Recommended food for Ramadan


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Recommended food for Ramadan

  1. 1. Press TV Print Page 1 of 4 Recommended foods for Ramadan Sat, 06 Sep 2008 16:35:40 By Patricia Khashayar, MD., Press TV, Tehran In Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. They are encouraged to focus more on their faith, self-accountability and self-restraint. They believe it was in this month that the first verse of the Qur'an was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). In addition to strengthening willpower and developing one's appreciation for such values as patience and humility, fasting improves eating habits. It provides a sense of health and happiness. By reducing the three daily meals to two, it rests the stomach and the other organs in the gastrointestinal tract. Fasting also reduces the amount of energy needed for basal resting, leading to lower lipid and glucose levels. An Italian study has shown that fasting also helps resolve MS complications. Individuals can enjoy considerable advantages by fasting if they do not ruin their efforts by overeating at night. The daily diet thus must be arranged in a way that does not allow an increase in weight. A low calorie diet provides obese individuals with a great opportunity to lose weight in this month. A suitable diet for this period requires all the five food groups. Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals are necessary and can result in more energy. Each individual should choose a diet considering his/her condition, daily function and underlying disease. The following tips can help individuals who want to fast: Sahari (The food those fasting eat before dawn): Individuals are recommended to wake up to eat sahari if they do not want to experience fatigue during the day. Fasting without sahari may lead to halitosis, headaches and muscular pain as the body would be required to use fat deposits as its energy source. Sleeping early at night and waking up at least 90 minutes before dawn also helps the digestion process. Individuals are also recommended not to sleep after sahari in order to reduce reflux. Contrary to general belief, drinking a lot of tea for sahari does not reduce thirst. As a matter of fact, the caffeine increases urination, leading to an increased excretion of water and minerals from the body and, in turn, causes more thirst. Eating protein-rich foods such as eggs, grains, dairy products and meat along with fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk, fruit juice and several cups of weak tea is an effective way to reduce daytime thirst particularly in the elderly. Individuals are also recommended to drink gradually while eating sahari and avoid foods with high salt content. Grape extract has tonic properties and is suggested for those who feel weak during the day. Diabetic people, however, should avoid the extract. While many load themselves up, hoping to easily end their fasting day, overeating is proven to be associated with abdominal pain and indigestion. As a result, it is recommended not to eat 9/7/2008
  2. 2. Press TV Print Page 2 of 4 fatty foods for sahari. Alternatively, a balanced diet can help fasting individuals. In addition, adding enough fruits and vegetables to the diet, not only provides the body with the required vitamins, minerals and water, but also prevents constipation, the main disturbing complication associated with fasting. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates including bread, rice and potato along with those with high calcium content (cheese and milk) and whole grain breads are the best choices for sahari. Iftar (The food those fasting eat after sunset): Sahari provides the body with a great part of its energy needs; therefore, eating a light iftar is preferred. If an individual intends to also eat dinner, two hours after iftar is a good time to have a light dinner. However, iftar should be rich in calories. Soup and pottage are best for those breaking their fast because such foods are fairly light and prepare the stomach for dinner. It also lowers one's feeling of thirst. It is also recommended to eat a fruit at the end. Eating fruits and nuts after dinner is highly recommended. Half a glass of fruit juice can substitute a fruit. While individuals are encouraged to drink enough water between iftari and the sahari they will eat the next day, they are urged not to drink too much tea, coffee or carbonated sodas due to their diuretic properties. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as dates and fruit juice are good choices for iftari. Sweet desserts are not good because they make the individual feel hungry after a while (such foods contain simple carbohydrates which enter the blood rapidly; they stimulate pancreas secretion and shortly cause reduced blood glucose levels). Dates are considered a good alternative for such desserts particularly in obese individuals. Nutritionists also urge individuals to replace butter, fat, mayonnaise and various desserts including chocolates with herbal fats such as those extracted from olive and nuts (peanuts, nuts, hazelnuts and …). Frequent complications experienced while fasting: - Constipation It is commonly due to the use of refined carbohydrates and inadequate amounts of water and fiber. Lowering the intake of refined carbohydrates and adding more water and whole grain bread to the diet can help overcome the problem. - Indigestion and bloating Consuming too much food particularly fat-rich, spicy and fried foods as well as those with flatulence properties - such as eggs, lettuce, lentils, beans and carbonated sodas - are the main culprits for indigestion. Therefore, following a healthy diet with low contents of the mentioned foods can easily tackle the condition. - Fatigue and low blood pressure Fatigue happens following the insufficient intake of liquids and salt. Following a balanced and healthy diet can prevent the condition. 9/7/2008
  3. 3. Press TV Print Page 3 of 4 - Headaches Individuals who want to fast are recommended to taper off caffeine, sugar and alcohol a few days before fasting. Many fasting symptoms, such as headache, dizziness and fatigue, are actually the body going into withdrawal, not hunger. Working too hard and insomnia are other factors leading to headaches. The condition is worsened by the end of the day. If associated with low blood pressure, the individual may suffer severe headaches and even nausea. - Low blood Sugar levels Fatigue, vertigo, loss of concentration, excessive sweating, tremor, headache and palpation are various problems a person may be experiencing because of low blood sugar levels. In non-diabetic individuals, low blood pressure may be the result of eating too much refined carbohydrates especially for sahari. - Muscular cramps Eating foods low in calcium, potassium and magnesium may lead to muscular cramps. Eating mineral-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, milk, meat, dates and dairy products can help. - Peptic ulcers High levels of acid aggravate ulcers and inflammation in an empty stomach and lead to epigastric pain. Eating spicy foods, coffee and carbonated soda exacerbates the problem. Individuals suffering from active peptic and duodenal ulcers should not fast as it may activate the ulcer leading to troublesome conditions such as bleeding. - Renal stones The condition is increasingly reported among individuals who do not drink enough liquids. Such individuals can tackle renal stones by drinking 8 glasses of water between iftari and the sahari they will eat the next day. High risk groups Diabetic individuals older than 20, who have controlled blood sugar and weight, and those not suffering from any underlying diseases including infectious, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases neither renal stone and high blood pressure are allowed to fast. Individuals on insulin can fast only if they depend on low doses of the medication, do not experience hypoglycemia attacks during the day and are not suffering from any diabetes-related complications. Such individuals should not change their diet in Ramadan; however, they should drink sufficient amounts of water. They should also visit their endocrinologist every week during the month to be advised on their drug doses. These individuals should take their medication regularly if they want to fast. They should not to fast without eating sahari. Two hours before iftar and sahari along with two hours after iftar are the best times for such individuals to check their blood sugar levels. 9/7/2008
  4. 4. Press TV Print Page 4 of 4 Blood glucose levels higher than 250 indicate that the individual should reduce 20 percent of the food he/she eats for iftar the next day. Women who breastfeed are recommended to eat high-quality foods in order to provide their baby with adequate nutrients. PKH/AA Count of views : 655 © Press TV 2007. All Rights Reserved. 9/7/2008