Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tip and Healthy Diet to Stay Active in Ramadan

This year, the holy month of Ramadan falls closer to the summer, which means that fasting hours become longer. So, during this time what does your body depend on to be able to last the whole day and keep going?

When you fast, your energy mainly depends on the sugar glucose that you consume during your Sehri meal. But this meal can only provide energy for a few hours and then your body has to depend on its stored glucose (glycogen) and fats. And after fasting the whole day, it is the food you eat at Iftar that will provide your body cells with calories and nutrients to give you energy and vitality.
Rather than giving up fasting just because the time and conditions are not in your favour, it is better to plan your days in a way that lets you make the best use of this holy month of Ramadan. Here are a few tips on how you should spend Ramadan:


Ramadan is an excellent time to start your physical fitness journey while you are on a spiritual journey to get closer to Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He). Fasting has numerous physiological benefits and supports weight loss by giving you a chance to re-assess your meals and improve your eating patterns.
Here’s the timeless hadith of our Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) regarding healthy eating habits:

“A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one third of food, one third for drink and one third for air.” [Ibn Majah]10

Portion control was suggested more than 1400 years ago by our beloved Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), long before the weight loss craze began. If we truly follow this golden advice from our Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) we will not be eating mindlessly and filling our stomach until it is full, which will inevitably lead to weight gain, laziness and lethargy.
For those who binge all day or cannot control binge eating disorders, fasting helps you increase your self-control and overcome your food addiction because it forces you to eat only when it is allowed. Therefore, your body gets accustomed to this new change after a few days. Naturally, fasting helps you find and adopt a pattern that is healthier to stick to afterwards, In sha Allah.


Those who are observing fast need to have at least two meals a day – Sehri and Iftar. As fasting is one of the five main pillars of Islam, this exercise cannot be ignored or skipped. So, it becomes important to have such a diet during Sehri and Iftar that you can go on throughout the month with ease, especially during summers.


For longer lasting energy this year, it is important to pay attention to the quality of the food you eat at this predawn meal. It is considered essential, as it prevents hunger, tissue breakdown and offers better endurance ability during the long day.
Try to eat slowly digestible and absorbable foods which are rich in fibre such as complex carbohydrates (whole-wheat breads, bananas, milk, dates, avocados, khajla-pheni, dried peaches, pistachios, pumpkin, peas, dark chocolate, rice, pasta, potatoes and whole wheat grains such as Burghul). These foods give you energy that can last for many hours unlike foods high in sugar which provide energy for only a short time and then lead to a drop in the blood sugar levels, leading to low energy. Bananas are high in potassium and suppress your thirst while dates will give you a good stock of energy to be consumed slowly throughout the day. In addition, whole-wheat breads and cereals are rich in B vitamins which help release energy from the food you’ve eaten.
Some people prefer milkshakes made with syrup as it is easy and quick to prepare. This should be avoided as it contains high amounts of sugar, additives and colourants. If you really want to have it, then reduce the number to two per week. And oily food should be kept miles away.


Following the Prophetic tradition, one should break fast with dates as they provide a burst of energy. Avoid attacking food as soon as you break the fast and keep your dusk meal light. During Iftar, do not drink lots of water just because it takes less effort to fill stomach with water than with food. Rather, compliment your Iftar meal with fresh fruits. While breaking your fast, chew food slowly as it will speed up digestion and help maintain your weight.
For more energy and vitality make sure this meal is balanced by including complex carbohydrate sources, protein from meat or legumes, vegetables as well as fruits.
Again, avoid having deep-fried, fatty and high-sugar food.


The best way to spend your day during fast is to qualify the basic requirements of fasting. Ramadan is not just about fasting, and fasting is not just about keeping from food the entire day. The concept of Ramadan expects a Muslim to surrender himself to Almighty (Allah) and refrain from activities that pleases him or provokes him to do anything bad. When a person says he is fasting, it means his entire body is at fast. A fasting person would not look at the opposite sex with lusty eyes. He would not speak anything that may hurt the other person’s feeling. He won’t do anything that may physically hurt anybody. He would not hear anything bad. Ramadan is a month-long effort to install a healthy lifestyle that one can follow throughout his life. Whether it’s avoiding unhygienic food, behaving well in the society, doing physical exercise (namaz) regularly, personality development or making a good name, this is the month where one can improvise his inner self.


Once you have broken your fast, have a glass of water after every two hours. This is very important to restore the water level in your body.
Those who are fitness freaks are not advised to work out immediately after Iftar as body’s blood flow is concentrated around the stomach at that time. There should be a gap of at least two hours between you gym and Iftar.
If you like desserts, have them, but leave at least a two-hour gap between Iftar and desserts to stay fresh and awake for Taraweeh prayers.
Your body has a right over you, and when it wants rest, then rest. Go to bed on time and wake up fresh for the next Sehri.
Following this routine-cum-guidelines would hopefully allow you to enjoy a healthy lifestyle throughout the the holy month of Ramadan and even after that.

Note: Do not forget to take out time and appreciate the ladies in your house for their efforts to prepare your meal while they are also fasting and more tired than you are.
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