The annual observance of Ramadan is seen as one of the pillars of Islam. The word comes from the Arabic root "ramida or ar-ramad" meaning dryness. It is regarded as a time of reflection spiritually and increased devotion, worshipping Allah.
It is used to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to the Islamic prophet Muhammad as "The night of power" or "The night of decree" is considered the holiest night of the year. The fast is from dawn to sunset with their meal called iftar and suhur. It is important to know that Fasting is obligatory for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, chronically ill or menstruating.
Well, keeping a healthy life over the cause of fasting during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar is important as some changes are bound to happen. In the normal state, body glucose, which is stored in the liver and muscles, is the body's main source of energy.
During a fast, this store of glucose is used up first to provide energy. Later in the fast, once the glucose runs out, fat becomes the next source of energy for the body.
With a prolonged fast of many days or weeks, the body starts using protein and breaking down protein for energy. This is the technical description of what's commonly known as "starvation".
"You are unlikely to reach the starvation stage during Ramadan, because the fast is broken daily," says Dr Razeen Mahroof, a consultant from Oxford.
However, ensuring a healthy life is not a difficult one although the month falls into warmer months where the days are longer and temperatures higher. So, enough water should be taken during the iftar and suhur. Foods should be normal like before and light exercises is important too.
The diet to be taken should contain foods from all the major food groups:
- fruit and vegetables
- bread, cereals and potatoes
- meat , fish or alternatives
- milk and dairy foods
- foods containing fat and sugar
Try to limit the amount of sugary foods you eat and instead include healthier sources of carbohydrate in your diet, such as wholegrains, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and lower fat dairy products.
Foods high in fibre can help to keep your bowels healthy and add bulk to your meal, helping you to feel full.
- starchy foods (especially wholegrain varieties)
It's also worth avoiding caffeine-based drinks such as tea, coffee and cola. Caffeine is a diuretic and stimulates faster water loss through urination. And don't forget to reduce salt intake.
Ramadan shouldn't be a time to be healthy spiritually only, but as well as physically. Try abstain from smoking all sorts and make it a habit of abiding in this healthy living and see your self live long and strong. Ramadan Mubarak
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