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Keeping Healthy for Ramadhan

 Ramadan is a month of striving. Striving for excellence in spiritual and physical health is one of the cornerstones of this holy month that makes it ever so special every year. Alongside restraining our desires and frequently remembering God, Ramadan also carries the responsibility of striking a delicate balance with our health. There is no doubt that fasting from dawn to dusk cleanses the digestive system and can lead to weight loss. It is imperative however, that preparation for this special month requires a health guide 101. 

Of all the basics of keeping healthy during Ramadan, making sure to consume the right foods during non-fasting hours is essential. Keeping track of what you eat during non-fasting hours is actually more important than the fasting itself because eating iftar is an opportunity to replenish your body with the nutrients and liquids it loses out on during the day. Interestingly enough, there really isn’t a special ‘Ramadan diet’ that Muslims need to follow as a normal diet is sufficient to take care of your nutritional needs. Yes, there really isn’t any magical fix during Ramadan!

The window of eating opportunities between iftar and suhoor, if filled with food high in fibre and complex carbohydrates will ensure that the body is stored with a long-lasting stock of energy necessary for normal bodily function. Complex carbohydrates include barley, wheat, oats, millet and lentils. Fibre on the other hand, includes bran, vegetables with a skin and almost all fruit including apricots and figs. Both complex carbohydrates and fibre are beneficial for the body because it gradually releases energy and sustains the body for a longer period of time compared to processed foods. And yes, that means cutting out large amounts of fatty pastries, white bread and rice when breaking your fast!

Alongside fibre, protein is another key component that is necessary for a balanced diet. Any source of dairy or meat for instance is sufficient to take care of your protein requirement during the day. Alternatives include beans, fish, lentils, and eggs and will provide a variety necessary for a healthy body. Similar to fibre, protein also takes time to break down and will allow your body to stay full for longer.

Now, your ideal vision replete with comfortable memories of childhood iftars and scrumptious feats are probably dwindling after reading this. In actual fact, Ramadan just like Islam is built on a concept of ensuring balance. This means that we can enjoy the flavours and various palettes available in Ramadan as well as enjoin in the spirit of sharing food with others breaking their fast without going overboard. This balance however, is hard to strike and more often than not it is quite easy to let go.

If one really remembers the reasoning behind fasting and restraining one’s desires from devouring everything we see in sight, it is quite reasonable to put down those sugary, fatty and deep-fried foods and settle for a more balanced diet. And yes, that means that fasting is not a ticket for a ‘get-out-of-jail card’ when our diets are concerned. Let’s look at Ramadan as an opportunity to make significant changes to our lifestyle and our spiritual drive by making the right food choices and, in the meanwhile climbing up the rungs of that spiritual ladder whilst maintaining an excellent bodily health.

 Zahra Khimji

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Comments (4)

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Enjoy your Ramadan ;)

[1] Flutterlink at 18:23 on 20 Aug 10 report this
 

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I'm happy to say that I don't eat that many fatty/sugary things during this month. I tend to have healthy grilled food and maybe a bit of fried food...and I tend to drink water first rather than fizzy drinks. That way I don't get a shock when I stand on the weighing scales lol. x

[2] at 11:37 on 18 Aug 10 report this
 

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I heard if you drink alot of Water, and eat two spoons full of honey, it will make you less hungry/thirsty! :)

[3] MalikaRayRay at 05:28 on 17 Aug 10 report this
 

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Aaah, heartbreak hotel. I love the feast half filled with unhealthy foods. :(

[4] Learning at 13:17 on 12 Aug 10 report this
 

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