The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down,
a guidance for the people, and clear verses of guidance and criterion.
[Quran: Chapter 2:183]


Friday, September 4, 2009

Healthy Eating in Ramadan

Health Tips for Ramadan

Too many Muslims tend to eat the wrong things during Ramadan, and suffer for it. Health problems can emerge as a result of excess food intake, foods that make the diet unbalanced, and insufficient sleep. Some of the common health related complaints by fasting Muslims include: increased gastric acidity, a burning feeling in the stomach, a heaviness in the stomach, and a sour mouth. Others complain of weight gain. If you are experiencing such problems, then you are not eating the right diet.

The body has regulatory mechanisms that activate during fasting. There is efficient utilization of body fat. Basal metabolism slows down during Ramadan fasting. A diet that is less than a normal amount of food intake but balanced is sufficient enough to keep a person healthy and active during the month of Ramadan. Health problems can emerge as a result of excess food intake, foods that make the diet unbalanced, and insufficient sleep. Ultimately also, such a lifestyle contradicts the essential requirements and spirit of Ramadan (Diet during Ramadan, by Mohammad Zafar A. Nomani, PhD, RD).

The following lists common afflictions during Ramadan, and the solutions.

Problems to Avoid

CONSTIPATION - Constipation can cause piles (haemorrhoids), fissures (cracks in anal canal) and indigestion, with a bloated feeling. Causes: Too much refined foods, too little water and not enough fiber in the diet. Remedy: Avoid refined foods, increase water intake, use bran in baking, brown flour when making bread.

INDIGESTION AND WIND Causes: Over-eating. Excessive fried and fatty foods, spicy foods, and foods that produce wind e.g. eggs, cabbage, lentils, fizzy drinks like Cola also produce gas. Remedy: Do not over-eat, drink fruit juices or water. Avoid fried foods.

LETHARGY ('low blood pressure') Excessive sweating, weakness, tiredness, lack of energy, dizziness, especially on getting up from sitting, paleness and feeling faint are symptoms associated with "low blood pressure". This tends to occur towards the afternoon. Causes: 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 Ramadan. They should consult their doctor.

HEADACHE Causes: Caffeine and tobacco-withdrawal, too much exercise, lack of sleep, hunger usually occur during the day and worsen towards the evening. 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 Ramadan. Herbal and caffeine-free teas may be substituted. Re-organize your schedule during the Ramadan so as to have adequate sleep.

LOW BLOOD SUGAR Weakness, dizziness, tiredness, poor concentration, perspiring easily, feeling shaky (tremor), headache, and palpitations are symptoms of low blood sugar. Causes in non-diabetics: Excessive sugar consumption i.e. refined carbohydrates especially at suhur (sehri). The body produces too much insulin causing the blood glucose to drop. Remedy: Eat something at sehri, and limit sugar-containing foods and drinks. Caution: Diabetics may need to adjust their medication in Ramadan, consult your doctor.

MUSCLE CRAMPS Causes: Inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium foods. Remedy: Eat foods rich in these 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, AND GASTRITIS Increased acid levels in an empty stomach aggravate the above conditions. It causes a burning feeling in the stomach area and can extend up to the throat. Spicy foods, coffee, and Cola drinks worsen these conditions. Medications are available to control acid levels in the stomach. People with proven peptic ulcers and hiatus hernia should consult their doctor well before Ramadan.

KIDNEY STONES Kidney stones may occur in people who have less liquids to drink. Therefore, it is essential to drink extra liquids so as to prevent stone formation.

JOINT PAINS Causes: Extra salah during Ramadan increases pressure on the knee joints. In the elderly and those with arthritis this may cause pain, stiffness, swelling and discomfort. Remedy: Lose weight so that the knees do not have to carry any extra load. Exercise the lower limbs before Ramadan so that they can be prepared for the additional strain. Being physically fit allows greater fulfilment, thus enabling one to be able to perform salah with ease.

Source: Dr. Farouk Haffejee Islamic Medical Association of South Africa - Durban

Maintain a Balanced Diet for Ramadan


Special Ramadan Series

Dear Reader, Assalaamu’alaikum.

Ramadan Mubarak. We wish you a blessed and productive Ramadan! Make no mistake about it - keeping the fast and increasing our acts of worship during this blessed month is not an easy task. The physical demands of balancing work or school with fasting all day, feeling fatigued and less effective than you normally are, waking up for Suhoor, praying Teraweeh and Tahajjud prayers, dealing with sleep deficits.

But the last thing we would want is to let Ramadan pass us by without doing all that we aim and desire to. Do not allow yourself to feel guilty or regretful when Ramadan passes.

The Ramadan Series will send you emails with practical tips on how to gain and maintain the physical and spiritual energy necessary to embark on increased religious oligations so that you will reap the benefits from this blessed month. This includes special Ramadan duas to say during the month. Do sign-up today!

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September 9, 2009 at 12:23 AM  

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