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Nutrition: Eat well, stay healthy

July 21, 2012


— Photo by White Star

Ramazan this year has arrived at the peak of summer, with not only the heat to battle but also the sticky and stifling humidity at its peak.

As you tend to sweat more during the humid weather, remember to drink plenty of fluids, but keep caffeinated and fizzy carbonated drinks at a minimum. This is due to the fact that fizzy and caffeinated drinks contain diuretics that actually leach your body of fluids. Since fasting is all about attaining inner peace and getting closer to God, remember that you need to eat right and in small portions to feel full and, at the same time, remain healthy.

Fasting is a very good way of detoxifying your body and getting into a routine that leads to a healthier lifestyle and eating habits. Sadly, for most people, fasting in Ramazan means night binges, disrupted sleep patterns and other unhealthy habits. But one should remember what Islam teaches about balancing one’s lifestyle in every manner and avoiding excesses of any form. Below are some pointers to keep in mind to sail through this Ramazan without any side effects.

Do not skip Sehri. Get up before dawn, have a small yet filling meal with a mug or two of either a lassi or milkshake, depending on your preference. Your meal should comprise wholemeal stuff, such as oats porridge, muesli, a boiled egg with two whole wheat toasts, as well as two to three slices of watermelon or a banana. The whole grain will help you feel full; it will also slowly and gradually release glucose in your blood stream and hence avoid highs and crashes of sugar which come with simple carbohydrates. The melon will keep your thirst at bay for the rest of the day and the fibre and potassium as well as other minerals in the banana will help prevent cramps and other undesirable effects of the heat. Salted lassi will help maintain your salts and keep you from feeling too dehydrated and hot.

At Iftari, limit your oily, fried food intake; keep it to a minimum and try having desserts with fruit in them. Since it’s the mango season, you could have a delicious array of mango based desserts or fruit salads instead of the usual high fat, high calorie desserts. Try making delicious light and refreshing juices or mocktails to keep your fluid intake at the optimum. Eat at short intervals with small portions, instead of bingeing at the sound of the azaan. This will help digest the food in an optimum manner and keep acidity, wind, indigestion and even acid reflux at bay.

Everyone knows that Ramazan during summer leads to a crash in energy levels by mid morning, so if you can manage it, try to take a nap in the afternoon so you remain alert for the rest of the day as well as freshen your mind and body. Everyone knows that a power nap is a wonderful way of continuing to pull through the day.

According to Sunnah one should eat enough to fill just one third of one’s stomach  capacity, leaving a third for water and a third empty.

This is the ideal way to remain healthy and an ideal way to fast during Ramazan. It will keep digestive diseases and ailments at bay; it will also keep you fresh, and probably will help you lose those tricky pounds, that just refuse to leave.

Since it’s difficult to include vegetables to your meals in Ramazan, try keeping or inventing recipes that use veggies as dip sticks as an addition to your iftari course.

Instead of going for readymade squashes and juices, try making inventive juices at home. Mint mixed in fresh lime, a mix of apple and mango juice and other interesting combinations. It’ll keep you from drinking unhealthy processed sugary stuff, all the while keeping you fresh and hydrated. Before going to bed, try having a sip or two of green tea, it’s refreshing and aids in digestion.

It’s difficult to sleep early in Ramazan, but try catching at least six hours of sleep every day. Unsettled sleep can mess up a lot of things in your body including your moods and digestive process.