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Dietary Guidelines for Ramadaan Print
Interesting Reading - Nutrition and Health
Allah has granted us the month of Ramadaan in which we can cleanse ourselves spiritually and even physically. This extraordinary month will only be of benefit to those of us who take advantage of it.
 

Fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadaan can be good for one's health and personal development. Fasting is not just about disciplining the body to restrain from eating food and drinking water from dawn until sunset. The eyes, the ears, the tongue, and even the private parts are equally obligated to be restrained if a Muslim wants to gain the total rewards of fasting. Ramadaan is also about restraining anger, doing good deeds, exercising personal discipline, and preparing oneself to serve as a good Muslim and building one’s relation with Allah during and after Ramadaan.

 

While the primary objective of Ramadaan is spiritual, Allah has so designed His system that health benefits may also be obtained during the sacred month. During fasting the body rids itself of harmful substances that may have accumulated, thus making Ramadaan the ideal time to detoxify ones system. Rasulullah sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam has said, “Your body has a right over you.” Thus caring for one’s health is an Islamic duty. In this regard the following medical guidelines are suggested:

 

SUGGESTED DIET - An Overview

There is no need to consume excess food at iftaar. The body has regulatory mechanisms that activate during fasting, thus ensuring that consuming a diet less than one's normal amounts of nutrition are sufficient to keep a person healthy and active during the month of Ramadaan.

 

Iftaar: have 3 dates, a glass of water (preferably Zam Zam) or if you are a tea lover than have herbal tea e.g. chamomile. The body's immediate need at the time of iftaar is to get an easily available energy source in the form of glucose for every living cell, particularly the brain and nerve cells. Dates and juices are good sources of sugars. Dates and juice are sufficient to bring low blood glucose levels to normal levels. Juice and soup help maintain water and mineral balance in the body. An unbalanced diet and too many servings of sherbets and sweets with added sugar have been found to be unhealthy.

 

Perform Salaatul Maghrib, then either have soup or haleem (a meaty soup). If you having curry kitchree (curd curryrice) then go for brown rice. Chicken, meat and vegetables are also recommended.

 

After taraweeh: have some fruit, yoghurt or fresh home made fruit salads. Fresh fruit juices are also recommended.

 

SUHOOR (SEHRI)

Firstly drink a glass of mint/lemon or ginger water with honey. This is an excellent mouth disinfectant, for bad breath and to normalize one's sugar levels. Then have some dates, fruit and either mealie meal porridge, oats, or vermicelli porridge. A cup of tea made with elachi, cinnamon and sweetened with honey completes a meal. Home made fruit juices or even yoghurt can be consumed. Bananas are also excellent at the time of sehri.

 

CONSUME FOODS FROM THE FOLLOWING FOOD GROUPS:

Meat/bean group: chicken, beef, lamb fish, 1-2 servings. Meat and beans are a goods source of protein, minerals and certain vitamins. Beans are a good source of dietary fibre as well.

 

Bread and cereal group: whole wheat bread, or brown roti or puri, 2 servings. This group is a source of complex carbohydrates which are good source of energy and provide some protein, minerals and dietary fibre.

 

Milk group: milk or butter milk. Yoghurt or cottage cheese. Those who can not tolerate whole milk must try fermented products such as butter milk and yoghurt. Milk and dairy products are good sources of protein and calcium, which are essential for body tissue maintenance and several physiological functions.

 

Vegetable group: mixed vegetable salad like lettuce, carrots, parsley, cucumber and other desired vegetables. Vegetables such as guar, bhinda, egg-plant and spinach are also good sources of vitamin A, carotene and other phytochemicals, which are antioxidants. These are helpful in the prevention of cancer and many other health problems.

 

SOME HANDY TIPS ON FASTING:

1. Whilst fasting avoid orange and tomato juice, and all juices made with sweeteners or additives. Consume fresh apple, carrot, celery and grape juice as these drinks are excellent for detoxification.

