Ramadan 2016: What to eat and what to avoid
As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, we speak to a health expert on diet guidelines to be followed during the period.
By Nida Sohail
Published: Tue 3 May 2016, 3:30 PM
Last updated: Mon 23 May 2016, 4:16 PM
1. What are the three basic things to be kept in mind when observing a fast?
b. Sleep: Meet minimum requirement of six hours
c. Avoid binge eating in one meal
2. Any special considerations when observing a fast during summer?
a. People on medications should consult their physician and adjust dosage or get prescription suitable for fasting.
b. To plan ahead and judiciously eat and stay hydrated if spending more hours out in the sun.
c. People with diabetes, renal disorders, migraines, gastric ulcers, cardiac disorders and other conditions should always consult with their physicians before fasting.
Always to carry the medical insurance card in case of any medical emergencies. Ramadan is the time of the year where the hospital emergency departments receive many cases where people faint on the roads or even have a stroke.
d. Lactating mothers till six months from delivery: fasting can affect the quality and the quantity of milk production. Always consult a doctor.
3. How much water should be consumed by a person after Iftar and at Suhoor?
Total fluid intake is 2.5 to 4 liters (2 litres of water plus 1 litre of other fluids like soups, fresh juice, beverages, laban)
Suhoor: up to 1 litre water plus fluids with meal like milk or juice.
Iftar: Up to 2 litres of water only spaced out till bedtime, plus fluids from meals. Generous water intake from Iftar to bedtime helps the body to regulate hydration, electrolyte balance and blood pressure. It also reduces the risk of strokes.
4. What kind of dishes/food should be consumed during Ramadan?
Enjoy fresh and traditional home-made food as much as possible. Reduce the intake of processed or fast foods.
Carbohydrates: Whole grains that offer sustained energy release and don't suddenly hike blood glucose levels. Only for Iftar: high calorie dishes can enjoyed while watching out on portions to help recover from low blood glucose levels.
Fish, chicken, lean meat, soya milk, almond milk, fermented dairy products like yoghurt and cheese (as whole milk can be hard to digest and cause bloating), are a great source of amino acids, calcium, magnesium and potassium which help restore muscle mass and also prevent muscle cramping and fatigue.
Fresh fruits and vegetables help restore salt and water balance in the body, also prevent constipation especially figs and prunes.
5. What kind of dishes/food should be avoided during Ramadan?
Choose wisely when eating out. Choose fresh foods as much as possible. Food poisoning incidents are high during the period due to high humidity levels that favour rapid bacterial growth.
Foods that have added sugars and trans fats should also be avoided.
As told by Juliot Vinolia Rajarathinam, Clinical Dietitian and Consultant Nutritionist at Medeor 24x7 Hospital, Dubai.