Ramadan is a time of self-improvement, spiritual reflection, heightened devotion, self-control, and sacrifice. Since you’re fasting for long periods, you might be tempted to overindulge during Iftar, which can make you sluggish, bloated, and uncomfortable.
Here are some healthy eating tips to help you zero in on nutritious and balanced meals to be your best self.
#1 Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Hydration offers some massive health benefits, including enhanced physical performance, increased energy levels and brain function, and relieving constipation. To keep you hydrated, drink a couple of glasses of water before your meal.
Limit Ramadan drinks as they are loaded with sugar and calories. Soups offer a significant variation to boost your hydration levels. Include lentil, vegetable or tomato soups and avoid cream-based soups. During the summer months, Gazpachos and cold soups are a great alternative.
#2 Include greens in your diet
There are at least nine different families of fruits and vegetables, each with hundreds of plant compounds beneficial for health. Eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies. A diet rich in fruits and veggies lowers your risk of blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and prevents some types of cancer. Likewise, it reduces eye and digestive problems and keeps your appetite in check. During Ramadan, aim for two servings of vegetables per meal. It can be cooked or raw vegetables, leafy raw vegetables, or vegetable juice.
#3 Choose complex carbs
Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and provide a more stable source of energy in addition to minerals and fibers. Complex carbs present in whole foods are highly nutritious. Whole-grain foods have a layer of bran and germ and provide phytochemicals, vitamins E and B, and healthy fats.
Some examples of complex carbs include barley, brown rice, oats, Spelt, buckwheat, wild rice, whole grain pasta or bread, chapatis, basmati rice, and potatoes. Complex carbohydrates reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and several forms of cancer.
#4 Lean protein is healthy.
Incorporating lean protein is essential for a healthy eating plan. Scientific literature shows us proteins boosts energy levels, helps lose weight or bulk up, and improves heart health. Protein-rich foods that are high in fat raise your cholesterol levels and increase your risk of coronary heart disease.
Aim to eat high-quality proteins during Iftar since they help to build and maintain muscle mass. Include milk, beef, yogurt, eggs, cheese, poultry, and fish. They’re all complete high-quality proteins. Likewise, lean proteins such as skinless chicken, fish, and low-fat dairy can be useful add-ons for your Iftar meal. Go in for protein-rich sources such as beans, nuts, and legumes if you’re a vegetarian.
#5 Say no to foods high in fat, sugar, and salt.
Its quite natural that you favor fatty, sugary, and salty foods after a prolonged fast. Having only a short eating window, it’s a must that you nourish and hydrate your body with all essential nutrients. So the quality of your diet should be healthy and nutritious.
As far as possible, refrain from eating heavy meals at Iftar. These foods may be high in fats, salt, and sugar. Switch to healthy cooking and go in for recipes that require baking, stewing, roasting, steaming and grilling. Add more spices and herbs to flavor your meals. Go in for naturally occurring sugars in fruits, fruit salads, and dried fruits.
# Bonus tip: Eat mindfully
Relish your foods and engage your senses by noticing the colors, flavors, smells, sounds, and textures. Mindful eating has many benefits. It reduces stress, eases digestion, reduces food cravings and calories, lessens binge eating, and helps you to enjoy food.
Is fasting good for health
A recent research study has some great answers to this question. A study based on the fasting practices of Ramadan found increased levels of proteins that play an essential role in enhancing insulin resistance and protects against the risk of high sugar diet and high-fat diet. This kind of fasting offers a potentially new treatment approach to metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Have a safe and healthy fasting season!