Healthy Food and Fasting this Ramadan
health and lifestyle | Monday, 28 May 2018
The holy month of Ramadan is a time of devotion and contemplation, as well as the strengthening of family and community ties. All over the world, Muslims fast by abstaining from food, water, and other behaviours deemed sinful when the sun is up. For Malaysians, iftar — or breaking fast— also ushers a time of celebration and communion, one in which families gather for a feast or communities tread along the bustling Ramadan bazaar for their loot of snacks and traditional foods.
While iftar marks the time for a feast, the holy month is also a time to practice moderation— all for the good of one’s health. As you fast from dawn to dusk, your eating habits will alter the way your body functions and responds to fatigue and stress. In this light, maintaining a healthy eating habit will be crucial in up-keeping your wellbeing.
Here's what you need to know about fasting and eating healthily for Ramadan.
What happens to your body during Ramadan
As you fast from sahur to iftar, the body experiences a different way of processing and dispensing energy. During a fast, glucose is first used up to provide energy for your daily tasks. Later on in the day, once the store of glucose runs out, fat will become the next source of energy for the body.
The use of fat for energy aids in weight loss while preserving the muscles. In the long run, fasting helps reduce your cholesterol levels, leading to a better control of diabetes and blood pressure.
Body fat (and certain residual sare dissolved and expelled from the body. After a few days of fasting, higher levels of endorphins will appear in the blood, resulting in a greater sense of alertness and an overall feeling of positive well-being.
How to eat well this Ramadan
When you’re fasting this holy month, what and how you consume in those non-fasting hours will be a large factor in how you fare during fasting hours. To maintain healthy eating habits, your meal plan should be appropriate to the circumstances with heavy emphasis on balanced meals and sufficient fluid intake.
For sahur, your meals should be wholesome, moderate, and filling— ones that provide enough energy for many hours. Here, complex carbohydrates such as bran, grains, wheat, beans and oats are a great resource for long-lasting energy. Foods rich in protein such as fish and lean meat are also recommended as you kickstart your day.
For iftar, starting your meal with dates will provide a refreshing burst of much-needed energy after a long day. Fruit juices can offer quick rehydration and energy repletion while still being easy on the stomach. However, you should be careful not to overdo them because the easily digestible sugars can cause an insulin spike. During this time, ease into your food slowly and let your stomach warm up before you dig into food which is too rich or heavy. Remember to drink lots of water too!
Just remember, you hold the key to a nutritious diet. A balanced food plan containing fresh and healthy ingredients cooked right will help you make the fullest of your iftar and sahur.
Taking care of your health through sleep, diet and exercise could help you vastly improve personal productivity, even during the month of Ramadan. Now, you'll want to go the extra mile by planning for your health in the long run by considering one of Allianz's life protection or medical insurance options. Getting the right life or medical insurance can make all the difference when weathering life's uncertainties.
With that, we wish you a pleasant and healthy Ramadan.
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