Ramzan, or Ramadan, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and the month in which the Quran was revealed. Fasting during the month of Ramzan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and Muslims fast during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset. Even as you ready for this time for fasting and piety to cleanse the soul and come closer to Allah, we tell you what you shouldn’t be doing this month:
Eating too much-processed food
Processed foods are convenient but most of them are usually unhealthy as they contain high-fructose corn syrup, sodium, oils and MSG (to enhance flavour). Junk foods are devoid of nutrients and will do nothing for you. Stock up on fruits, vegetables and nuts, and focus on getting all your food groups.
Drinking Roohafza on a daily basis
Roohafza or other rose-flavoured drinks may seem to provide your parched palate some respite during Iftaar but they exact a heavy price on your body. High in sugar, additives and colorants, this sharbat doesn’t provide your body with the nutrients it needs when you are fasting. If you must drink it, limit consumption to twice a week.
Guzzling large amounts of water at Iftaar time
Coming after an entire day of fasting, too much water too soon may completely fill up the stomach and be more strenuous than simple food can be. We recommend having a few sips of water at Iftaar and then ensuring you have a glassful every two hours.
Chewing and swallowing food too fast
It’s natural to want to eat as fast as you can when you’re very hungry, but slowing down can help. Research has shown that eating slowly and mindfully helps you eat less, aids the digestion process and enhances the pleasure of the food. It can also help you maintain your weight.
Consuming foods high in sodium
They may seem to be flavourful but foods rich in sodium – salty snacks, salted nuts and seeds, chips, pickles and papads – triggers thirst through the fasting hours of the day. Instead, eat foods that are high in potassium as they retain water and help suppress your thirst. Try bananas, milk, pistachios, pumpkin, peas and dark chocolate.
Exercising directly after Iftaar
Most people who are keen to pursue their fitness even during the month of fasting often schedule their exercise sessions immediately after their evening meal. However, this should be avoided as the body’s blood flow is concentrated around the stomach at that time and exercising may affect the digestive process. Instead, exercise two hours after your meal.
Having dessert directly after Iftaar
Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramzan fast at sunset. Most people end their meal with a sweet treat, be it kheer, phirni or halwa. However, ending a heavy meal with a heavy dessert can make you drowsy. Save the dessert for later and enjoy it two hours after Iftaar to stay fresh and awake for Ishaa and Taraweeh prayers.
Keep in mind that maintaining your usual daily activity level during Ramzan is recommended, but do avoid the sun and heat.