Bridget Benelam of the British Diet Basis provides some dietary recommendation for Muslims in the course of the holy month of Ramadan, and appears at whether or not fasting is definitely good to your physique.
On Monday 12 April, Muslims around the globe, together with myself, started celebrating the holy month of Ramadan. Throughout the month, many Muslims quick all through sunlight hours, solely consuming one meal (the ‘suhoor’ or ‘sehri’) simply earlier than daybreak, and one other (the ‘iftar’) after sundown. Whereas having fun with the celebrations, as a result of influence of the quick, it is rather vital that well being stays entrance of thoughts; my three major items of recommendation are to hydrate, replenish vitamins, and keep away from overindulgence.
Hydration, hydration, hydration!
At each suhoor and iftar, hydration is vital. Unsurprisingly, water is often the most suitable choice. Juices and smoothies which include pure sugars can present some vitality in addition to hydration, nevertheless, to keep away from extra sugar consumption it’s finest to have these sparsely. Low-fat, water-rich meals, together with soup or yoghurt, are additionally good choices for hydrating and fuelling whereas breaking the quick.
Contemporary fruit is a conventional option to break the quick in lots of South Asian cultures and it is a good, wholesome possibility as fruit offers fibre, pure sugars, fluids and a few nutritional vitamins and minerals. Dates, that are an integral a part of Ramadan, additionally include fibre, pure sugars and minerals like potassium, copper and manganese. They’re one other nutrient-rich, scrumptious option to begin or finish the fasting day – you may additionally strive different dried fruits like prunes, raisins or apricots.
Hold your steadiness
After we are celebrating, and after fasting for a protracted interval, it’s pure to wish to deal with your self with some scrumptious meals. However, whereas having fun with this time with your loved ones is vital, you must also bear in mind to maintain a way of steadiness. Throughout non-fasting hours we have to deal with the standard of our diets, consuming a steadiness of meals to maintain our our bodies wholesome. As soon as the quick has been damaged and you’ve got rehydrated, it’s time to prioritise the important thing meals and vitamins which are going to let you lead your life healthily and assist your efforts all through the month.
Wholegrains, fruit and greens, dairy meals and protein-rich meals, like lean meat, fish, eggs and beans, ought to all kind part of the eating regimen. As a meal thought, you may have a variety of fish, meat or pulse-based curries together with loads of greens, served with rice, chapattis and yogurt. Though meat is usually discovered within the cuisines of many Muslim international locations, dishes with extra plant-based sources of protein, like beans and lentils, add further fibre and are naturally decrease in fats.
Originally of the day, in addition to prioritising hydration, consuming starchy meals and people which are excessive in fibre, reminiscent of oats, wholegrain breads and wholegrain breakfast cereals (ideally decrease sugar choices), will assist offer you vitality for the day. Attempt to keep away from something too salty, like processed meat, olives and pickles, as these might depart you with a protracted day of feeling thirsty!
Is fasting good for you?
This time of yr typically sparks a dialog round the advantages of fasting typically for well being and weight reduction. In relation to Ramadan fasting, there are some research that recommend it could have advantages by way of weight reduction and metabolic well being, though we’d like extra analysis to substantiate these. There have additionally been research on intermittent fasting as a weight reduction technique and common strategies embrace the 5:2 eating regimen, the place energy are closely restricted on two days of the week. Analysis means that this strategy could be efficient for some folks and, though intermittent fasting isn’t superior to other forms of weight reduction eating regimen, it could swimsuit sure people who don’t wish to limit their meals consumption on a regular basis.
Offered you’re typically in good well being, Ramadan fasting isn’t dangerous to well being, however it can be crucial that we eat a steadiness of wholesome meals and maintain hydrated. It’s a time to have fun with family members and, whereas COVID-19 restrictions imply we can’t benefit from the giant celebrations we might in a traditional yr, we hope everybody has a cheerful and wholesome Ramadan at dwelling or out in your native space.
If you want extra data on consuming effectively throughout seasonal celebrations like Ramadan, go to the British Nutritional Foundation’s (BNF) website.