Thursday, 26 June 2014

Healthy Ramadhan 2014: Keep Calm, Keep Cool & Stay Energised.

The buzz is in the air, the preparations have been made, it's very nearly almost here! Ramadhan, a month where Muslims are prohibited from eating and drinking from the early hours of the morning till sunset, to refresh our bodies and souls, but also to exercise our self-control and our faith to God. With the long summer days that Ramadhan now falls upon (here in the UK), there is a need for extra steps and special care to be taken in order to take care of ourselves and help us get through the day. In this blog post, I hope to provide special advice and guidance to help us keep our energy levels at its optimum.


We are bound to feel sluggish and low on energy during the day whilst fasting in Ramadhan, but we should do out best to prevent or limit this kind of state of health. Some cultures and some people adopt some traditional ‘Ramadhan food’ which are not usually healthy. This does not help and because some ethnic groups have made it a habit it can be quiet difficult to get rid of. Being from an Indian background myself, I am not going to lie when I say I do love the odd few homemade minced meat 'keema' samosas. There is just something about it, but I ensure I control my portion sizes and don’t fill my stomach on these fried unhealthy savouries, which have little nutrition to provide for my starving body.



So, what kind of foods and drinks should we actually be having during the short few hours we are permitted to eat and drink? Here I’d like to share some healthy tips with you all to help keep us all well and healthy throughout your fasting day and month (Inshallah).
  • Keep Hydrated! Sip on water between iftaar and suhoor, don’t glug down water, it can be harmful for the stomach and it will go straight through you not allowing your body to soak up the much needed H2O. I always keep a glass or bottle of water with me during these hours to remind myself to finish that bottle before suhoor. Make it fun and refreshing by adding a few slices of lemon, lime or even cucumbers.
  • Eat Water Too! Some fruits and vegetables have high water content and help you balance out the pH levels in your body. Top up your water levels with; watermelon, cantaloupe melon, celery, cucumbers, radish, apples, pears, oranges, pineapples and blueberries. You could also have soups, smoothies and juices too!
  • Yoghurt. A great food to have in this blessed month, have on its own, with your favourite fruits, with dates or even as a drink. Yoghurt is very cooling and good on the gut. My grandma has advised us to add a sprinkle of ground cumin to my yoghurt to help the body retain the H2O and encourage digestion, which I will be trying out this year.
  • Complex Carbohydrates – these foods release the energy s-l-o-w-l-y in the body keeping you fuller for longer which is really what we all need during the long fasting hours. These foods include; porridge oats, whole grains, barley, wheat, semolina, beans, lentils and basmati rice. Avoid the white carbs which are high in sugar and will only play games with your blood sugar level.

  • Iron. Tiredness and lethargy is a sign of low iron, so ensure you have iron rich foods to keep you awake and alert throughout the day. This includes; lean meats, poultry, fish, egg, beans, nuts, seeds, dark green vegetables like spinach, wholegrain breakfast cereals, as well as dried figs and apricots.
  • Digest! There is very little time for your food to digest from iftaar in time for you to have another meal at suhoor, help this process by having lots of fibresome foods; bran, cereals, grains, seeds, vegetables and all fruits especially prunes, apricots, figs and raisins.


  • Fennel. Chew some fennel seeds too after the iftaar meal which will also help to digest the food. If you don’t want to chew the seeds have fennel tea instead, or use the fennel bulb in your meals and salads.
  • Avoid The Bad Stuff! Don’t waste your energy and stomach on foods that will not provide the essential nutrients that you really need. Limit and avoid fried, processed and junk foods. This includes fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, sweets, chocolates, crisps, fried samosas, spring rolls, pastries etc. Foods that are high in fat and sugar should be kept to a minimum as it will only play havoc with your body.
  • Stretch It Out. When you are fasting and can’t actually eat or drink anything but need a boost do some stretches or even go for a little walk. This will pump the blood around the body and to your brain giving you a little refresher. Try it, it will really help. If not splash/pat some really cold water onto your forehead and face. If all fails have a power nap (if you can) that should do the job too! ;-)

I will be posting up healthy tips, advice and healthy meal ideas during the month too, so make sure you are following me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up-to-date with all my posts ->> @AHNutritionist





Happy Healthy Ramadhan!! 

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Be Happy! Be Healthy!


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www.ahnutritionist.co.uk

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Sources: NHS and A H Nutritionist.
By Ayshabibi H.
A H Nutritionist
24th June 2014

DISCLAIMER: All information provided should be used as a guideline and for general information. If you have any concerns about your health please ensure you seek advice from your GP or local health advisor.