Ramadan: Four tips to help you eat well and stay healthy

Ramadan: four tips to help you eat well and stay healthy

The month of Ramadan began on March 22 this year. It is one of the most important months of the year for Muslims. During Ramadan, the majority of Muslims fast during the day and cannot eat or drink until sunset – after which many have a big feast during iftar (the meal that marks the end of the fast). /p>

Fasting days can be difficult. But there are plenty of things people can do to take care of their mental and physical health during Ramadan. Here are four:

1. Eat well

There is a small window of opportunity in your day to supply your body with all the key nutrients it needs. So you should focus on eating high quality food.

During iftar, drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet of carbohydrates and starches, vegetables, proteins and dairy products, for natural fat intake. Having these nutrients in your meals keeps you hydrated and full longer, and can even boost your immune system, which is especially important this year.

During sahur (the pre-dawn meal), focus on eating low-glycemic foods, such as whole foods, fruits, and vegetables, including oats, rye, barley , brown rice, quinoa, berries, apples and oranges. These foods don't cause blood sugar spikes and help you feel full longer. It can also help keep your appetite in check and help keep you going throughout the day.

2. Avoid certain ingredients

In particular, you should avoid salt, caffeine, sugars and processed foods.

When preparing meals for sahur, it is important to be careful not to consume too much salt, as it dehydrates you and makes you thirsty during the day. Caffeine should also be avoided. This is because drinks containing caffeine have a diuretic effect and increase the production of urine, which could also lead to dehydration.

It is also important to avoid processed foods and foods and beverages with added sugars. These foods have relatively low nutritional value, don't keep you full for as long, and are also linked to an increased risk of disease. In addition, overconsumption of these types of foods can damage the heart and kidneys, slow down the immune system and lead to weight gain.

Ramadan: four tips to help you eat well and stay healthy

Try not to eat too many fried foods. highviews/Shutterstock

You can replace fried foods, like samosas, with healthier choices like dates and fruit. Likewise, try replacing sugary foods like donuts, ice cream, and cakes with foods like fruit salads and yogurts.

Replace frying with healthier cooking methods like baking or broiling. If you're making a curry, stew, or sauce, consider using a healthy amount of tomatoes and onions, as tomatoes can help maintain healthy blood pressure and lower blood sugar. As for onions, they are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre.

3. Exercise

Muslims observing Ramadan will find it difficult to be active. But moving has huge health benefits. This is why it is important to continue exercising regularly during Ramadan.

However, it is important to note that your energy level and patience during fasting days will not be the same. Therefore, avoid doing high-intensity exercise like fast running or weight lifting during the day. However, you may be able to do it in the evening after iftar (obviously if the curfew remains in effect in your area for the next few weeks, the physical activity will be done indoors…)

< p>Instead, start with light exercise for 15 to 30 minutes, such as walking, jogging, Pilates, yoga, or stretching. Try taking a brisk walk in the park or garden, or a short bike ride or walk. Walking is the easiest exercise to fit into your fasting day.

If you wish, you can gradually increase the amount and intensity of exercise you do depending on how you feel every day.

4. Plan your meals

It is important to plan your meals. Don't skip sahur to keep up with your sleep pattern. And whether you are studying, working from home or going to work, planning what you will eat during sahur and iftar is essential. What you eat impacts your energy level the next day; therefore favor quality foods rich in nutrients.

It is also important to avoid working during the lunch break, a common mistake many people make during Ramadan. Even if you can't eat or drink, try to walk around and get some fresh air and take breaks, as this can improve your mental health. Maybe make a daily to-do list, write down what's bothering you, and plan effective solutions.

Of course, it's important to eat and drink your favorite foods and drinks during Ramadan. But be sure to take care of yourself to stay healthy throughout the month.

Ayaz Safi, Lecturer and Co-Course Leader for MSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition, University of Westminster

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Ramadan: four tips to help you eat well and stay healthy

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