Bridget Benelam of the British Nutrition Foundation affords some dietary recommendation for Muslims throughout the holy month of Ramadan, and appears at whether or not fasting is definitely good to your physique.
On Monday 12 April, Muslims all over the world, together with myself, started celebrating the holy month of Ramadan. During the month, many Muslims quick all through daylight, solely consuming one meal (the ‘suhoor’ or ‘sehri’) simply earlier than daybreak, and one other (the ‘iftar’) after sundown. While having fun with the celebrations, as a result of influence of the quick, it is rather vital that well being stays entrance of thoughts; my three fundamental items of recommendation are to hydrate, replenish vitamins, and keep away from overindulgence.
Hydration, hydration, hydration!
At each suhoor and iftar, hydration is essential. Unsurprisingly, water is often the most suitable choice. Juices and smoothies which comprise pure sugars can present some vitality in addition to hydration, nevertheless, to keep away from extra sugar consumption it’s finest to have these sparsely. Low-fat, water-rich meals, together with soup or yoghurt, are additionally good choices for hydrating and fuelling whereas breaking the quick.
Fresh fruit is a standard solution to break the quick in lots of South Asian cultures and this can be a good, wholesome possibility as fruit supplies fibre, pure sugars, fluids and a few nutritional vitamins and minerals. Dates, that are an integral a part of Ramadan, additionally comprise fibre, pure sugars and minerals like potassium, copper and manganese. They are one other nutrient-rich, scrumptious solution to begin or finish the fasting day – you can additionally attempt different dried fruits like prunes, raisins or apricots.
Keep your stability
When we’re celebrating, and after fasting for a protracted interval, it’s pure to wish to deal with your self with some scrumptious meals. But, whereas having fun with this time with your loved ones is vital, you must also bear in mind to maintain a way of stability. During non-fasting hours we have to deal with the standard of our diets, consuming a stability of meals to maintain our our bodies wholesome. Once the quick has been damaged and you’ve got rehydrated, it’s time to prioritise the important thing meals and vitamins which might be going to mean you can lead your life healthily and assist your efforts all through the month.
Wholegrains, fruit and greens, dairy meals and protein-rich meals, like lean meat, fish, eggs and beans, ought to all type part of the eating regimen. As a meal concept, you can have a variety of fish, meat or pulse-based curries together with loads of greens, served with rice, chapattis and yogurt. Although meat is often discovered within the cuisines of many Muslim international locations, dishes with extra plant-based sources of protein, like beans and lentils, add further fibre and are naturally decrease in fats.
At the start of the day, in addition to prioritising hydration, consuming starchy meals and people which might be excessive in fibre, similar to oats, wholegrain breads and wholegrain breakfast cereals (ideally decrease sugar choices), will assist offer you vitality for the day. Try to keep away from something too salty, like processed meat, olives and pickles, as these may depart you with a protracted day of feeling thirsty!
Is fasting good for you?
This time of yr usually sparks a dialog round the advantages of fasting usually for well being and weight reduction. When it involves Ramadan fasting, there are some research that recommend it might have advantages when it comes to weight reduction and metabolic well being, though we’d like extra analysis to verify these. There have additionally been research on intermittent fasting as a weight reduction technique and widespread strategies embody the 5:2 eating regimen, the place energy are closely restricted on two days of the week. Research means that this method will be efficient for some folks and, though intermittent fasting isn’t superior to different kinds of weight reduction eating regimen, it might go well with sure people who don’t wish to limit their meals consumption on a regular basis.
Provided you might be usually in good well being, Ramadan fasting isn’t dangerous to well being, however it’s important that we eat a stability of wholesome meals and preserve hydrated. It is a time to rejoice with family members and, whereas COVID-19 restrictions imply we can’t benefit from the giant celebrations we’d in a standard yr, we hope everybody has a cheerful and wholesome Ramadan at dwelling or out in your native space.
If you prefer to extra info on consuming nicely throughout seasonal celebrations like Ramadan, go to the British Nutritional Foundation’s (BNF) website.