Healthy Ramadan

This week, Ramadan takes place, which is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar.  It lasts for 29-30 days and many Muslim people fast during daylight hours.  During this time, one meal is before dawn called Suhoor or Sehri, and another meal is eaten after sunset called Iftar.  The end of Ramadan is marked by Eid-ul-Fitr which is the festival of breaking of the fast.

As only two meals are eaten each day, it is important to eat as healthily as possible to make sure that people get all the nutrients they need.  Therefore the quality of the diet is very important. 

These are our dietitian’s healthy eating tips during Ramadan:

·         When breaking the fast, eat slowly to avoid acid reflux or indigestion.

·         Start the meal with plenty of fluids, and low-fat, fluid-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, soups and stews to help with hydration.

·         Avoid eating a lot of salty foods as salt can make you thirsty and dehydrated and it can raise your blood pressure.

·         Try not to overeat at Ramadan, keep to moderate portion sizes and limit deep-fried, creamy and sweet foods as it can lead to weight gain.

·         Choose high-fibre foods such as wholegrains, high fibre cereals, bread, fruit and vegetables, dried fruit and nuts.  Make sure you have these with plenty of fluids to avoid constipation.

·         Make sure you include a variety of starchy foods with fruit and vegetables, dairy foods and protein-rich foods for a good balance of nutrients.

·         Limit sugary foods and drinks.

·         Go for a light walk if possible after iftar to keep active. 

Some healthy ideas for what to eat and drink at Suhoor include oats, high-fibre breakfast cereal, rice and couscous, yoghurt or breads.  And for iftar, try drinks (water, milk, fruit juices and smoothies), dates or other dried fruit, fresh fruit, soups and stews.

One precaution to take: if you have type 1 diabetes and take insulin, you are not advised to fast because your blood glucose levels drop (called a hypo).  If your diabetes is well-controlled either by diet or using tablets, you may be able to fast.

Fasting is a personal decision but it is important for you to seek medical advice from your GP or nurse first to ensure it is safe for you to do so.

We hope you have a healthy and enjoyable Ramadan from everyone here at Healthy Hearts! 

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