Ramzan 2018: Here's What Fasting For An Entire Month Can Do To Your Body
Ramadan 2018: Ramzan fasting is roughly for a period of 12 hours in a day, which is not bad for the body. You have to keep a check on what you eat and how you eat: Dr Rupali Datta
Ramzan 2018: Eat high fibre and high protein foods for sehri
- 12 hours of fasting will not have a negative impact on your health
- Avoid refined carbs during sehri to feel energised during the day
- Include healthy and nutritious foods in your sehri and iftar
The holy month of Ramadan or Ramzan began on Wednesday, May 16. During Ramadan, people from the Muslim community fast for an entire month from dawn to sunset. Fasting is an essential part of the culture and tradition of the occasion. It is obligatory for all adult Muslims, apart from the ones who are suffering from an illness, are travelling, the elderly or the ones who are suffering from any particular health condition which can worsen during fasting. The pre-dawn meal is known as sehri and the meal after sunset is known as iftar. As part of the fasting, Muslims are expected to abstain from eating and drinking during daylight. They are encouraged to read the entire Quran throughout the month and then celebrate Eid-A-Fitr, or Meethi Eid at the end of the month. But what kind of impact does fasting for an entire month have on our health? Dr Rupali Datta, clinical nutritionist, says, "Fasting during Ramzan won't have any negative impact on your health as you are not fasting for 24 hours. Ramadan fasting is roughly for a period of 12 hours in a day, which is not bad for the body. You have to keep a check on what you eat and how you eat. Traditionally, the eating patterns during Ramzan are absolutely healthy and sensible."
Also read: Health Benefits Of Fasting You Didn't Know
However, people tend to indulge more on heavy foods and fried foods thinking that they have to fast for the whole day. Dr Rupali says that this is not required and you can eat normal and nutritious foods during both sehri and iftar. "In the morning, you can have porridge or something with fruits and whole grains or good quality of proteins from eggs. Drinking adequate water is important. Eating healthy foods gives you nutrients in the form of electrolytes. Instead of having empty calories in the form of sugar or fat, you should have a more nourishing diet that will help in maintaining your energy levels throughout the day," she explains.
Coming over to iftar, she says that drinking gallons of water is not going to be a good idea as it will dilute your electrolytes. "You have to realise that after having not eaten throughout the day, you are eating at a time when the body is starting to slow down. So, having very heavy food will not be very helpful. You can probably have some dried fruits and nuts, then some fruits and a light sherbet or drink which is not very sugary. You can then have your dinner after some time before going to bed," says Dr Rupali.
Also read: How Much Weight Can I Lose With Intermittent Fasting?
She points out the fact that people have now started feasting during every iftar in the form of parties or social gatherings. This, she says, has become problematic and can affect in a negative way. "Health risks during fasting for Ramadan come from not eating proper healthy and nutritious foods during sehri and iftar. You can feast for an iftar maybe once a week. But avoid making it a daily habit," she suggests.
People fasting during Ramzan can experience a few health outcomes like less frequent urination and slight dehydration. It may get difficult for people working outdoors for the entire day. They can benefit by having a lot of fluids in the morning and foods that give you nutrients instead of empty calories.
Also read: Does Fasting Promote Weight Loss?
Following are a few more tips for fasting during Ramadan by Monisha Ashokan, also a clinical nutritionist:
1. Avoid white refined carbs on sehri, as it will lead to a quick burst of energy leaving you hungry, weak and starving rest of the day.
2. Include high fibre and high protein in your sehri so that it keeps you energised for a longer time.
3. Hydration is the most important during fasting for Ramzan. Drink enough water during both sehri and iftar.
4. Break your fast with some water as body is craving for hydration. You can then eat something sweet or high energy foods like banana, dates or mango. This can be followed by foods including regular home food with carbs (roti or rice) along with any protein of your choice and greens in order to keep your body alkaline.
5. Don't overeat or indulge in fried foods as it can lead to indigestion after prolonged fasting.
(Dr Rupali Datta is Consultant Nutritionist at Fortis Escorts)
(Monisha Ashokan is a clinical nutritionist at Nourish Me, Delhi)
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