Fasting during Ramadan, if done right, is a healthy way to detox your body from all the toxins that are accumulated over the year. The unhealthy lifestyle we follow and daily stress, has a direct and adverse effect on our health; this to a great extent can be corrected by fasting and following a strict routine. It will boost our immunity and help our body organs function effectively thereby reducing the risk factor of many chronic diseases.
While we all fight COVID – 19 pandemic together, this Ramadan lets ensure we follow a healthy diet which helps boosts our immunity. Dr. Dana Al Hamwi, Clinical Dietician, India Gate, KRBL Ltd, sharestips and dietary advice which if followed during Ramadan will help strengthen your body.
Always Do Your Grocery Shopping After Iftar
My first and foremost advice to any one fasting during Ramadan would be to prepare a shopping list before going grocery shopping. Also avoid doing any grocery or food shopping during the fasting hours as you tend to indulge in unnecessary buying when you are hungry. Always do your grocery shopping after iftar and stick to your shopping list.
Drink Half To A Full Glass Of Water Every Hour From Iftar To Suhoor
It is extremely important to keep yourself well hydrated during Ramadan. This may seem a little tricky, due to going long spans without food and water. It is advisable to consume at least 8 – 12 glasses of water, during Ramadan too. While it may not be possible to drink as much water, you can compensate by consuming fluid rich food like fruits, vegetables, soups etc. Ensure you drink half to a full glass of water every hour from iftar to suhoor.
Add Chia Seeds To Your Drinks
Whenever possible add a teaspoonful of chia seeds to your drinks. Chia seeds are capable of soaking water and keeping you hydrated for long spans when consumer.
Never Skip Suhoor Meal
Usually people tend to skip the suhoor meal as it requires them to wake up early to eat. But this has a negative effect on our bodies and can be a major cause for tiredness, hypoglycemia, headache and acidity. The suhoor meal is extremely essential as it keeps the body energized and hydrated till iftar. Therefore at suhoor ensure you include nutrition and fluid rich food such as fruits, eggs, quinoa, oatmeal, seeds and dried fruits to your diet. Also add chia seeds to your favourite beverage or even a glass of milk, this will keep you sufficiently hydrated till after iftar.
Consume Nutritious Meal For Suhoor
For suhoor meal I suggest to start with some dried fruits and nuts, followed by one tablespoon olive oil with a glass of warm water. Then have a cup of yogurt with oats in addition to eggs or beans and vegetables and one small banana and finish it with one cup of coffee.
Opt For A Cup of Black Coffee or Green Tea
As most people require caffeine to start their day, opt for a cup of black coffee or green tea which will provide your body with all the antioxidants and caffeine benefits without harming it. Avoid adding sugar to your beverage.
Adopt Healthy Cooking Practices For Iftar
Adopt healthy cooking practices for iftar too, such as adding sufficient veggies to your dishes. Try substituting wheat with gluten free options such as rice or even better sprouted brown rice which is low in calories and gluten free and rich in nutrients such as dietary fibres, vitamin B6, phosphorus and manganese and including it in our daily iftar meal will help reducing the risk factors of many chronic diseases .If you have a sweet tooth replace sugar with honey and add flax seed and chia seeds to your diet as they provide omega 3, minerals and dietary fibres.
Break Your Fast With 1 – 3 Dates and Laban
Break your fast with 1 – 3 dates and Laban or room temperature water. Follow this up with a soup, salad, one fruit or a homemade smoothie or chia pudding along with a cup of white coffee, if you feel like. After a gap of 1 – 2 hours you can have a main course which should include cooked vegetables, any source of plant or animal based protein like quinoa or chicken, fish etc. Following this pattern will help the body’s digestive system to function well.
Avoid Fried Appetizer
As much as possible avoid appetizer especially fried ones as they cause indigestion and unrequired weight gain.
Avoid Traditional Ramadan Drinks Which Are Loaded With Sugar.
Be careful not to add sugar to your drinks as it increases dental issues, leads to weight gain and increases blood sugar level. In fact it is advisable to avoid traditional Ramadan drinks which are loaded with sugar. High sugar content also dehydrates the body leaving you feeling thirsty throughout the day.
Avoid Bottled Fruit Juices
Avoid fruit juices especially the bottled type. Instead opt for freshly squeezed juices and don’t strain away the pulp or fibre, even better would be to eat water rich fruits such as watermelon and oranges instead.
Do Not Replace Water With Ramadan Juices
As the weather gets warmer it is natural for people to be tempted into drinking cold traditional Ramadan juices instead of water. But this lowers the body’s immunity since it is cold and the sugar content can lead to increase in blood sugar which could be detrimental to diabetic patients and people suffering from high blood triglycerides. Moreover these drinks can never compensate for water and the sugar content will increase thirst.
Eat Healthy Homemade Desserts
Avoid consuming traditional Ramadan sweets as they are loaded with sugar and contribute to obesity and other chronic disease. Instead substitute these sweets with healthy homemade desserts such as chia pudding or quinoa chocolate balls which suffice ones sweet craving and are healthy too.
Avoid pickles, salty food and use mild spices and herbs to add flavor to the food.
Follow A Healthy Routine
Follow a healthy routine and a good sleep pattern. You should go to bed early in order to ensure you have sufficient sleep before suhoor. Sleep is very essential in order to stay healthy.
Do 8000 – 15000 Steps Each Day
Increase physical activity by aiming at doing 8000 – 15000 steps each day as the daily physical activity done two hours after your iftar meal will boost your body metabolism, maintain your body muscle mass and enhances your bowel movement.
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