Eating Healthy in Ramadhan!
Islam is an all encompassing religion, with rules and guidelines on all aspects of life. It is therefore not surprising that fasting in Ramadhan is a holistic exercise, extending beyond mere physical abstinence from food and drinks during daylight hours. To attain the absolute reward of fasting, one should also discipline his eyes,ears,tongue and even private parts from obscene acts.
As narrated by Bukhari,Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said:’Whoever do not abstain from deceitful speech and actions,allah is not in need of him leaving his food and drink.’
Our diet in Ramadhan should not differ much from our normal diet. Bearing in mind that a healthy diet and lifestyle is actually fard(obligatory) on all Muslims.
Our normal diet should contain foods from all the major food groups:
- fruits & vegetables
- rice & alternatives (bread, cereal, pasta, potatoes)
- meat, fish
- milk & dairy products
- fats, oil, sugar
In view of the long fasting hours(unless you happen to be in the Southern hemisphere and experiencing winter, it is advisable to consume slow digesting food that will allow for sustained glucose(sugar) levels.Slow digesting food can provide energy for 8 hours whilst rapidly digested foods will only last 3-4 hours.
So what are slow digesting foods?
Complex carbohydrates, such as barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour, unpolished rice (brown rice,basmati).These food all are slow energy releasing food.So too are fibre rich foods such as bran,cereal,whole wheat grains and seeds,vegetables such as green beans,and almost all fruits,including apricots,prunes and figs.
We should also ensure that we drink sufficient fluids( water or unsweetened fruit juices) between Iftar and bedtime and at Sahur. To prevent dehydration.
It is advisable to avoid consuming the following
- spicy food as it may cause heartburn and increase thirst
- deep fried and fatty foods
- high sugar foods
- also avoid caffeine drinks such as coke,coffee or tea. Caffeine is a diuretic and will cause us to lose more water through urination thereby increasing thirst sensation.
A suggested eating plan would be:
For Iftar (break fast): With some dates(3) as per the Prophet’s tradition (sunnah). The Prophet pbuh said:’ When one of you breaks the fast ,he should do so with dates, because it is blessed. If he couldn’t get dates,then(break your fast with) water, because it purifies'(Tirmidh).
Dates will provide the energy to meet the body’s immediate need at Iftar time. Fruit juices will provide a similar revitalising effect.Soup will ensure rehydration and minerals
Avoid the traditional rich dishes which follow at dinner time.
Eat more fruits and vegetables.
As for Sahur(pre dawn meal), the Prophet pbuh said: ‘Take Sahur before dawn,for verily in the Sahur,there is blessing.'(Agreed upon)
Sahur. This should be light, consisting of slow digesting food to ensure sustained energy levels. End the sahur with plenty of fluids and fruits.
Avoid caffeine at sahur.
May Allah bless all Muslims with good health and strength of faith to fulfil our 3rd pillar of Islam.