Saturday,23 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1394, (17 - 23 May 2018)
Saturday,23 February, 2019
Issue 1394, (17 - 23 May 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Enjoying a healthy Ramadan

Enjoying a healthy Ramadan
Enjoying a healthy Ramadan

It’s Ramadan again, the most precious and awe-inspiring time of the year. But while everyone is welcoming the holy month in his or her own way, there may be mistakes that should be avoided to ensure a good Ramadan experience.

Other than fasting and worship, Ramadan is the perfect opportunity to address some of our wrong habits and teach ourselves self-discipline and the benefits of giving and sacrificing for the sake of something greater and better than ourselves. 

Here are some wrong habits people may have during Ramadan:

Skipping Sohour: Some people may skip this pre-dawn meal because they think it makes them hungrier or they just want that extra bit of sleep. But by skipping Sohour, you are less likely to get the recommended servings of fibre, vitamins, carbohydrates, protein and minerals that provide you with energy and hydration for the next fasting day. 

Drinking too much caffeine: Either in the form of coffee, tea or energy drinks, consuming caffeine excessively will only further dehydrate the body during fasting days.

Eating too quickly: Your brain needs about 15 to 20 minutes before it signals to your stomach that you’re full. This means that if you’re eating faster than your brain can signal, you can end up eating a lot more than you need. A Japanese study has found that eating too quickly is strongly associated with being overweight. Chew slowly and enjoy your meal. 

Overeating at Iftar: Avoid temptation and eat moderately. Eating excessively will not protect you from hunger in the days of Ramadan. Consuming excessive amounts of food after a long day of fasting will burden your system and cause indigestion and heartburn. In general, overeating makes you unhealthy and hence unproductive.  

Increasing salt intake: This can increase your body’s need for hydration, and if you don’t compensate with enough water, your risk of dehydration will be higher.

Eating less fruit and vegetables: Eat a bowl of salad before you start your Iftar and incorporate fruit as a snack to ensure you get your daily required amount of vitamins and minerals.

Inadequate hydration: Hunger makes us overfill our stomachs, leaving no space for fluids. But water is important, especially during this hot month. With only about a nine-hour eating window, not drinking enough fluids can lead to dehydration, constipation and other digestive illnesses. Try to break your fast with water first and keep drinking small amounts frequently. Try to drink six to eight cups of water in total each night.

Indulging in high-fat foods: Eating greasy foods on an empty stomach can lead to indigestion, which is responsible for stomach cramping and bloating. Moreover, deep-fried foods are high sources of saturated fat and calories. And high calorie intake coupled with inactivity can put you at risk of gaining weight. 

Consuming sugar-rich food and drinks: Ramadan sweets and juices are loaded with calories that will contribute to weight gain. Hydrate yourself with water and opt for dried fruits and dark chocolate instead.

Over-sleeping: Fasting in Ramadan doesn’t give us a ticket to oversleep and go to workplaces late. Some people switch timings to accommodate the day of fasting, and instead of using their valuable time during the day they simply switch off the fast by snoozing. Sleeping away the fasting hours means avoiding the trials of Ramadan. When you are mindful of the experience, its spiritual rewards help you manage the physical hardship. 

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