development. Ramadan fasting is not just about disciplining the body to restrain from eating food and drinking water from predawn until sunset. The eyes, the ears, the tongue, and even the private parts are equally obligated to be restrained if a Muslim wants to gain the total rewards of fasting. Ramadan is also about restraining anger, doing good deeds, exercising personal discipline, and preparing oneself to serve as a good Muslim and a good person during and after Ramadan.
In Ramadan, the health problems can emerge as a result of excess food intake, foods that make the diet unbalanced and insufficient sleep. Ultimately also, such a lifestyle contradicts the essential requirements and spirit of Ramadan.
During Ramadan you need to put extra effort into including foods from all five food groups to ensure variety and a well-balanced diet. These foods include:
Breads, cereals and other grain products
Fruit and vegetables
Milk, cheese and yogurt
Meat, fish and poultry
Fats and sugars (these contain very little nutrients and are high in calories and therefore their intake should be limited).
The most commonly consumed foods by Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) were milk, dates, lamb/mutton and oats. Healthy foods mentioned in the Holy Qur’an are fruit and vegetables, such as olives, onions, cucumber, figs, dates, grapes as well as pulses such as lentils.
Complex carbohydrates are foods that will help release energy slowly during the long hours of fasting and are found in grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millets, semolina, beans, lentils, whole meal flour and basmati rice. Look out for foods labeled Low G.I.
Fibre-rich foods are also digested slowly and include bran, cereals, whole wheat, grains and seeds, potatoes with skin, vegetables such as green beans and almost all fruit, including apricots, prunes and figs.
Foods to avoid are the heavily processed and fast-burning foods that contain refined carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour or fatty food like cakes, biscuits, chocolates and sweets. It may also be worth avoiding the caffeine content in drinks such as tea, coffee and cola (caffeine is a diuretic and stimulates faster water loss through urination).