Come Ramadhan, our diet is radically altered. Our meals get condensed in mornings and evenings, with no intake in-between for an extended period of time. For some of us, the intake of oily foods skyrockets. These changes in diet aren’t well received by everyone.
Dr. Farouk Haffejee of the Islamic Medical Association of South Africa (Durban) has created a list of recommendations for dealing with Ramadhan in a healthy fashion. They deal with common problems encountered in Ramadhan.
Dr. Haffejee suggests that in the month of Ramadhan, “our diet should not differ very much from our normal diet and should be as simple as possible.” He says that our diet should maintain our normal weight, although he does mention that if one is over-weight, Ramadhan is a good time to shed some pounds.
He also recommends foods that last longer. “In view of the long hours of fasting, we should consume slow digesting foods including fibre containing-foods rather than fast-digesting foods. Slow digesting foods last up to 8 hours, while fast-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours,” writes Dr. Haffejee.
Slow-digesting foods are foods that contain grains and seeds such as barley, wheat, oats, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour, and unpolished rice. These are called complex carbohydrates.
Fast-burning foods are foods that contain ingredients such as sugar and white flour. They are called refined carbohydrates.
According to Dr. Haffejee, whole wheat, grains, seeds, vegetables (like green beans, peas, and spinach), fruit with skin, dried fruit (such as dried apricots, figs, prunes, and almonds) are all examples of fibre-containing foods.
Dr. Haffejee says that meals in Ramadhan should be well-balanced, and they should contain foods from each food group, such as fruits, vegetables, meat/chicken/fish, bread/cereals and dairy products.
He discourages fried foods that some of us are addicted to. “Fried foods are unhealthy and should be limited. They cause indigestion, heart-burn, and weight problems,” Dr. Haffejee points out.
Below are Dr. Haffejee’s recommendations for a Ramadhan diet:
Fried and fatty foods.
Foods containing too much sugar.
Over-eating especially at suhoor.
Too much tea at suhoor: Tea makes you pass more urine taking with it
valuable mineral salts that your body would need during the day.
Smoking cigarettes: If you cannot give up smoking, cut down gradually
starting a few weeks before Ramadhan. Smoking is unhealthy and one should stop completely.
Complex carbohydrates at suhoor so that the food lasts longer making
you less hungry.
Dates are excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium
Almonds are rich in protein and fibre with less fat.
Bananas are a good source of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates.
As much water or fruit juices as possible between iftar and bedtime so that your body may adjust fluid levels in time.
watch this space for more diet tips!