Ramadan & Diabetes – Managing Diabetes During Ramadan

MANAGING DIABETES DURING RAMADAN

Diabetes-and-Ramadan-Guidelines

Fasting for Ramadan:

The Qur’an requires Muslims to fast during the month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset.

However, there are exceptions to this. One of them is that people who are ill or have medical conditions do not have to fast. This includes people with diabetes. To find out more about this, you can speak to your Imam.

From 2014, for the next several years Ramadan in the UK is in the summer months and the length of fasts is very long (17 hours or more). Long fasts put you at higher risk of hypoglycaemia and dehydration, which can make you ill.

Ultimately, it is a personal choice whether or not to fast. However, if you do choose to fast, then you must consult your doctor or healthcare team before Ramadan, to make sure that you are able to look after yourself properly. Failing to do so is in itself contrary to the Qur’an, which clearly states that you must not act in a way that harms your body.

This information will help you reduce the risks of becoming ill during Ramadan if you decide to fast, as well as highlighting the dangers of fasting for people with diabetes.

If you decide to fast:

  • If, after consulting with your doctor, you decide to fast:
  • If you are taking insulin, you will require less insulin before the start of the fast
  • The type of insulin may also need changing from your usual type
  • Pre-mixed insulin is not recommended during fasting
  • Before starting the fast, you should include more slowly absorbed food (low GI), such as rice, pitta bread and dhal, in your meal, along with fruit and vegetables
  • Check your blood glucose levels more often than you normally would
  • When you break the fast, have only small quantities food, and avoid only eating sweet or fatty foods
  • Try to eat just before sunrise, when you commence the next day’s fast
  • At the end of fasting you should drink plenty of sugar-free and decaffeinated fluids to avoid being dehydrated.

Ramadan & Diabetes – Managing Diabetes During Ramadan

If you are planning on fasting and have diabetes, it is important to speak to your diabetes healthcare team as early as possible before Ramadan. For some people with diabetes, fasting can be dangerous or can cause problems to your health. Your diabetes team will be able to advise you on whether it is safe for you to fast. If you are able to fast, they will advise you on how to keep good diabetes control throughout the fasting period.

WHAT IS DIABETES?

  • Diabetes is a health condition where the amount of glucose in your blood gets too high. 
  • This happens if your pancreas doesn’t make any insulin or enough insulin to help the glucose enter your body’s cells. Or the insulin it does make doesn’t work properly.
  • Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that allows glucose to enter the body’s cells, where it’s used as fuel for energy so we can work, play and generally live our lives. It’s vital for life.
  • Glucose come from digesting carbohydrate and it’s also produced by the liver.
  • If you have diabetes, your body cannot make proper use of this fuel so it builds up in the blood which can be dangerous.

THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF DIABETES

Type 1 is when the body is unable to produce any
insulin, which we need to break down the glucose
(energy) in what we eat or drink.

  • We don’t know exactly what causes it, but we know it’s not to do with being overweight. You can’t prevent Type 1 diabetes.
  • It is usually diagnosed when you are a child or young adult.
  • Approximately 10 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 1.

Type 2 develops when the body cannot make enough insulin, or when the insulin produced doesn’t work properly.

  • Your family history, age and ethnic background affects your risk of developing it, and you’re more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you’re overweight.
  • It starts gradually, usually later in life, and because the symptoms may not be so obvious it might be years before you learn that you have it.
  • If undetected, can lead to serious life-threatening conditions.
  • Approximately 90 per cent of people living with diabetes have Type 2.

WHAT HAPPENS TO MY BODY WHEN I FAST?

When we don’t eat during a fast, at about eight hours after our last meal our bodies start to use energy stores to keep our blood glucose (sugar) levels normal. For most people, this is not harmful.

With diabetes, especially if you take certain tablets
or insulin, you are at risk of hypoglycaemia or ‘hypos’ (low blood glucose levels). This year, the fasts are long and the risks of hypoglycaemia and dehydration (lack of water) are high. Another problem that can occur if you have diabetes, is the risk of high glucose levels following the larger meals that we eat before and after fasting (at Suhoor/Sehri and Iftar).

Hypoglycaemia, high glucose levels and dehydration
can be dangerous for people with diabetes

I HAVE DIABETES – CAN I FAST?

Most people with health problems, such as diabetes
are exempt from fasting. Choosing to fast is a personal decision that you should make with advice from your diabetes team. For some people with diabetes, fasting can be dangerous or cause problems to your health. Speak to your GP, diabetes nurse or diabetes doctor before fasting.

