Ramadan 2022: The holy month of Ramadan has arrived and fasting during this time is of great importance to Muslims around the world. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and aim to grow spiritually and draw closer to the Almighty. Fasting during Ramadan is also known to have a positive effect on health and cleanse the body of harmful toxins. However, eating large meals during Iftar meals or not hydrating enough between Iftar and Suhoor could lead to health problems or aggravate existing ones. (Read also: Ramadan 2022: Benefits of intermittent fasting during Ramadan)
“The purpose of Suhoor is to give us strength, vitality and durability. This meal should be wholesome and filling. Suhoor is the main source of energy for the body during the fasting day,” says Apollo Senior Clinical Nutritionist Dr. Varsha Gorey Hospitals, Navi Mumbai.
The nutritionist adds that the purpose of Iftar is to rebalance and recharge our bodies and efforts should be made to eat foods from all major food groups. “To optimize and benefit from fasting, we need to incorporate a diverse diet that includes all major food groups: vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fruits, and dairy products (if tolerated),” says Dr. Gorey.
Here are some do’s and don’ts while fasting in Ramadan, as suggested by Dr. Gorey.
• Drink plenty of water (between Iftar and Suhoor)
• Eat a balanced meal in Sihori
• Have hot drinks at Iftar
• Eat whole grain cereals like daliya, oats
• Don’t forget the honey and the 7 lalonji seeds
• Include healthy snacks like almonds, walnuts, olives and avocados; proteins: milk, yogurt, eggs, legumes, nuts; and vitamins and minerals: dates, jaggery, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Not to do
• Avoid synthetic and artificial cold drinks
• Don’t diet and eat a lot of fat during Ramadan
• Do not eat very cold and very hot drinks or liquids immediately after Iftar
• Avoid fatty and fried foods, especially in Iftar
• Avoid foods high in fat and calories
• Stay away from refined, processed and packaged foods
Here are some more tips from Dr. Jinal Patel, Registered Dietitian, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Mumbai and Zamurrud M. Patel, CDE, RD Chief Dietitian, Global Hospitals, Parel, Mumbai to keep in mind while fasting in Ramadan.
• Stay hydrated: Try to have water between Iftar and Suhoor to avoid dehydration due to excessive sweating. Try increasing fluid intake to stay hydrated throughout the day. You can also opt for watermelon in the Suhoor meal or eat it after Iftar. Cut down on caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and cola, as caffeine can make you urinate more often and cause dehydration. Even soft drinks containing sugar will add calories to your diet. So stay away from them.
• Choose energizing foods for Suhoor: Try to eat foods that will give you energy throughout the day. It can help you do daily tasks with ease. Eat fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers and beans, chickpeas and lentils, low-fat dairy products, avocados, nuts and olives. You can also get help from an expert who will guide you on what to eat and what to avoid during Ramadan.
• Opt for healthy foods during iftar: Try breaking your fast with soup or dates. Dates are loaded with fiber and will help aid digestion. Dates also relieve constipation. Choose whole grains, skinless chicken, and fish for a good serving of healthy protein.
It goes without saying that milk, yogurt and eggs can help you get enough protein. You can opt for these things without a second thought.
• Say no to fried, salty and processed foods high in fat or sugar. Eat in controlled amount as suggested by the expert. Overeating is a strict no-no as it can lead to acidity, indigestion, sluggishness and fatigue. Salty foods can cause bloating and make you feel uncomfortable.
• Try to eat lighter meals. For the main course, you can eat grilled, boiled or steamed chicken or vegetable dishes. Eating roast chicken and baked potatoes is better than fried samosas and french fries.
• If you have any special/medical conditions, it is best to discuss them with a doctor and your religious leader before beginning any type of fast.