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Fasting Healthy: A Ramadan diet plan

  • Published at 02:11 am July 13th, 2013
Fasting Healthy: A Ramadan diet plan

Fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan can be good for one’s health and personal development. Ramadan fasting is not just about disciplining the body to restrain from eating food and drinking water from predawn until sunset. Ramadan fasting has spiritual, physical, psychological, and social benefits; however, man-made problems may occur, if fasting is not properly practiced.

First of all, there is no need to consume excess food at iftar, dinner and  sehri. Researchers said, the body has regulatory mechanisms that activate during fasting. There is efficient utilisation of body fat. The energy and growth process slows down during Ramadan fasting.  A diet that is less than a normal amount of food intake but balanced diet  is sufficient enough to keep a person healthy and active during the month of Ramadan. Health problems can emerge as a result of excess food intake, foods that make the diet unbalanced and insufficient sleep. Such a lifestyle also contradicts the essential requirements and spirit of Ramadan.

Healthy dietary plan for adults

According to Sunna (the practices of Prophet Muhammad, Pbuh) and research findings referred in this report, a dietary plan is given here.

Items in iftar

Three dates, half cup of fresh orange juice, one cup of vegetable soup, two plain cracker biscuits or Bakorkhani or small amount of any other dry food made of wheat or flour. The body’s immediate need at the time of iftar is to get an easily available energy source in the form of glucose for every living cell, particularly the brain and nerve cells. Dates and juices are good sources of sugars. Dates and juice in the above quantity are sufficient to bring low blood glucose levels to normal levels. Juice and soup help maintain water and mineral balance in the body. Different studies about South Asian iftar have showed an unbalanced diet and too many servings of sherbets and sweets with added sugar and fried items have been found to be unhealthy.

Dinner

It is better to cook main dishes in dinner with three tea spoon of oil. Dinner may have two ounces of meat (chicken/ beef/lamb/ goat) or fish, half cup of okra (Lady’s fingers), four ounces of cooked whole chana (chickpea) or any other beans. Meat and beans are a good source of protein, minerals, and certain vitamins. Beans are a good source of dietary fiber, as well. 

Two slices of whole wheat bread or one cup of cooked rice or combinations can be taken. This group is a good source of complex carbohydrates, which are a good source of energy and provide some protein, minerals, and dietary fiber. Complex carbohydrate provides energy very slowly and for a long time which is needed in Ramadan fasting.  One cup of mixed vegetable salad (lettuce, carrot, parsley, cucumber, broccoli, coriander leaves, cauliflower or other vegetables as desired) with two teaspoons of corn oil and two teaspoon of vinegar should be added with the meals.

Three-quarter cup of plain yogurt/lassi without sugar is better to take as the finishing of dinner. Milk and dairy products are good sources of protein and calcium, which are essential for body tissue maintenance and several physiological functions. Then take one orange or any citrus and other fruits like half cup grapes, one ounce of nuts (mixed/roasted) without salt. Eat fruits as the last item of the dinner or soon after dinner, to facilitate digestion and prevent many digestive problems. Citrus fruits provide vitamin C. Fruits are a good source of dietary fiber. Fruits and mixed nuts may be eaten as a snack after dinner or before sleep.

Pre-dawn meal (Sehri)

Consume a light sehri. Eat two slices of whole wheat bread or one cup of rice, one cup of milk, one-quarter cup of vegetable salad with two teaspoons of corn oil and two teaspoons of vinegar, one skinned apple or any fruit, two teaspoons of sugar with tea or coffee. It is better to avoid tea/coffee because they act like diuretics, increase urine production and body gets dehydrated.

In our country the conventional foods we eat as sehri and iftar are not healthy because they are full of oil and stuffed with sugar. Most iftar foods are fried and spicy, and these become the cause of gastric irritation. Sometimes eating heavy meals like roast, paratha and rezala during iftar becomes a reason of discomfort for the abdomen, heartburn, nausea, belching and bloating of stomach. These foods also make you overweight and make you lazy.

Lack of vegetables and fruit intake at iftar, sehri and dinner becomes the cause of constipation. To overcome dehydration, during the time between iftar and sehri, plenty of water should be taken. If we eat healthy food in a controlled manner then the body will get a servicing during the month of Ramadan as well as blood-pressure, cholesterol, uric acid, body weight will be under control. Thus we can achieve the highest benefit from Ramadan.