What to eat, avoid during the holy month of Ramadan

This is a comprehensive guide to nourishing your body and soul during Ramadan.

Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims around the world, is a time for fasting, reflection, prayer, and community.
From dawn until sunset, those observing Ramadan abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs. This fasting is not only a spiritual act to cleanse the soul and foster a closer connection with Allah but also an opportunity to practice self-discipline and empathy for those less fortunate.

However, to maintain health and vitality during this period, pay attention to what to eat and avoid during the pre-dawn meal (Suhoor) and the meal after sunset (Iftar).

What to eat during Ramadan

For Suhoor
The pre-dawn meal should be wholesome and sustaining to help you maintain energy levels throughout the day.

Complex carbohydrates: Foods like oats, whole wheat bread, and brown rice release energy slowly throughout the day, keeping you fueled.
High-fiber foods: Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains improve digestion and keep you feeling full longer.
Proteins: Incorporate eggs, cheese, yoghurt, or lean meat to repair and build tissues and maintain muscle mass.
Hydration: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Consuming water-rich foods like cucumbers, watermelons, and strawberries can also help.

For Iftar
The meal to break your fast should replenish energy without causing discomfort or weight gain.

Dates and water: Tradition and nutrition both recommend breaking your fast with dates and water, providing a quick energy boost and hydration.
Soups: Light, nutrient-rich soups like catfish pepper soup and chicken soup can rehydrate and provide a gentle way to reintroduce food to your stomach.
Vegetables: Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, vegetables should be a staple for Iftar.
Lean protein: Fish, chicken, or beef provide essential proteins without overburdening the digestive system.

What to avoid during Ramadan

During Suhoor
Avoid foods that can cause dehydration or feel heavy in your stomach throughout the day.

High-sodium foods: Salty foods can increase thirst during the fasting hours.
High-sugar foods: Sugary cereals or pastries can lead to energy spikes followed by crashes.
Caffeinated beverages: Coffee and tea can lead to dehydration and may affect your sleep cycle.

During Iftar
It’s tempting to indulge after a day of fasting, but certain foods can cause more harm than good.

Fried and greasy foods: While tempting, they can cause indigestion and discomfort.
Heavily processed foods: High in salt, sugar, and fat, they offer little nutritional value and can disrupt a healthy diet.
Excessive sweets: Consuming a lot of sweets can lead to quick spikes in blood sugar levels, followed by rapid drops, which can be taxing on your body.
Additional tips for a healthy Ramadan
Stay hydrated: Focus on drinking enough water between Iftar and Suhoor to avoid dehydration.
Moderate portion sizes: Eating in moderation helps prevent overeating and maintains a balanced diet.
Stay active: Engage in light to moderate physical activities, such as walking or stretching, to keep your body healthy and energetic.

By focusing on nutritious foods that fuel the body and avoiding those that detract from your health, you can ensure that you observe this holy month in the healthiest way possible.

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