Ramadan is a period of intense fasting where Muslims all around the world observe fast from dawn to dusk abstaining themselves from all sorts of foods and drinks. Fasting not only cleanses us spiritually but is also beneficial physiologically. There are many benefits of fasting such as
- It helps in detoxification
- It helps in reducing cravings
- Helps in reducing inflammation in the body
- Helps in improving overall fitness and stamina
- Helps in reducing insulin resistance
- Helps in reducing the risk of metabolic diseases.
- Helps in reducing the growth of cancerous cells.
- Helps in weight loss.
While the benefits of fasting are innumerous let’s have a look at how to stay fit and healthy during fasting by avoiding overeating and under-eating.
TIPS FOR HEALTHY SUHOOR
Pre-Dawn meal or Suhoor – Have proper and balanced pre-dawn/ suhoor meals: It is very important to have the predawn meal during fasting as it helps to stay active whole through the day. It acts as a source of energy for the rest of the day.
- The pre-dawn meal should be a wholesome, moderate meal that is filling and provides enough energy for many hours. It is therefore particularly important to include slowly-digesting foods like complex carbohydrates. Drinking fluids helps to stay hydrated during the day and assist with digestion.
- Eating protein-rich foods such as eggs, grains, dairy products, and meat along with fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk, vegetable juices is an effective way to reduce daytime thirst particularly in the elderly.
- Avoid drinking tea or coffee or any other caffeinated beverages as these are diuretic in nature and lead to dehydration by excessive water loss.
- Include potassium-rich foods during suhoor like banana, dates, oranges, sweet lime, and cucumbers as this helps to avoid thirst.
- Avoid salty foods such as papads, pickles, chutneys, sauces during suhoor as these foods increase thirst during the day.
- Avoid spicy foods during suhoor as it leads to acidity.
- Chew every morsel of food thoroughly to avoid gastric distress.
- Smoking is a health risk factor. Avoid smoking cigarettes. If you cannot give up smoking, cut down gradually starting a few weeks before Ramadan. Smoking negatively affects the utilization of various vitamins, metabolites, and enzyme systems in the body.
TIPS FOR HEALTHY IFTAAR
Iftaar: The meal that breaks the day’s fast could include dates and fresh fruits. Dates will provide a refreshing burst of much-needed energy. Fruits will also have a similar, revitalizing effect. The meal should remain a meal and not become a feast.
- Have a balanced diet and include foods from all food groups like whole grain cereals, pulses and legumes, milk and milk products, meat, fish and chicken, and lots of vegetables and fruits.
- Avoid fried foods: Fried foods are heavy in oil and that makes them harder to digest, especially when they are the first foods to be eaten after a long fast
- Avoid aerated drinks, squashes, sherbets, fruit juices as this causes an immediate spike in blood sugar levels and leads to complications.
- Should opt for low Glycaemic index fruits such as apple, papaya, guava, pomegranate, sweet lime, watermelon.
- Avoid excessive tea and coffee after iftar as it might cause severe dehydration.
- Dinner should be light. Try to maintain a 2-3 hours gap in between dinner and sleeping time.
- Include a multivitamin daily
- Avoid intense physical activity during the day and a brisk walk for 30-40 minutes can be included in the regime after Taraweeh prayers.
- Drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water between Iftar and Suhoor can help to compensate for an individual’s need for water.
SAMPLE DIET PLAN DURING RAMADAN
|Meal Timings||Food/ Menu|
|Early morning Meal One (4:00a.m) (Suhoor )||One fruit + 5-6 Unsalted raw nut|
Brown rice khichdi/Moong dal khichdi -1bowl with salad and tomato chutney and veg kadi with vegetables /non-veg (only twice a week)
Stuffed parathas-2 to 3 with Raita
Phulkas-2/Jowar rotis-2 -3 with any sabzi,dhal/ non veg curry 1 cup
Bowl of whole grain porridge made with milk with added fruits and nuts
Oat meal with milk and dry fruits
Fig & date bread (boiled egg white can be taken daily, whole egg can be taken twice a week when not consuming non veg)
|Meal Two Iftaar(in between 6:30-7:00p.m)||Dates (3-4)+ Fresh fruits +lemon water or buttermilk 1 glass ( ½ tsp of sabza seeds/chia seeds) along with either of the following options|
Boiled channa with lots of vegetables and pomegranate/fruit
Urad dal dahi wadas with green chutney
Homemade low-fat haleem (oats/dalia)-1 cup with salad
Poha with veggies
Veg dalia with corn salad
Sprouts salad or rajma chat
|Half an hour before dinner (8:00p.m)||Flaxseeds powder-1 tsp in a glass of buttermilk /in plain water|
|Dinner (8:30p.m)||Multigrain Rotis-2 with veg curry-1cup and dal/legume preparation|
Multigrain Rotis with Grilled chicken/ Fish in curry – cup + Salad
A Big bowl of salad+ homemade dal and veggies soup
Salad-1 bowl+moong chillas-2-3+ mint chutney
|Bed time||Multivitamin daily|
|Water||At least 2-2.5litres between iftaar & suhoor|