The Ramadhaan Diet

869893_apples_and_grapes.jpgAssalamu-Alaykum (Peace be Upon you)

Well I did ask our resident pharmacist for a post on this topic, but then I received this wonderful e-mail from a local Alim (Scholar) and so I couldn’t resist.

The e-mail was quite long and so I’ve chopped it up a little bit and as well as giving guidelines as to what to eat and what to avoid, it also lists a few common health problems encountered during Ramadhaan, like headaches, constipation and lethargy, and how to combat them……

Anyway, here’s Hidayah Blog’s guide on eating healthy this Ramadhaan. (Sorry Shoyab!)

In view of the long hours of fasting, we should consume slow digesting foods including fibre containing-foods rather than fast-digesting foods. Slow digesting foods last up to 8 hours, while fast-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours.

Slow-digesting foods are foods that contain grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, whole meal flour, unpolished rice, etc – these are what’s known as complex carbohydrates.

Fast-burning foods are foods that contain sugar, white flour, etc – aka refined carbohydrates.

Fiber-containing foods are bran-containing foods, whole wheat, grains and seeds, vegetables like green beans, peas, sem (papry), marrow mealies, (!?) spinach, and other herbs like methie, the leaves of beetroot (which are iron-rich), fruit with skin, dried fruit especially dried apricots, figs and prunes, almonds, etc.

The foods eaten should be well-balanced, containing foods from each
food group, i.e. fruits, vegetables, meat/chicken/fish, bread/cereals and
dairy products.

Fried foods are unhealthy and should be limited. They cause indigestion, heart-burn, and weight problems.

AVOID

  • Fried and fatty foods.
  • Foods containing too much sugar.
  • Over-eating especially at Suhr (pre-dawn meal taken before fasting).
  • Too much tea at Suhr. Tea makes you pass more urine taking with it valuable mineral salts that your body would need during the day.
  • Smoking cigarettes. If you cannot give up smoking, cut down gradually starting a few weeks before Ramadhaan. Smoking is unhealthy (some scholars consider it Haraam [forbidden]) and one should stop completely.

EAT

  • Complex carbohydrates at Suhr so that the food lasts longer making you less hungry.
  • Haleem (a kind of thick soup) is an excellent source of protein and is a slow-burning food.
  • Dates are excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium.
  • Almonds are rich in protein and fibre with less fat.
  • Bananas are a good source of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates.

DRINK

  • As much water or fruit juices as possible between Iftar (time of breaking fast at sunset) and bedtime so that your body may adjust fluid levels in time.

CONSTIPATION

  • Constipation can cause piles (haemorroids), fissures (painful cracks in anal canal) and indigestion with a bloated feeling.
  • Caused by : Too much refined foods, too little water and not enough fibre in the diet.
  • Remedy : Avoid excessive refined foods, increase water intake, use bran in baking, brown flour when making Roti (chappatis).

INDIGESTION AND WIND

  • Caused by: Over-eating. Too much fried and fatty foods, spicy foods, and foods that produce wind e.g. eggs, cabbage, lentils, carbonated drinks like Cola also produce gas.
  • Remedy : Do not over-eat, drink fruit juices or better still drink water. Avoid fried foods, add ajmor to wind-producing foods.

LETHARGY & LOW BLOOD PRESSURE

  • Excessive sweating, weakness, tiredness, lack of energy, dizziness, especially on getting up from sitting position, pale appearance and feeling faint are symptoms associated with “low blood pressure”. This tends to occur towards the afternoon.
  • Caused by: Too little fluid intake, decreased salt intake.
  • Remedy: Keep cool, increase fluid and salt intake.
  • Caution : Low blood pressure should be confirmed by taking a blood pressure reading when symptoms are present. Persons with high blood pressure may need their medication adjusted during Ramadhaan. They should consult their doctor.

HEADACHE

  • Caused by : Caffeine and tobacco-withdrawal, doing too much in one day, lack of sleep, hunger usually occur as the day goes by and worsens at the end of the day. When associated with low blood pressure, the headache can be quite severe and can also cause nausea before Iftar.
  • Remedy : Cut down caffeine and tobacco slowly starting a week or two before Ramadhaan (might be a bit late now!). Herbal and caffeine-free teas may be substituted. Reorganize your schedule during the Ramadhaan so as to have adequate sleep.

LOW BLOOD SUGAR

  • Weakness, dizziness, tiredness, poor concentration, perspiring easily, feeling shaky (tremor), unable to perform physical activities, headache, palpitations are symptoms of low blood sugar.
  • Causes in non-diabetics : Having too much sugar i.e. refined carbohydrates especially at Suhr. The body produces too much insulin causing the blood glucose to drop.
  • Remedy : Eat something at Suhr and limit sugar-containing foods and drinks.
  • Caution : Diabetics may need to adjust their medication in Ramadhaan, consult your doctor.

MUSCLE CRAMPS

  • Caused by: Inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium foods.
  • Remedy : Eat foods rich in the above minerals e.g. vegetables, fruit, dairy products, meat and dates.
  • Caution : Those on high blood pressure medication and with kidney stone problems should consult their doctor.

PEPTIC ULCERS, HEART BURN, GASTRITIS AND HIATUS HERNIA

Increased acid levels in the empty stomach in Ramadhaan aggravate the above conditions. It presents as a burning feeling in the stomach area under the ribs and can extend upto the throat. Spicy foods, coffee, and Cola drinks worsen these conditions.

And Allah knows best.

Ma’as-salaam

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3 Responses to “The Ramadhaan Diet”

  1. mashallah i think this needs to be printed and put up in local mosques- so everyone can learn- prob makes us all eat healthy as well

  2. Well fell free to print off a copy and stick it up in Masjid-e-Hidaya T

  3. No mention of HONEY..!

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