Ramadan month is designed for purification of soul and body. Scientifically it is proven that Ramadan fasting helps in detoxification of body, as well as strengthening and nourishing of body organs. Twelve to fourteen hours of complete fasting gives ample time to build damaged tissues. Hence it is important that you consume appropriate type of food and do moderate physical exercise, which can help your body to perform its rejuvenation task.
Pre-preparation before the start of Ramadan
- Meet your doctor to find out whether it is medically safe for you to fast during Ramadaan. You can also inquire regarding the medications that you have been taking, whether it can be taken in the non-fasting hours.
- At least a week before Ramadan, eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid having excessive fried stuffs and rich sweets. There is no need to increase your calorie intake beforehand. Instead, you need to consume foods which are less spicy and oily to prepare your body for long fasting hours.
- Cut down on the intake of coffee/tea at least 2-3 days before fasting. Sudden stopping of such drinks may lead to withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, headache etc.
- Also ensure good fluid consumption to keep your body sufficiently hydrated and ready for fasting.
- Include some stretches and low intensity strengthening exercise to prepare your body for long praying hours.
Sihouri (early morning meal) ‚ As body has to be without any water for the next twelve hours, it is important that we consume those food items, which are rich in water and vitamins, and have less requirement for complex digestion. Any food which has complex digestion cycle will produce enough acid after digestion, and will be the cause for heart burn during the day. You have to remember that our body can stay without food for 5-6 weeks, but cannot function without water even for 5 days. Hence, during fasting when you feel tired or weak, it is due to dehydration and not due to lack of food. This background will help you understand why certain food items are not advisable for Sihouri.
Recommended food items:
1. Start with fruits ‚ banana, apple, pear, pomegranate, papaya (any two of your choice, and keep changing the mix every day)
2.- glass of fruit juice
3. A bowl of whole grain cereal (wheat, bran, raagi, oats) with low fat milk or preferably soya milk (easy on digestion with lactose intolerant adults)
4. A bowl of curd (preferably prepared at home) with its water, which has good bacteria for digestion
5. Whole wheat bread or homemade roti (with very less oil). If you cannot do without oil, we suggest using Olive oil.
6. Sometime you can have egg white ‚ poached or cooked with very less oil for a variety
7. Steamed rice
8. Lentil prepared without tadka
9. Soup with green vegetables or boiled chicken (breast)
10. Tea/Coffee ‚ preferably 50-50 with water and milk
11. Consume a glass or two of water 15-20 min after sihouri or 15-20 min before sihouri.
Food to restrict:
- Fried eggs with yolk
- White bread or maida roti
- Biryani or Pulao rice
- Cream, Cheese, butter
Iftaar (breaking fast in the evening) ‚ Body has been without any solid food or liquid for the past twelve hours. Hence, it is expecting quick energy consumption for rejuvenation. Hence, please avoid breaking fast with those food items which will put your body on complex task of digestion.
Recommended food items:
1. Break your fast with dates, figs and a glass of juice (preferably freshly squeezed) or just a glass of plain warm water.
2. Give your body 30-45 min before consuming solid food.
3. You may drink 2-3 glass of warm water during this period, but not just before the meal
4. Start your meal with raw salad (cucumber, carrot, sprouted beans etc.)
5. Have a good meal as prepared at home or iftaar centre
6. Consume sweets after the meal. If taken before meal, it kills your appetite by excess sugar in the blood
7. Drink 2-3 glass of water 45min after your meal
8. Enjoy a hot cup of tea/coffee
Food to moderate/avoid:
- Excessive fried foods
- Meat ‚ as this takes long time for digestion (8-12 hours!), and demands water to neutralize acids
- Too much sweets as this kills appetite and interferes with sleep pattern
- Spicy preparation as this consumes body water for neutralization, hence dehydrate you during the day
- And, finally avoid large quantity of food at one time. Eat in interval of 2-3 hours.
To detoxify your body totally, along with fasting some amount of physical exercise is a must as it will help to remove all the toxins from peripheral part of your body though lymphatic circulatory system. A few stretches coupled with low intensity exercise in the morning (two hours after morning meal) will keep you energetic throughout the day.
Enjoy the holy month of Ramadan!