Certain people and circumstances are exempt from
fasting. For example:

  • children (under the age of puberty)
  •  the elderly
  •  those who are sick or have a certain health condition
  • those with learning difficulties
  • those who are travelling
  • pregnant, breastfeeding and menstruating women
  • anyone who would be putting their health at serious risk by fasting, eg people who treat their diabetes with insulin and/or certain medication, people who have diabetic complications (damage to eyes, kidney or the nerves in your hands and feet), or people who have poor control of their diabetes.

Remember, if you cannot fast, you can complete
your duties by offering charity or providing food to the poor. Speak to your local Imam for more information about this.

Remember, if you cannot fast this Ramadan, you may be able to make up the fast at a later date, perhaps during the winter months.

You must speak to your doctor or diabetes nurse
about your diabetes treatment as early as possible
before Ramadan.

IS IT OK TO TEST MY BLOOD GLUCOSE IN RAMADAN WHILE I AM FASTING?

Yes, testing your blood glucose levels regularly is important and will keep you safe while fasting. This will not break your fast.

DO I NEED TO WAKE UP FOR SUHOOR (SEHRI)?

Long hours without eating increase the risk of hypoglycaemia. You must try to eat a meal at Suhoor just before sunrise and not at midnight, as this will help to keep your glucose levels more balanced through the fast.

WHAT TYPES OF FOOD SHOULD I EAT AT SUHOOR (SEHRI)?

At Suhoor you should eat starchy carbohydrates which release energy slowly, such as multigrain bread, oat-based cereals, basmati rice together with beans, pulses, lentils and fruit and vegetables. Other foods which will keep your blood glucose levels more stable through the fast include pitta bread, chapattis and semolina. As with all meals, eat sensibly, do not over eat and remember to drink plenty of water.

WHAT TYPES OF FOOD SHOULD I EAT AT IFTAR?

Remember to eat sensibly and healthily all year round but also in Ramadan. Overeating and eating the wrong foods (such as fried foods, foods high in fat and sugar) in large quantities will not only make you put on weight but will also lead to big increases and imbalances in your blood glucose levels. Keep portion sizes moderate. Remember that Ramadan is also about self-control and discipline. Please see your dietitian for further advice.

WHAT TYPES OF DRINKS CAN I HAVE?

Fasting can put you at risk of dehydration with long
hours of fasting and also if you have high blood glucose levels. Drink plenty of fluids (sugar-free), particularly water at Suhoor and after Iftar.

CAN I PRAY TARAWEEH?

Remember, Taraweeh can be a strenuous activity and you could become dehydrated or have low blood glucose levels.

To avoid problems during Taraweeh, make sure you:

  • eat starchy foods with Iftar as they are digested slowly
  • drink plenty of water following Iftar
  • take a bottle of water and glucose treatment with you to Taraweeh.

SAFETY TIPS

Always carry glucose treatment with you.

  • Always have diabetes identification, such as a medical bracelet.
  • Test your blood regularly to monitor your glucose (sugar) levels. This will not break your fast.
  • Test your blood glucose level if you feel unwell during the fast.
  • If your blood sugar level is high or low, you must treat this.
  • If your blood glucose is less than 3.3mmol/l, end the fast immediately and treat the low blood sugar level.
  • If your blood glucose level is 3.9mmol/l at the start of the fast and you are on insulin or gliclazide, do not fast.
  • If your blood glucose level is higher than 16mmol/l, end the fast immediately.
  • If you become dehydrated, end the fast immediately and have a drink of water.
  • If you start to feel unwell, disoriented, confused, if you collapse or faint, stop fasting and have a drink of water or other fluid.
  • You should never stop your insulin, but you must speak to your doctor because you may need to change the dose and times of your insulin injections.

IS RAMADAN A GOOD TIME TO GIVE UP SMOKING?

If you have diabetes, smoking increases your risk of heart problems. Ramadan is a good time to build up your self-control and give up smoking. Talk to your GP if you are interested.

SUMMARY

  • Speak to your diabetes team if you are planning to fast.
  • Check your blood glucose levels more often.
  • Try to fast a couple of days in the month before Ramadan (the month of Shabaan) to see if you are capable of fasting without complications.
  • Continue a varied and balanced diet.
  • Include more starchy carbohydrates and slowly absorbed foods.
  • Try not to have too many sugary and fatty foods.
  • When you break the fast, ensure you drink plenty of sugar-free and decaffeinated drinks to avoid dehydration.

