SOME HEALTH GUIDELINES FOR RAMADAN
This is Based on by Dr. Farouk
Haffejee aryiocle on SOME HEALTH GUIDELINES FOR RAMADHAAN with additional
This article provides useful advice
on how to avoid some common problems encountered in Ramadan. If followed,
it would enable one to fast comfortably and enjoy fully the spiritual
benefits of Ramadan.
During the holy month of Ramadan, our diet should not differ very much from
our normal diet and should be as simple as possible. The diet should be
such that we maintain our normal weight, neither losing nor gaining.
In view of the long hours of fasting, we should consume slow digesting foods including fibre containing-foods rather than fast-digesting foods. Slow digesting foods last up to 8 hours, while fast-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours.
Slow-digesting foods are foods that contain grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, whole meal flour, unpolished rice, etc. (called complex carbohydrates).
· Fast-burning foods are foods that contain sugar, white flour, etc. (called refined carbohydrates).
· Fibre-containing foods are bran-containing foods, whole wheat, grains and seeds, vegetables like green beans, peas, sem (papry), marrow, mealies, spinach, and other herbs like methie, the leaves of beetroot (iron-rich), fruit with skin, dried fruit especially dried apricots, figs and prunes, almonds, etc.
The foods eaten should be well-balanced, containing foods from each food group, i.e. fruits, vegetables, meat/chicken/fish, bread/cereals and dairy products. Fried foods are unhealthy and should be limited. They cause indigestion, heart-burn, and weight problems.
Fried and fatty foods.
o Foods containing too much sugar.
o Over-eating especially at suhoor.
o Too much tea at suhoor. Tea makes you pass more urine taking with it valuable mineral salts that your body would need during the day and excessive water loss from the body.
Avoid too mush salty and spices food (especially spicy pickles like
Complex carbohydrates at suhoor so that the food lasts longer making you less hungry.
§ Haleem is an excellent source of protein and is a slow-burning food.
§ Dates are excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium.
§ Almonds are rich in protein and fibre with less fat.
§ Bananas are a good source of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates.
As much water or fruit juices as possible between iftaar and bedtime so that your body may adjust fluid levels in time.
Constipation can cause piles (haemorrhoids), fissures (painful cracks in anal canal) and indigestion with a bloated feeling.
Causes: Too much refined foods, too little water and not enough fibre in the diet.
Remedy: Avoid excessive refined foods, increase water intake, use bran in baking, brown flour when making roti (chapattis).
INDIGESTION AND WIND
Causes: Over-eating. Too much fried and fatty foods, spicy foods, and foods that produce wind e.g. eggs, cabbage, lentils, carbonated drinks like Cola also produce gas.
Remedy: Do not over-eat, drink fruit juices or better still drink water. Avoid fried foods, add ajmor to wind-producing foods.
LETHARGY ('low blood pressure')
Excessive sweating, weakness, tiredness, lack of energy, dizziness, especially on getting up from sitting position, pale appearance and feeling faint are symptoms associated with "low blood pressure". This tends to occur towards the afternoon.
Causes: Too little fluid intake, decreased salt intake.
Remedy: Keep cool, increase fluid and salt intake.
Caution: Low blood pressure should be confirmed by taking a blood pressure reading when symptoms are present. Persons with high blood pressure may need their medication adjusted during Ramadhan. They should consult their doctor.
Causes: Caffeine and tobacco-withdrawal, doing too much in one day, lack of sleep, hunger usually occur as the day goes by and worsens at the end of the day. When associated with "low blood pressure", the headache can be quite severe and can also cause nausea before Iftaar.
Remedy: Cut down caffeine and tobacco slowly starting a week or two before Ramadhan. Herbal and caffeine-free teas may be substituted. Reorganise your schedule during the Ramadan so as to have adequate sleep.
LOW BLOOD SUGAR
Weakness, dizziness, tiredness, poor concentration, perspiring easily, feeling shaky (tremor), unable to perform physical activities, headache, palpitations are symptoms of low blood sugar.
Causes in non-diabetics: Having too much sugar i.e. refined carbohydrates especially at suhoor . The body produces too much insulin causing the blood glucose to drop.
Remedy: Eat something at and limit sugar-containing foods and drinks.
Caution: Diabetics may need to adjust their medication in Ramadan, consult your doctor.
Causes: Inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium foods.
Remedy: Eat foods rich in the above minerals e.g. vegetables, fruit, dairy products, meat and dates.
Caution: Those on high blood pressure medication and with kidney stone problems should consult their doctor.
PEPTIC ULCERS, HEART BURN, GASTRITIS AND HIATUS HERNIA
Increased acid levels in the empty stomach in Ramadhan aggravate the above conditions. It presents as a burning feeling in the stomach area under the ribs and can extend up to the throat. Spicy foods, coffee, and Cola drinks worsen these conditions.
Medications are available to control acid levels in the stomach. People with proven peptic ulcers and hiatus hernia should consult their doctor well before Ramadhan.
For those who have kidney problems it is essential to drink extra liquids so as to prevent stone formation.
Those who are elderly or suffer from arthritis or are overweight should Exercise
the lower limbs before Ramadhan so that they can be prepared for the long Tarawi
prayers and lose weight. Also they should learn the correct sitting position in
the Tashahud of the final
rakahs(please look prayer section of
www.shariahway.com). Not sitting in the correct way can for some brothers
and sisters especially those who are overweight or suffer from arthritis,
cartilage problems, or are top heavy due to say training mostly the upper body
can struggle to sit for the final tashahud in the same manner of say the secound
tashahud (like in secound rakah of dhuhr,Asr,Magrib, Isha Salah). So the
solution is simple sit properly.
Also being physically fit allows greater fulfilment of ones prayers.
One should not over eat at iftaar (when breaking the fast). Try to eat just
enough to get by. But not too little that you feel faint. Otherwise you will
find it difficult to concentrate in
the prayer due to feeling bloated and also feel very sleepy.
If you smoke then you should give it up as it is Haram.
Also as they say the term a MAN (OR WOMEN )HUNGRY IS A MAN WHO IS ANGRY.
Hunger and especially craving for cigarettes can make both men and women very
short tempered. Therefore one should constantly remember purpose of fasting is
to attain taqwa. Thus one should
not loose their temper and become sinful. Having Patience is one of the
qualities of a pious person. Thus when we can be patient at times of cravings
for food etc then this will help us get closer to our goal of attaining Taqwa.
Also another warning is that there are many vitamins and mineral supplements on
market. Recently it has been found that some of these vitamins can be very
dangerous for health. For instance for many years students have be taught that
vitamins supplements can improve our health and so on. Well it was found that
rather vitamin A supplements rather than benefiting ones health were actually
detrimental to ones health. In studies in Sweden it was found although the
population was very fit and had a calcium rich diet they had a unusually high
rate of osteoporosis cases compared with other European countries. After
investigation the case of this was due to increased consumption Vitamin A it was
found long term consumption
1,5mg of vitamin A per day decreased bone density by 10 %. And this can even be
achieved by diet heavy in products with vitamin A alone
and one vitamin A pill will go well above that level.
vitamin A in the form of retinal causes liver problems as excessive amounts
cannot be excreted so easily and thus accumulates in the liver.
It was believed that vitamin A may help reduced lung cancer in smokers so a
mass clinical study was undertaken in USA. The study was halted
immediately after it was found that those patients who were given vitamin A in
the form of betcarotine had a massive 28 percent increase in cancer. And the
same had happened earlier in similar studies in another country.