12 May Tips for Healthy Eating During Ramadan
The most commonly consumed foods by Prophet Mohammed were milk, dates, lamb/mutton and oats. Healthy foods mentioned in the Holy Qur’an are fruit and vegetables, such as olives, onions, cucumber, figs, dates, grapes as well as pulses such as lentils.
Complex carbohydrates are foods that will help release energy slowly during the long hours of fasting and are found in grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millets, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour and basmati rice.
Fibre-rich foods are also digested slowly and include bran, cereals, whole wheat, grains and seeds, potatoes with skin, vegetables such as green beans and almost all fruit, including apricots, prunes and figs.
Foods to avoid are the heavily processed and fast-burning foods that contain refined carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour or fatty food like cakes, biscuits, chocolates and sweets. It may also be worth avoiding the caffeine content in drinks such as tea, coffee and cola (caffeine is a diuretic and stimulates faster water loss through urination).
- Saher (sunrise) is the morning meal, served before dawn when the fast starts
- Iftar (sunset) is the evening snack when the fast is broken before dinner.
During Iftar, dates and juice are traditionally consumed. Include three dates and 4oz (120ml) of juice to help normalise possible low sugar (hypoglycaemia) and provide the much needed “instant” energy along with hydration.
If you have diabetes, please consult with your healthcare provider for medication and diet.
8 Tips For Healthy Eating During Ramadan
- Cut down on saturated fats, bake or grill foods instead of frying them, and if frying, decrease the amount of oil use. Try and measure the oil in tablespoon instead of just pouring it from the bottle. All oils have the same fat and energy content. Oils such as rapeseed oil are a healthier choice, but still try to use as little as possible. Remember using 1 tablespoon of oil when cooking adds 120 kcal to your meal.
- Choose lower fat and lean cuts of meat. Skin chicken and remove any visible fat before cooking. Having too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases the chance of developing heart disease. Try to avoid butter, ghee, lard palm oil.
- Eat lots of fruit and vegetables for better health you should eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day. They are high in vitamins and fibre and are low in fat.
- Eat slowly and chew food well. Because you have not eaten all day, there will be a tendency to want to eat a large quantity of food quickly. Remember that it take 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you are full – put small portion on your plate first.
- Eating oily fish regularly can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and help protect your heart. The rich source of omega-3 fats is oily fish found in fresh and canned oily fish such as herring. Mackerel, pilchard, sardines, salmon, fresh tuna. However tinned tuna contains very little omega- fats. How do omega-3 protect the heart? Help the heart to beat more regularly. Reduce the stickiness of the blood and makes it less likely to clot. Protects the arteries from damage. Aim for one serving of oily fish (high in omega-3) and 1 serving of white fish per week.
- Walk in the evening for at least 30 minutes is an ideal routine activity. Walking will not only help your metabolism, but also help your mind stay clear. However, if you`ve eaten a big meal, blood needs to move to your digestive system rather than to your muscles, so a brisk walk straight after a heavy meal is not a good idea. Wait 1-2 hours after your meal before engaging in any strenuous activity. Best to keep your meals light.
- Avoid too much tea or caffeine. Both of these are diuretics and when consumed in large quantities can increase urine excretion and the body can lose valuable minerals, salt and fluids that you need during the day.
- Indigestion can be caused by over- eating or eating too many fried, fatty and spicy foods, or foods that produce gas. Fasting can also cause increased acidity, leading to the feeling of indigestion. To avoid indigestion, try not to over eat. Be sure to drink plenty of water and include foods rich in fibre to neutralise acidity and promote a feeling of fullness without overeating.
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