Courtesy: Written by the Muslim Council of Britain Diabetes Advisory Group (Dr Sarah Ali, Dr Sufyan Hussain, Dr Tahseen Chowdhury, Professor Wasim Hanif and Dr Shuja Shafi) and Diabetes UK.

Ramadan Fasting : Canadian Experts Provide Tips to Stay Healthy & Hydrated

Ramadan Fasting : Canadian Experts Provide Tips to Stay Healthy & Hydrated

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TORONTO — Dr. Ghena Ismail has been fasting for her religion since she was nine years old.

This year is no different: The psychologist at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa, Ont. will begin 30 days of fasting on Wednesday to mark the month of Ramadan.

She joins Muslims around the world who will be observing the Ramadan fast — there will be no food or drink in daylight hours during the annual ritual.

Islam is based on the lunar calendar — unlike other years, Ramadan is in July at the height of summer instead of during the winter months.

This swap in seasons offers some unique challenges for those fasting: much longer days and warmer temperatures that toy with hydration levels and thirst moreso than in the colder months.

Dr. Ismail and Cleveland Clinic Canada registered dietician Nicole Springle offer their tips to manage the month-long fast.

Stay hydrated

Making sure you don’t get dehydrated is much more challenging in the summer, Springle said.

“It certainly creates a lot more difficulty than in the winter when you’re not losing as much through sweat and breath and the days are shorter allowing more time to offset,” she said.

Men, on average, need to drink about three litres of water — or 13 cups — while women need to consume about 2.2 litres, or nine cups a day.

That’s easier to do when it’s spaced out during the day, though. And these are only guidelines, if you plan on exercising during Ramadan or you work outdoors in the heat, your fluid intake may need to be higher to compensate.

Springle’s suggestion is to drink as much water as you can before, during and after your meal times after sunset.

Ismail starts her meal with a glass of water. She keeps a jug of water at her bedside so that she sips on it before bed and if she wakes up in the middle of the night.

“Some people don’t even get thirsty — they can go through the whole fast without getting thirsty,” she said.

Ismail avoids caffeine while fasting and Springle says that’s a faster’s best bet — the caffeine will only add to dehydration.

Break your fast carefully

“Breaking the fast in itself, people need to be mindful of how they do it. It is about gradually breaking the fast,” Ismail advises.

She begins with water, small appetizers like soups, light salads and yogurts and even dates before dinner.

She said some observers of Ramadan eat, then pray and return to their mealtime.

Springle suggests consuming fast-acting carbohydrates to get your digestive systems running. That’s why dates have gained popularity in Ramadan fasting — they’re high in sugar but nutritious with magnesium, potassium and fibre.

Whole foods like fruits or fruit juices can also help in digesting fluids and electrolytes, she says.

Make your meals count

Ismail tries to eat a balanced diet even when she isn’t fasting.

Springle suggests that while fasting, there are some foods that can help you go the distance.

“You really want to be ensuring you’re taking in meals with low sugar, and high complex carbohydrates because these foods stay in your system longer,” she explained. That means you’ll be less hungry during the day.

These power foods include whole grains, like barley, wheat, oats; legumes, like lentils or beans; and fresh produce like fruits and potatoes.

Protein rich sources — lean meats, fish, eggs, milk, nuts or seeds — can also help to stabilize blood sugar levels, which in turn can help curb cravings and hunger pangs.

Pair each meal with a couple glasses of water to ease digestion. The water also helps with meals because the natural electrolytes in the food on your plate — sodium, potassium and magnesium, for example — can help draw in the absorption of water in our kidneys, Springle said.

Try to fit in a meal before sunrise

With the sun rising at as early as 4 a.m. and setting by 9 p.m., some people fast for more than 16 hours. It’s important to pace yourself when eating your first meal of the day, Ismail said.

“The challenge is not just the heat, but the hours are longer,” she said. In the winter, fasts could begin at 6 a.m. with sunset arriving by 4:30 p.m.

Springle suggests breaking your normal three meals down into two meals — one eaten when breaking your fast in the evening and again in the early hours before the sun rises.

Try to avoid processed foods. The faster your body breaks the meal down, the sooner you’ll get hungry, Springle explained. That means that a sugary breakfast cereal may need to be swapped for oatmeal in the morning.

Vitamins aren’t necessary if you’re following your fast with healthy, nutritious fare.

Springle said that while it’s traditionally thought that people lose weight during Ramadan, in some cases they gain weight because they don’t eat moderately when breaking the fast. The goal is to maintain weight.

“If you do it right, you can sustain your energy,” Springle said.