 

2. Take a fibre supplement on a daily basis before and after the fast to promote cleansing of the colon. Bran, especially oat bran, is an excellent source of fibre. Avoid supplements containing wheat bran, as they may irritate the colon.

 

3. During the fast be sure to get adequate rest. Observe the Sunnah of Qayloolah – a short nap or at least rest during the afternoon.

 

4. During the fast, as toxins are released from the body, one will experience a coated tongue and an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

 

5. If you use dentures, keep them on throughout the fast, to prevent shrinkage of the gums.

 

6. Whilst fasting continue your normal daily routine, including moderate exercise. Avoid any strenuous exercise.

 

7. During hot weather, one may perspire excessively. This results in a loss of potassium, and may cause muscle cramps and fatigue. Eat 1 - 2 bananas at Suhoor time to counter this.

 

8. Avoid ice-cold drinks at the time of iftaar. This may trigger off upper respiratory infections. Take vitamin C supplements to avoid such infection.

 

TIPS FOR IFTAAR:

At Iftaar time: break your fast with a glass of zam zam water (if available) and dates. Thereafter have some fruit or salad. Have your meal after Salaah. This will kick start your digestion and you will not have a bloated feeling for the rest of the evening.

 

*Prepare salads and a normal meal. Keep your fries and bakes to a minimum. Make one type everyday, instead of loading the table with a variety of these. Your family would benefit from eating a proper meal.

 

*Instead of ice-cream everyday, make fresh fruit juices or fruit salad.

 

At the time of Iftaar the body's immediate need is an easily available energy source.

 

Dates and pure fruit juices are ideal for iftaar as they provide releasing energy. Consumption of water, pure fruit juices and nourishing broths such as haleem also help maintain and restore the water and mineral balance in the body.

 

Pure fruit juices are preferred to juices and drinks heavily laden with preservatives, colorants and sugar.

 

Ideally this should be followed by a simple well - balanced main meal being served after Maghrib comprising of starch, protein and vegetables.

 

SAVOURIES

Consumption of a selection of fried savouries at the time of Iftaar should be limited.

 

The reason: firstly an average healthy and active individual requires 35 - 40g of fat from their daily diet, approximately 7-8 tsp a day. This fat is usually consumed in two forms. Visible fats as found in butter, margarine, cooking oil, creams etc, and hidden fats, as found in chips, pies, pastries, chocolates and desserts. Consumption of any of the above mentioned fats in excess on a daily basis is the catalyst for conditions that can occur quite easily if you are inactive and overdoing the greasy foods, considering that 3 small mince samoosas contain as much as 3 tsps fat and 1 medium pie as much as 5 tsps fat!

 

Further, the heating of polyunsaturated fats as found in cooking oils, like sunflower oil produce trans fatty acids, so - called ‘artery blockers’, which are extremely detrimental to our health.

 

Therefore the preparation of fried foods, especially in reused oil, should be limited. Cooking oil, if properly clarified after each use, can be used 5 or 6 times.

 

Avoiding a variety of savouries and emulating the simple lifestyle of Rasulullah sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam is both spiritually rewarding and healthier. If one cannot desist, try preparing at most one fried savoury for iftaar on a day. Opt for baked savouries such as lagans, kababs, meat and savoury crumpets instead. Also take advantage of the abundant fruits available by preparing fresh salads, smoothies and fruit skewers instead.

 

IFTAAR MENU

Dates
Pure fruit juice
Soup
Baked savouries
Main meal consisting of starch, protein and vegetables

 

Make a point of performing Taraweeh prayers daily. Beside the immense spiritual benefits and rewards, Salaah helps with better utilisation of food and energy. There are ten extra calories output for each rak‘aat of prayer and that adds up to a lot. Again, the intention should be gaining closeness to Allah, the health benefits are incidental.

 

After taraweeh one should drink lots of liquids, especially water, and may snack on fresh fruits, roasted nuts and seeds.

 

May Allah grant us a spiritually fruitful Ramadaan and the ability to obey Rasulullah sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam in caring for our bodies as well.

sk/2008-09-10 11:29:26

 
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