Ramadan, you and your health

Alhamdulillah the glorious month is here again. The month to reap multiple rewards and gain nearness to Allah.  Although it’s a month of losing sins, we can still make it a month of losing weight and getting used to healthy eating habits.

Ramadan is when you can potentially lose a lot of muscle tone and hinder your fitness goal. You don’t have to spoil all the hard works you have been doing all this while. You should understand your goal and be realistic.

With Ramadan, you can learn how to manage your eating habits, improve self-control and discipline.

Ramadan, you and your health

Normally, the body enters into a fasting mode 8 hours after the last  meal, when the gut finishes absorption of nutrients from the food.

In the normal state, body glucose which is stored in the liver and muscles is the body’s main source of energy.

However, during a fast, the stored glucose is used up first to provide energy. Later in the fast, once the stored glucose runs out, fat becomes the next stored source of energy for the body. As Ramadan fast only extends from dawn till dusk, there is ample opportunity to replenish energy stores at pre-dawn and dusk meals.

This provides a progressive gentle transition from using glucose to fat as the main source of energy and prevents the breakdown of muscle for protein. The use of fat for energy aids weightloss, preserving the muscles and in the long run reduces your cholesterol levels.

After a few days of the fast, higher levels of a certain hormone called endorphins are released resulting in a better level of alertness and an overall feeling of general mental well-being.

To benefit maximally from this month and improve your health, here is my advice:

  • Your meals must contain adequate level of energy food such carbohydrates and healthy fats to prevent muscle breakdown.
  • Meals should be simple and not different from your everyday diet.
  • Your diet should contain complex carbohydrates that will help release energy slowly during the long hours of fasting. Consider eating foods such as oats,  wheat, millet,  beans and  lentils for this purpose.
  • Also consider fibre rich foods such as grain, wheat, potatoes, vegetables, because they are digested slowly.
  • Avoid heavily processed fast burning foods that contain refined carbohydrates. These foods come in form of sugar, white flour, cakes, chocolate etc.
  • Avoid too much fatty foods.
  • Stay away from caffeine as it stimulates faster water loss through urination.

What you should eat

For the pre-dawn meals, chose slow digesting foods that are filling and provide energy for many hours. Examples of such foods are:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Brown rice
  • Ofada rice
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Oat
  • Banana

Bananas are high in potassium. A banana at this  time can control your thirst level throughout the day.

Other sources of potassium  are

  • Milk
  • Dates
  • Avocados
  • Dried peaches
  • Pistachios
  • Pumpkin
  • Peas
  • Dark chocolate

Balance your food and water fluid intake. This is very vital. You should take lots of water between Iftar and Suhoor. Drinking enough water at Suhoor is important, but not as much as drinking it throughout your non-fasting hours.

Now to break your fast, (Iftar), consider the following foods:

  • Dates, because they are refreshing and provide the energy you need.
  • Fruits in form of juices and smoothies should also be included.
  • Meals at Iftar should also be light. This will help you to remain alert for the Tarawih prayers.
  • You may have desserts after Tarawih prayers.
  • You may also decide to have cups of tea but avoid meals very close to bedtime.

May Allah accept our fasts.

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions concerning your diet and fitness routines. Also, go here to download a free meal plan I designed to ease your eating options this month.

RAMADAN MUBARAK FROM ALL OF US AT SLIM FIT U SOLUTIONS.

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