Ramadan is the holy month of blessings in which Muslims all over the world fast and learn discipline and restraint in obedience to the instructions of Allah and Prophet Muhamaad SAW. During this time, a Muslim refrains from eating or drinking between dawn and sunset.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan can promote and maintain good health if done correctly. It is important to eat well and to ensure a balanced, moderate and varied diet following guidelines from the Malaysian Food Pyramid. Eating the right type of food and drink is crucial to keep your body strong and maintain your health throughout the month of Ramadan.
- According to Sunnah and the practices of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), a complete dietary plan is divided into carbohydrates sources, protein sources, minimum fat, fruits and vegetables, and milk and milk products.
- Milk and dairy products are good sources of protein and calcium, which are essential for body tissue maintenance and several physiological functions during Ramadan and there are plenty of choices in the form of milk, yoghurt, cheese and cream.
- Choose complex carbohydrates such as grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour and unpolished rice that releases energy slowly during the long hours of fasting.
- Opt for fiber rich foods such as bran, cereals, whole wheat grains, vegetables and almost all types of fruits.
- Avoid foods that are heavily processed as these are fast-burning foods that contain refined carbohydrates in the form of sugar, or fatty foods.
- It may also be worth avoiding caffeine content in drinks such as tea, coffee and cola as caffeine is diuretic and stimulates faster water loss through urination.
- Sahoor is equal to regular breakfast outside Ramadan and it is important to consume foods that help sustain you throughout the day. Ensure that your meals contain adequate amount of calories and is made up of all main food groups.
- For Iftar, it is advisable to break your fast with 2-3 pieces of dates and with a glass of milk or sweet juices before performing Maghrib prayers so that your stomach is ready for you to enjoy a meal after that in moderation.
- Ramadan is a great month for implementing new patterns of healthy eating behaviour. It is essential that you make wise food and beverages choices, to feel healthy and fulfilled. And most importantly, having a healthy Sahoor and Iftar planned everyday will help you and your family stay nourished and energetic all through this holy and blessed season.