Ramadan can be difficult for those fasting. What eating habits should you follow during Ramadan to maintain your weight, concentration and focus?
The holy month is filled with all things good. WE all try to be nicer to each other, more understanding, more considerate of our actions. If asked what Ramadan embodies, the best word to use as an answer is goodness. But with Ramadan falling at the peak of summer this year, it is important you maintain your energy levels and avoid the unhealthy food temptations that come with the month.
“In Ramadan our diets are radically altered, as we eat only during Suhoor (pre-dawn) and Iftar (at sunset). As such both these meals form an essential part of fasting. While it’s a good idea to consume low Glycaemic Index (GI) items, both Suhoor and Iftar should be well-balanced and contain items from each food group, such as vegetables, cereals, meat, dairy products and fruits,” said Ms. Rahma Ali , Clinical Dietician at Burjeel Hospital Abu Dhabi.
In order to obtain the energy that foods provide during the day, Ali recommends all wholesome foods, “to provide enough energy to last during the long hours of fasting.” She also recommends foods that will keep you hydrated:
Foods to Eat During Suhoor
Protein Rich Food: Eggs are high in proteins and most nutritious. They not only help you to stay fuller, but can be made in several ways to suit your taste buds.
Fibre Rich Food: Oat meal is rich in fibre and a perfect meal your body needs during Suhoor. Soluble fibre turns to gel in the stomach and slows digestion, which helps lower cholesterol and blood glucose, perfect to keep you energised throughout your fast.
Calcium and Vitamin Rich Food: Dairy products are a great source of nutrition. Opt for a yoghurt smoothie or choose a vanilla and honey milk shake to stay full and hydrated throughout the day.
Suhoor Foods to Avoid
Simple or refined carbohydrates: these are food that last only 3 to 4 hours and they are low in essential nutrients Such as: sugars, white flour, pastries, donuts, croissants
Salty food: imbalance of sodium levels in your body makes you very thirsty while fasting so try to avoid salted nuts, pickles, chips and food that contain soya sauce
Caffeinated Drinks: Coffee has caffeine which leads to insomnia and restlessness. In addition, it doesn’t hydrate and keeps you longing for water the whole day.
Iftar is very important for the body too. It is the chance for you to replenish all the lost sodium and potassium that are lost during the day when you sweat, “Hence it is important during Ramadan to break the fast with a balanced diet ensuring that the essential nutritional needs of your body are met.”
Foods to Eat During Iftar
Potassium Rich Fruits: Dates are nutrient powerhouses and excellent food-item to break your fast. It not only helps you hydrate quickly, but gives you instant energy to make you feel rejuvenated after the long-hours of fasting.
Sufficient fluids: Drink as much water or fruit juices as possible between Iftar and bedtime to avoid dehydration
Raw Nuts: Almonds contain good fats which are essential, particularly when your body has been craving for fats after the long-hours of fasting. It is a perfect Iftar item which helps you feel full and in control, without the need to binge.
Hydrating Vegetables: Cucumbers, lettuce, and other vegetables are high in fibre and laden with the goodness of hydrating properties. It not only helps your body feel cool, but is also a great choice to keep you skin healthy and avoid constipation during Ramadan.
Iftar Foods to Avoid
Carbonated Drinks: Avoid drinking processed beverages and carbonated drinks. Stick to regular water and or coconut water to soothe your thirst.
High-sugar Foods: High-sugar food items as sweets, chocolates should be avoided. They are instant source of weight gain and can lead to complexities if consumed every day.
Fried-foods: Greasy and fried food like fried dumplings and samosas should be avoided. Also avoid oily curries and greasy pastries to reap healthy benefits for your body during Ramadan.
“Fasting during Ramadan can improve one’s health, but only if done in proper manner, if not, it can cause more harm than good. It is important to have self-control when you see a good spread of appetizing meal. The key is to remember that Ramadan is a month to reap rewards and benefits, and increase your spiritual connection,” concluded Ms. Ali