During this Holy month of Ramadan, millions of Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, eating a meal (the Suhoor) pre-dawn and another after sunset (the Iftar). If you’re taking part in Ramadan, here are 5 tips you can follow to stay healthy.
1. Suhoor should be wholesome to give you sufficient energy to last until Iftar. You are recommended to consume high fibre foods (including fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereal, wholemeal bread and brown rice) as they will help sustain your energy levels. You should also include eggs as well as low-fat milk and yogurt. These foods are rich in protein, which is essential to build and repair your body tissue and strengthen your immunity. Do incorporate healthy fats (e.g. salmon, olives and unsalted nuts) as well.
2. Eat a healthy and balanced Iftar. Break your fast traditionally by eating three dates (high in fiber). Include fruits and vegetables. Besides containing large amounts of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, fruits and vegetables can help prevent you from getting constipated. Next, you should go for whole grains like brown rice or wholegrain noodles. They serve as long-lasting energy sources. Additionally, get adequate amount of protein from lean meat, skinless chicken and fish. Lastly, it is recommended for you to use healthier cooking methods like steaming, baking and grilling.
3. Avoid overeating during Iftar. Eating too much will cause you to put on weight, apart from indigestion. Remember that it takes approximately 20 minutes for your body to register feeling of fullness.
4. Stay hydrated. Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of fluids a day before dawn and after sunset. Water is the best source of hydration. Avoid drinking excessively at one time as this will cause bloating and even water intoxication. In addition, you should reduce your intake of caffeinated beverages (e.g. coffee, tea and cola) as they can increase your frequency of urination, which may result in dehydration.
5. Do light exercises (e.g. going for a walk) after Iftar. Regular exercises can help elevate your energy levels during the day.