Ramadhan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community cohesiveness.
During this time, fasting from sunrise to sunset is obligatory for adult Muslims who are not acutely or chronically ill, travelling and elderly, breastfeeding, diabetic or experiencing their monthly flow.
For those who are fasting they need to wake up well before sunrise to eat food that has to sustain them until sunset and this means eating foods high in protein, complex carbohydrates, vegetables and maintaining proper hydration.
This is where Healthy U has your back with a variety of high protein and high fibre meal options which will help maintain energy levels throughout the day while providing the necessary nutrients for the body.
- Iftar (After sunset)
- Fruits e.g. dates, prunes, raisins etc. Easy to digest thus ideal to consume when breaking the fast. In addition, they provide electrolytes and dietary fibre for a healthy blood PH and bowel function.
- A variety of health snacks e.g. protein and energy bars, nuts, crackers, wafers etc.
- Healthy juices (The Berry Company, Mangajo drinks) herbal teas and water to maintain healthy hydration levels and other health benefits e.g. relaxation, digestion and detox.
- Dairy alternative drinks (almond, soya, hazelnuts and rice milk). Suitable for lactose intolerant individuals.
- Quality whole foods (pulses, grains, flours) rich in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
- Superfoods (moringa, baobab, wheatgrass, spirulina). To supply essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients considering it might be difficult to achieve the required servings of fruits and vegetables.
- Suhoor (Before dawn)
- A low GL diet (high in protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats) would be ideal for Suhoor to supply the required nutrients slowly throughout the day.
- Oats (jumbo, porridge). May be consumed with dairy free milk (e.g. almond, rice and coconut especially for lactose intolerant individuals) and topped off with raisins to make the dish sweeter and the additional nutritional benefits from the raisins such as dietary fibre and antioxidant.
- High fibre mueslis and granola, for sustained energy release during the day
- Quality whole foods (pulses, grains, flours) rich in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals
- Superfoods (moringa, baobab, wheatgrass, spirulina), to supply essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients considering it might be difficult to achieve the required servings of fruits and vegetables.
During Iftar and Suhoor, make an effort to replace fried fatty and oily foods with baked products, fresh fruits salads, dates and yoghurt. These are rich in probiotics (help maintain a healthy digestive system in addition to boosting immunity through the gut.)
Weight Loss and gain
A major concern during this time is weight loss though many people view fasting as a great way to lose weight. However, this may lead to weight gain for some people since consuming large meals at opposite ends of the day (early in the day and late at night) coupled with low activity level may slow down your metabolism in an attempt to conserve energy for fuel throughout the day.
For most people, weight loss may occur during Ramadhan because the amount of food consumed changes (portion sizes) and your stomach may become smaller during the period and therefore hold less food in addition to appetite changes.
A study showed that the changes during Ramadhan were not as much and often reversible after the period unless consistent lifestyle modifications are made in an effort to maintain the weight milestone achieved during the period.
Ideally, the best time to exercise is before the pre-dawn meal (Suhoor). Exercise will help improve your metabolism especially for those looking to lose weight during this period.
During this period, it is important to remember that Corona virus is still lurking in the streets thus maintaining immunity should a top priority. Therefore, immunity supplements would help to bridge the gap in the diet. The essential nutrients to prioritize are; vitamin C & D, zinc and selenium.
At Healthy U, we have variety of immune boosting supplements and you are very much welcome to our nearest branch for further consultation, by our qualified nutritionists on the best supplements to help keep your immunity in tip top shape.
By Mercy Mwikali Muthami, a nutritionist at Healthy U.