The holy month Ramadan starts today. It is the ninth month of Islamic Calendar. The Muslims world wide observe fasting from sunrise to sunset for a complete Lunar month. Moulding of self discipline occurs and this is also a time for spiritual reflection and one learns to overcome any temptations.
A complete fasting is done during the day. The meal after the sunset is called IFTAR and the meal taken before dawn is SUHUR or commonly known as ATHAZHAM. The first day time meal is taken on the festive day of EID AL-FITR
The main health issues people find during fasting is dehydration ( especially when it comes during the summer season), headache, dizziness and constipation. During fasting, the body has a tendency to store fat. So it is important to go for healthy food. I would like to lay down a few helpful points to have a healthy fasting month.
Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate. Hydration helps to solve most of the health issues during the Ramadan. You can take fluids and also give priority in taking fluid rich foods like fruits, vegetables, smoothies, soups and salads. Make it a point to drink 8 glasses of warm water during the eating window. 2 glasses at iftar, 4 glasses between Iftar and Suhur / Athazham and 2 glasses with Athazham.
Break your fast with a fluid and dates. It could be a fruit juice or a smoothie or even a glass of warm water. Eat and drink slowly while breaking the fast.
Dates helps to recharge your body with natural sugar by providing energy. It also contains minerals like potassium, copper, Manganese etc. Dates is also a source of fibre. You can also include other dry fruits and nuts to your diet.
During Iftar be cautious of what you are eating. Never go overboard. A light balanced Iftar should be the motto. Soups , salads and stew are good to be included. These are light food and aids in better digestion and metabolism.
Don't skip your athazham. It is the most important part. One of the best food choices for Athazham is Porridge/ Gruel. In the light of COVID 19 it is good to consume ‘marunnu kanji’ which not only keeps you hydrated but also increases the immunity. This Ramadan special food will help you during the day time. Limit salt intake during suhur to control thirst.Skip processed sugar, deep fried food, creams and preservatives and junk food like pizza and burger.
Ramadan food should include fruits especially bananas, dates, millets, dry fruits, whole grain, and proteins.
Stick to snacks made by steaming like ada, momos etc. or even food that could be fried in minimum oil.
Avoid caffeinated and aerated drinks. Also say no to synthetic juices. Instead go for herbal teas and juices.
Ramadan special sweets can be made with natural sugar like honey and dates instead of processed sugar.
Soon after breaking the fast and before Iftar one can utilize the time for some mild exercise of about 20 minutes. Yoga asanas and Pranayama are good.
Include application of oil in nostrils/ Pratimarsa Nasyam and Oil pulling therapy as part of your Ramadan Lifestyle.
As every ramadan brings new hopes and aspirations let us try and use this opportunity to boost our immunity and build a healthy body.
I wish you all a happy and healthy