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Food and drinks to indulge or avoid during Ramadan

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Muslims all over the world are fasting daily because it is the Holy month of Ramadan, where they eat at pre-dawn (Suhoor), abstain from eating during the day and break their fast at sunset with a meal called Iftar. These tips will help with knowing what kind of meals to eat, which to avoid, and general health practices.

. Before fasting, consult your doctor especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition like: Type 2 diabetes, kidney diseases, hypoglycaemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, hyperglycaemia or you are pregnant. It’s best to be safe.

. Change your exercise routine due to the changes in your dietary routine. Light to moderate activities is advised. High intensity workout may need to be on hold during the fasting period. However, if you have to exercise, a better time to do so is in the evenings just before Iftar.

. Do not over eat to compensate for meal times that were lost, do not double the portions because it can affect your metabolism. Fasting is a great time to maintain a healthy weight and overeating definitely will sabotage that.

. Eat gradually and set a good pace while breaking your fast. It is advisable to think about your stomach as a car engine that has been dormant for a while; to restart it would need a bit of warming before driving. The digestive system is the same: start by hydrating with water, then some dates, a light soup or snack before your main meal.

. Meal Planning and meal prepping while fasting is extremely important because the frequency and amount of food you eat daily is reduced so whatever you eat has to contain essential nutrients that can refuel and sustain you. If you do not meal plan ahead of time, you are likely to eat the wrong kind of foods. After breaking your fast, prepare your ingredients ahead of time for your next meal so that putting it together will be easier.

. The first thing to do after breaking your fast is to replenish by drinking fluids, preferably water.  Other fluids like freshly squeezed fruits and milk are also advisable. Drink about 1 to 2 glasses of fluid before eating your meal and you need at least 10 glasses of water daily so try to drink more water between Iftar and Suhoor to make up for lost time.

. Eat meals that can provide energy to last till the next meal, especially at Suhoor. This meal has to contain complex carbohydrates because they take longer to digest that means you will be filled up for longer and they contain more nutrients. Food like beans, vegetables, whole grains (Quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta), potatoes contain complex carbohydrates. You can eat low fat dairy products with your meal and some healthy unsaturated fats like avocado, unsalted nuts, salmon

. Traditionally, Iftar starts with dates and there’s a good reason why people break their fasts with dates. Dates are known to be a nutritious source of natural sugar they instantly refuel your body with much needed energy. If you get occasional headaches especially towards the end of the day while fasting, it may be caused by low blood sugar, and one way to balance sugar level is by eating dates, at least two.

.  Avoid eating fried or oily foods while fasting (no matter how tempting) because fried foods make you dehydrated quickly. They might be tempting, but try avoid them completely or reduce intake.

.  If you love coffee try to cut it out completely or reduce the amount you consume if you cannot cut it off. This is because coffee has caffeine, which can lead to insomnia and restlessness if you take a lot of it. In addition, drinking coffee does not hydrate and keeps you longing for water the whole day.  Also, reduce or totally cut out drinking tea during Suhoor as this will cause you to urinate frequently and consequently get dehydrated.

. Eat hydrating vegetables like cucumbers, lettuce, and other vegetables are high in fibre and are hydrating. It will help you cool off, rehydrate, help reduce constipation and it’s great for your skin!

. Stay away from Salty food (salted nuts, salted crisps, chips etc.) because they cause your sodium levels to fluctuate and this can make you feel thirsty during fasting. Salty foods can make your body retain water and make you feel bloated.  Also, watch your intake of processed food.

. Nuts are great during fasting especially almonds because they contain good fats and eating nuts can give you the feeling of satisfaction, which in turn reduces the need to excessively indulge yourself.


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RamadanYemisi Odusanya
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