Some tips for staying healthy during Ramadan
Don’t overeat at Iftaar time
The son of Adam cannot fill a vessel worse than his stomach, as it is enough for him to take a few bites to straighten his back. If he cannot do it, then he may fill it with a third of his food, a third of his drink, and a third of his breath.” (Tirmidhi)
On breaking our fast at sundown, we are naturally hungry and want to eat as much as possible. But this is unhealthy. Eating too much causes weight gain and leads to health problems.
Over eating during a short period of time at the end of each day causes a spike in blood sugar levels. This means your body begins to overcompensate, producing more insulin that usual to keep blood sugar levels within healthy limits. As a result, you can experience headaches, fatigue, lethargy and increased thirst. It can also lead to weight gain, since the body will store the excess calories and blood sugar.
Eating moderately and healthily during suhoor and iftar makes sense.
Don’t miss suhoor
Eating Suhoor and preparing the body for fasting during Ramadan is important.
Choosing the right food to eat at Suhoor will provide you with sufficient energy to cope with the day ahead. Drink lots of water for hydration, eat healthy foods containing all the nutrition and vitamins you require.
Oats, pasta, couscous, quinoa, potatoes, fruit and starchy vegetables provide a slow burning supply of carbohydrates that will provide enough energy to see you through the day.
Drink lots of water
Water is the most essential part of the human body. After all, water comprises two thirds of the body.
Hydration is essential for a healthy digestion, for heart and circulation, temperature control and brain power.
When breaking your fast, it is important to drink plenty of water. Don’t attempt to drink lots at any one time as this will make you feel bloated. Instead drink water regularly throughout the non-fasting period so as to stay hydrated.
Avoid eating fried foods, salty foods and high-sugar foods
Choosing your food intake wisely makes a difference. Fatty foods can cause abdominal discomfort and bloating, while deep fried items like chips have the additional problem of containing high levels of sodium. This only exacerbates the problem of gas and bloating making you feel uncomfortable during acts of worship.
Excessive amounts of fatty foods are also major risk factors in heart disease and weight gain.
Choose instead a range of foods from other food groups, particularly meat, fruit, vegetables, rice and grains. Fibre rich foods are another good choice since they are digested much slower than processed foods, ensuring you feel fuller for much longer.
Observe oral hygiene
During fasts, bad breath and dry mouths are often experienced. It is important to brush and floss teeth regularly. It is generally accepted that during the period of fasting, as long as you don’t swallow liquids you can rinse your mouth before spitting it out. Saliva in the mouth is essential since it helps fight bacteria.
Avoid bad breath by brushing your teeth regularly and using a quality mouthwash, including just before the fast begins each day. Bad breath is linked with bacterial build up caused by dry mouths.
Special care has to be taken during Ramadan if you have diabetes. Long fasts can put you at risk of higher levels of hypoglycaemia and dehydration, which can make you ill.
Ultimately it is up to you as to whether you decide to fast. If you do make the decision of observe the fast, discuss it with your doctor or healthcare team first.
According to Islam, you must not act in a way that harms your body so it is essential to look after your own health. Seeking this information will reduce the risks of becoming ill during Ramadan if you decide to fast.