Ramadan 2022: The holy month of Ramadan is here and fasting during this time is of great significance for Muslims across the world. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and aim to grow spiritually and become closer to the almighty. Fasting during Ramadan is also known to have a positive effect on heath and cleanses the body of harmful toxins. However, eating huge meals during Iftar meals or not hydrating enough between Iftar and Suhoor could lead to health issues or aggravate existing ones. (Also read: Ramadan 2022: Benefits of intermittent fasting during Ramadan)
“The purpose of Suhoor is to give us strength, vitality and sustainability. This meal should be wholesome and filling. Suhoor is the body’s primary source of energy during the fasting day,” says Dr Varsha Gorey, Senior Clinical Nutritionist Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai.
The nutritionist adds that the purpose of Iftar is to re-balance and recharge our bodies and effort should be made to eat food from all major food groups. “To optimise and benefit from fasting we must incorporate a diverse diet which includes all the major food groups- vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fruits and dairy products (if tolerated),” says Dr Gorey.
Here are some dietary dos and don’ts that one should follow while fasting for Ramadan, as suggested by Dr Gorey.
• Drink plenty of water (between Iftar and Suhoor)
• Eat a balanced meal in Sihori
• Take warm drinks in Iftar
• Eat whole grain cereals like daliya, oats
• Don’t forget honey and 7 seeds of lalonji
• Include healthy snacks like almonds, walnuts, olives, and avocados; protein: milk, yogurt, eggs, pulses, nuts; and vitamins and minerals: dates, jaggery, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
• Avoid synthetic and artificial cold drinks
• Do not do dieting and eat lot of fat during Ramadan
• Do not eat very cold and very hot drinks or fluids immediately after Iftar
• Avoid oily and fried foods especially in Iftar
• Avoid high fat and high calorie foods
• Stay away from refined, processed and packaged foods
Here are some other tips by Dr. Jinal Patel, Dietitian, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Mumbai and Zamurrud M. Patel, CDE, RD Chief Dietician, Global Hospitals, Parel, Mumbai that one should keep in mind during Ramadan fasting.
• Stay hydrated: Try to have water between Iftar and Suhoor to prevent dehydration due to excessive sweating. Try to increase the fluid intake to keep you hydrated throughout the day. You can also opt for watermelon in the Suhoor meal or eat it after Iftar. Cut down on caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, and cola, because caffeine can make one urinate more often causing dehydration. Even fizzy drinks with sugar will add calories to your diet. So, stay away from them.
• Choose energising foods for Suhoor: Try to eat foods that will energize you throughout the day. Doing so can help you to do the daily chores with ease. Eat fruit and vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans, chickpeas and lentils, low-fat dairy products, avocado, nuts, olives. You can also take the help of an expert who will guide you regarding what to eat and avoid during Ramadan.
• Opt for healthy foods during Iftar: Try breaking your fast with soup or dates. This is so because dates are loaded with fiber and will help you ease digestion. Dates relieve constipation too. Choose whole grains, skinless chicken, and fish, to get a good portion of healthy protein.
It is a no-brainer that milk, yogurt, and eggs can help you to get enough protein. You can opt for these things without any second thought.
• Say no to fried, salty, and processed foods high in fat or sugar. Eat in controlled quantities as suggested by the expert. Overeating is a strict no-no as it can lead to acidity, indigestion, sluggishness, and fatigue. Salty foods can cause bloating and make you uncomfortable.
• Try to eat lighter meals. For the main course, you can eat grilled, boiled, or steamed chicken or vegetable dishes. Eating roasted chicken and baked potatoes is better than fried samosas and chips.
• If you have any special/medical conditions it is best to discuss with a medical practitioner and your religious head before you take up any type of fasting.