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Diet During Ramadan

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HEALTH BENEFITS AND DIET DURING RAMADAN FASTING

 

The fasting has great significance in Islam. ALLAHs messenger (PBUH) says ALLAH said “every act of man is for him except fasting”. It is done for my sake and I will give reward for it. Fasting is a practical embodiment of submission and servitude to ALLAH, a protection against passion. Fasting is also a means to enter Jannah (Paradise), an expiation of sins, a cause of happiness both in life and thereafter.

 

The Islamic fast has beneficial features, the eating pattern and its unique medicinal Benefits are due to the following factors.

 

Dietary analysis study shows fasting during Ramadan doesn’t lead to malnutrition or inadequate calorie intake. Caloric intake is slightly below the recommended dietary intake, since there is no restriction on type, amount or any selective food intake during iftar and sehri. Taraveeh the additional prayer prescribed after dinner which helps metabolize the food, burns approximately 200 calories. Salat prayer uses all the muscles and joint and can be placed in the category of a mild exercise in terms of caloric output.

 

Ramadan fasting is actually an exercise in self discipline, helps in breaking habit such as smoking, constant nibbling. Psychological effect observed describes a feeling of inner peace and harmony.

 

Fasting is obligatory to all Muslims during month of Ramadan with exemption to sick, traveler, pregnant and lactating mother, inspite of the fact that Islam provides exemption from fasting for people suffering from illness like diabetes, heart problems etc.

 

People still want to fast for personal convictions; therefore the following guidelines are suggested:

 

A)  Diabetes

Diabetic who is controlled by diet alone can fast and hopefully with weight reduction may control their glucose levels. Scientific studies have concluded fasting is safe for type 2 diabetics. Diabetics taking oral drugs should consult their physician and reduce their dose to one third and take the drug not in the morning but with iftar, if they develop low blood sugar level they should immediately break the fast. Diabetics taking insulin should preferably not fast. Diabetics if they fast should still take a diabetic diet during iftar and sehri. The sweet snack common in Ramadan should be avoided and sugar level should be checked before breakfast and after ending the fast.

 

B) Hypertensive and cardiac patients

Those who have mild to moderate high blood pressure with being overweight should be encouraged to fast which may help to lower their blood pressure. Those with severe hypertension and cardiac problem should avoid fasting specially person suffering from congestive cardiac diseases.

 

Ramadan fasting statistically shows improvement in HDL (good) cholesterol and reduction of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Ramadan fasting may provide one means of preventing progression of atherosclerosis in high-risk Patients, and possibly for reversing existing atherosclerotic lesions.

 

C) Obesity

Ramadan fasting being an intermediately type of fast doesn’t prove to be very useful for obese individuals as weight loss objective, because initially the loss is of water. But avoiding the heavy fried meals at iftar will definitely give some results which can be maintained for a long term goal.

 

D) Gastrointestinal disorders

Peptic ulcer patients should avoid fasting as there are significant hazards statistically and clinically observed. Those suffering from mild to moderate acidity can consume antacids at the time of sehri to prevent the outburst followed by simple meal. Other mild stomach ailments have been seen to get decreased as the stomach gets rest for hours.

 

E) Pregnancy

The prophet (pbuh) said the pregnant and nursing women do not fast, this is line with god not wanting anyone, even a small fetus to suffer but still many women fast due to spiritual reason. Fasting during first and third trimester should be avoided. The possible damage to the fetus may not be from malnutrition provided the iftar and saheri are adequate but from dehydration, from prolonged abstinence from water.

Dietary tips during Ramadan

  • Avoid overeating specially at sehri.
  • Avoid too much tea and coffee during sehri as it makes you pass more urine losing valuable mineral salt that your body needs.
  • Eat complex carbohydrate at sehri so that the food lasts longer making you less hungry. Example oats, chapatti, multi grain bread, whole cereals.
  • Drink more water or fruit juices as possible between iftar and bedtime to avoid dehydration.
  • Increased acid level in the stomach in Ramadan leads to acidity therefore spicy fried food, coffee and cold drinks should be avoided, preferring normal home made food with awla and kokum juice.
  • It is important to follow good time management practice for prayer, sleep, studies or job.
  • Intake of a balanced diet is important to maintain good health sustain an active lifestyle and attain the full benefits of Ramadan.

   

Ms. Ruhi Peje

Dietician

Guru Nanak Hospital,

Mumbai


EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: As part of our mission to provide our users with valuable information about matters of job, health, appeals etc., iKokani actively seeks a diversity of viewpoints in its columns, consultancy, commentaries and other opinion-based content. Opinions expressed in these articles are not intended to represent iKokani editorial policy and do not necessarily reflect the views of iKokani's staff, members or supporters.

 

 

 

 

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