Preparing for Ramadan

Preparing for Ramadan

The holy month is a great time to reflect, meditate and take care of your health


Sadiq Shaban

Published: Tue 31 May 2016, 11:01 AM

Last updated: Tue 31 May 2016, 1:06 PM

Come June, Ramadan - the holiest month in the Islamic calendar - will begin in the UAE and around much of the globe. It is a time to reflect, meditate and take care of your overall well-being. During this time, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset as a form of spiritual cleansing, self-discipline and empathy for the less fortunate.
A host of Ramadan-related activities take place during this month. As people and businesses observe charity, there is arrangement in mosques for free Iftar meals for all, especially the less privileged members of society. Similarly, there are meals sponsored by charities, companies or individuals all over the country. Several hotels put up special Iftar tents with a range of prices to match.
Apart from the spike in people's spending, the occasion is marked with spiritual fervour in the UAE. Residents and nationals in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and other emirates buy foodstuff and household items in bulk. Ramadan serves as a catalyst for retail activity, particularly wholesale purchase of food items, home appliances and many other categories. There are various special discounts, freebies and sales announced across major malls, stores and hypermarkets during the Holy Month.
Unfortunately, Ramadan also marks an increase in cases related to overeating, indigestion and gastric problems. "Overeating in Ramadan is quite common. We see a number of cases as people suffer from gastritis and abdominal pain because of overeating during Iftar. The number of cases tends to be higher at the beginning of the Holy Month.
Gastritis is an acute inflammation of the lining of the stomach that can be caused by eating food quickly and in large portions after fasting all day. This leads to abdominal pain, stomach upsets and sometimes vomiting," Dr Ali Ghani, Emergency Specialist at Dubai's Mediclinic Welcare Hospital told Khaleej Times.
Fat-rich foods must be avoided during Ramadan because it defeats the purpose of fasting. "It's usually a combination of fasting and binge eating during Ramadan that makes people complain of headaches, dizziness or nausea, and low blood sugar. We also see a rise in uncontrolled diabetes cases in the Holy Month. People must be cautious during this time, otherwise unhealthy and fat-rich food choices may pose several health dangers. Moderate food intake and reduced fat intake must be a priority for everyone," the emergency specialist concluded.
Three essentials during Ramadan
Eat Suhoor
Eating the pre-dawn meal or Suhoor is highly recommended before a day of fasting. Some people might want to skip this important meal in order to avoid breaking their sleep cycle. Suhoor is vital as it stimulates digestion, keeps sugar levels stable and delays hunger pangs through the day. A wholesome Suhoor gives a daily dose of essential nutrients to avoid lethargy through the day.
Limit fat intake
Don't cut out all the fat; limit it. Avoid fried, greasy and super sweet foods. Instead snack on fruits and vegetables at Iftar. Try and cook at home and opt for lean meats. As much as possible, avoid processed food. Taking in too much saturated fat is directly linked with raising levels of bad LDL cholesterol in the blood and increase in internal inflammation.
Walk after Iftar
Take a short walk just after Iftar. The change in environment and exposure to fresh air may awaken your senses and make you feel good. It improves overall well-being and aids in proper digestion, better control of blood sugar levels and triglycerides in the body. A 10-minute walk after meals can transform your health and prevent several
health complications.

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