Muslims across the globe are observing the holy month of Ramadan. Devoting themselves to prayers, they abstain from food and water all day.
Believers fast from early dawn to dusk. During this spiritual month, they are also engaged in charity works. As they keep a check on their materialistic wants, food is only of secondary importance.
This period of fasting will aid in cleansing both the body and mind, several studies have proved.
Some healthy food habits to be followed:
Prepare Sahoor or pre-dawn meal by including whole-grain cereals such as wheat, ragi and oats. This will ensure that people remain energetic throughout the day without any hunger pangs.
Pulses, egg, low-fat milk, fish, skinless chicken, nuts and oil can strengthen the body. By including fresh fruits and vegetables, the body will be nourished with vitamins and minerals.
The body might get easily tired as this is also the summer season. Therefore, include 8-12 glasses of water during the Sahoor and Iftar.
As tea, coffee, soda, and chocolate dehydrate the body, include fresh juices, coconut water, buttermilk, lemon juice, soups, milk, milkshakes, salads, and fruits such as watermelon in the meal. Reduce the amount of sugar, salt, chilli and masala powders in the food.
Ensure sufficient sleep and rest to avoid getting headaches, exhaustion, and acidity during this period. Also, avoid getting out in the sun, and do not engage in exercises and hard labour.
Best practices to be followed for Iftar (the feast in the night that breaks the fast)
» First eat 2-3 dates to regularise the low sugar and mineral levels in the body
» Then a glass of water to cool the body
» Follow this with a warm bowl of soup, salad, fruits to energise the body. This will also aid in digestion
» Then start on the main course. Iftar should be wholesome. The main five food items of whole grains, pulses, vegetables, milk and fish-meat should be included. The complete diet of carbohydrates, fibres, proteins, vitamins and minerals should also be ensured in Iftar.
Always remember that a healthy mind only lives in a healthy body.
It is advisable that those suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and kidney ailments consult a doctor before starting to fast.
(Anu Mathew is a dietician at the SUT Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram)