Health Tips For Ramadan

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Health Tips For Ramadan

This article provides useful tips on how to avoid some common

problems encountered in Ramadan. If followed, it would enable one to

fast comfortably and enjoy fully the spiritual benefits of Ramadan.

During the holy month of Ramadan, our diet should not differ very

much from our normal diet and should be as simple as possible. The

diet should be such that we maintain our normal weight, neither

losing nor gaining. However, if one is over-weight, Ramadan is an

ideal time to normalise one’s weight.

Consume Slow Digesting Foods

In view of the long hours of fasting, we should consume slow

digesting foods including fibre containing-foods rather than fast-

digesting foods. Slow digesting foods last up to 8 hours, while fast-

digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours.

Slow-digesting foods are
foods that contain grains and seeds like

barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal

flour, unpolished rice, etc. (called complex carbohydrates). Fast-

burning foods are foods that contain sugar, white flour, etc. (called

refined carbohydrates).

Fibre-containing foods are
bran-containing foods, whole wheat, grains

and seeds, vegetables like green beans, peas, sem (papry), marrow,

mealies, spinach, and other herbs like methie, the leaves of beetroot

(iron-rich), fruit with skin, dried fruit especially dried apricots,

figs and prunes, almonds, etc.

The foods eaten should be well balanced, containing foods from each

food group, i.e. fruits, vegetables, meat/chicken/fish, bread/cereals

and dairy products. Fried foods are unhealthy and should be limited.

They cause indigestion, heartburn, and weight problems.

AVOID

*Fried and fatty foods.

*Foods containing too much sugar.

*Over-eating especially at suhoor.

*Too much tea at suhoor. Tea makes you pass more urine taking with it

valuable mineral salts that your body would need during the day.

*Smoking cigarettes. Smoking is unhealthy and one should stop

completely.

EAT

Eat complex
carbohydrates at suhoor so that the food lasts longer

making you less hungry.

Haleem is an excellent source of protein and is a slow-burning food.

Dates are excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium

and magnesium. Almonds are rich in protein and fibre with less fat.

Bananas are a good source of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates.

DRINK

As much water or fruit juices as possible between iftar and bedtime

so that your body may adjust fluid levels in time.

CONSTIPATION

Constipation can cause piles (haemorroids), fissures and indigestion

with a bloated feeling.

Causes: Too much refined
foods, too little water and not enough fibre

in the diet.

Remedy: Avoid excessive
refined foods, increase water intake, and use

bran in baking, brown flour when making roti.

LETHARGY
(‘low blood pressure’)

Excessive sweating, weakness, tiredness, lack of energy, dizziness,

especially on getting up from sitting position, pale appearance 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, doing too much in one day,

lack of sleep, hunger usually occurs as the day goes by and worsens

at the end of the day. 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.

Reorganise your schedule during the Ramadan so as to have adequate

sleep.

LOW
BLOOD SUGAR

Weakness, dizziness, tiredness, poor concentration, perspiring

easily, feeling shaky (tremor), unable to perform physical

activities, headache, palpitations are symptoms of low blood sugar.

Causes
in non-diabetics: Having too much sugar (i.e. refined

carbohydrates especially at suhur (suhoor)). The body produces too

much insulin causing the blood glucose to drop.

Remedy:
Eat something at suhoor 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
the above 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, GASTRITIS AND HIATUS HERNIA

Increased acid levels in the empty stomach in Ramadan aggravate the

above conditions. It presents itself as a burning feeling in the

stomach area under the ribs 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 liquid to drink.

Therefore, it is essential to drink extra liquids so as to prevent

stone formation.

JOINT PAINS

Causes: During Ramadan,
when extra salah are performed the pressure

on the knee joints increases. In the elderly and those with arthritis

this may result in 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 fulfillment, thus enabling one to be able to perform salah

with ease.

You should always consult with your own personal doctor or healthcare

provider for appropriate advice concerning your specific health needs

and care during Ramadan.

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