Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Healthy Eating During Ramadan


 “Good nutrition during Ramadan prevents the negative effects of fasting such as constipation, heartburn, migraines, dehydration, poor blood glucose control etc” Kepha Nyanumba- Consultant Nutritionist, AAR Healthcare Ltd

Ramadanis the Muslim holy month marked by daily fasting from dawn to sunset, increased religious observance and self-reflection. This period is a great opportunity to focus on bringing back a balanced and healthy lifestyle in your life. Good nutrition during this month will prevent the negative effects of fasting such as constipation, heartburn, migraines, dehydration, poor blood glucose control etc 
Nutrition and Fasting
During this blessed month of Ramadan there will be long days of fasting and it is important to maintain optimal nutrition while observing this important pillar of Islam. This should be done by eating healthy foods and appropriate serving sizes. All individuals who fast should maintain a healthy diet which includes a variety of foods rich in nutrients. After breaking the fast, meals vary between different cultures but try to make sure the foods you eat provide a balance of starchy foods, fruit and vegetables, dairy foods and protein-rich foods like fish, eggs, lean meat  and beans. After a long fast it’s natural to desire to treat yourself but try to avoid fatty and sugary foods. Remember that you only have a relatively short time each day to eat and drink to provide your body with all the essential nutrients and fluids it needs to be healthy.
General Dietary tips:
  • Slow-digesting foods are the best choice for nourishing the body throughout the day. Choose foods such as: barley, wheat, oats, beans, lentils, brown rice and nuts. These foods contain fiber which will help prevent constipation and stomach upset during fasting.
  • Avoid foods that are digested quickly such as: foods containing sugar, white flour or other refined carbohydrates.  
  •  Instead of always packing sodium-loaded processed sandwiches; try using high-quality protein such as grilled fish or chicken breast sandwich. These protein alternatives are usually nitrate-free and more heart health friendly.
  • Reduce caffeinated drinks which can have a diuretic effect and make you loose much needed fluid during fasting.
  • Remember that a healthy individual does not need to overeat or compensate for normal daily meals.
Dehydration
Dehydration is a common occurrence during a fast. The body continues to lose water and salts through breathing, sweat and urine. The quantity of water loss will vary depending on the weather, how much you had to drink before your fast, the degree of physical exertion and the ability of the kidneys to retain water and salts.  Prevention is always better than cure. In case you do not adequately rehydrate before a fast, your risk of dehydration is increased. This risk is higher in the elderly and in those taking tablets such as diuretics. Depending on the severity of the dehydration, you may experience a general feeling of being unwell, lethargy, muscle cramps, dizziness, disorientation and even collapse or fainting. Drinking plenty of fluids, as well as consuming fluid-rich foods, such as fruit, vegetables, soups and stews, is very important to replace fluids lost during the day and to start the next day of fasting well hydrated.
Kepha Nyanumba (Consultant Nutritionist, AAR Healthcare Ltd), Tel: + 254 (0) 723 103 028, Email: kephanyanumba@gmail.com / kepha.nyanumba@aar-healthcare.com, Follow me on twitter: knyanumba or kephanyanumba.blogspot.com.

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