For Ismail, she prefers not to interrupt her sleep for a second meal. Because she makes conscious choices with her dinner, she says she can thrive on her dinner for the rest of the following day.

Don’t push yourself

Pregnant women, nursing mothers and those who are ill are exempt from fasting, according to the Qur’an.

That also extends to children, and seniors or adults who have health problems or rely on oral medication that they need to take during the day.

Ismail said that people shouldn’t push their bodies too far during this time.

“It’s a misconception that you cannot break the fast. You are defying your body and that is not good, spiritually speaking. You have to respect the boundaries of your body,” she said.

Those who are too sick to fast at all can compensate by paying what’s called “fidah” — the equivalent of about $10 a day to help feed the poor.

The fasting is meant to teach willpower and feel compassion for those who are less fortunate, Ismail said.

“I fast because it is a religious duty. It is a way of strengthening one’s will, one’s commitment to one’s faith and spirituality and feeling with the poor, those who don’t have the ability to eat,” she told Global News.

Courtesy of Global News Canada

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Eating Healthily During the Month of Ramadan

Eating Healthily During the Month of Ramadan

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Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and in Muslim tradition is a time of heightened commitment to piety and purification. Fasting is among the special observances that Muslims undertake, in which they refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk. Urdu Main Roza Acha Guzarnay ki Tips k Liaye page k end per jain

Fasting radically alters the diet. Meals are limited to the morning and evening, causing the body’s metabolism to slow. Some may experience discomfort during the day. However, good health can be maintained by consuming adequate nutrients during meals. Below are some tips for observing a healthy and safe fast during Ramadan.

Consider the following:

  • Divide your food into three meals. Saher is the morning meal when the fast starts, iftar is the evening snack when the fast is broken and then dinner.
  • Include complex carbohydrate foods rich in fibre, such as those found in grains and seeds. For example, whole wheat roti, brown rice, daal, beans, bajara, bran, fruits and vegetables should be eaten, particularly during saher. Fibre-rich foods help increase the feeling of fullness, promote good blood glucose levels and help with regularity. Fasting during the day can also increase stomach acid content and cause feelings of pain or discomfort. High-fibre foods during dinner can help neutralise this acid and alleviate pain. (Remember to increase fluids with fibre intake to prevent excessive gas).
  • During iftar, dates and juice are traditionally consumed. Include three dates and 4 oz (120 mL) of juice to help normalise possible low sugar (hypoglycemia) and provide the much needed “instant” energy along with hydration. If you have diabetes, please consult with your healthcare provider for medication or diet adjustments and learn more about Fasting and Diabetes.
  • Bake or grill foods instead of frying them, and if frying, decrease the amount of oil used. Try and measure the oil in spoonfuls instead of just pouring it from the bottle.
  • Choose lower fat and lean cuts of meat. Skin chicken and remove any visible fat before cooking.
  • Eat slowly and chew food well. Because you have not eaten all day, there will be a tendency to want to eat a large quantity of food quickly. Remember that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you are full — put small portions on your plate first.
  • Walking in the evening for at least 30 minutes is an ideal routine activity. Walking will not only help your metabolism, but also help your mind stay clear. However, if you’ve eaten a big meal, blood needs to move to your digestive system rather than to your muscles, so a brisk walk straight after a heavy meal is not a good idea. Wait 1-2 hours after your meal before engaging in any strenuous activity. Best to keep your meals light.
  • Drink as much fluid (preferably water) as possible. It is advisable to consume at least 8-12 cups between iftar and bedtime so that your body may adjust fluid levels in time for the next day.

Avoid:

  • Fried and fatty foods such as french fries, sweets, fried samosa, pakoras, parathas, greasy curries and biriyani. High-fat foods are high in calories and are nutrient deficient which will lead to an imbalanced diet, thereby increasing sluggishness and fatigue during Ramadan.
  • Salt and salted food, such as achars pickles, papadums, sauces, nuts, chips and olives. Dehydration is a risk due to limited fluid intake during the day, and high salt foods can further increase this risk by drawing fluids out of your body.
  • Foods containing too much sugar such as sweet glucose energy drinks and mithai. These are sources of empty calories with very little nutritional value. While they may provide you with instant energy, they will not sustain you through the day and night.
  • Overeating especially at saher can cause further metabolic imbalance, like highs and lows in your blood sugar and dehydration.
  • Too much tea or caffeine at saher. Both of these are diuretics when consumed in large quantities and the body can lose valuable minerals, salts and fluids that you need during the day.
  • Sleeping immediately after iftar and saher meals, since your body will require time to digest the food. Wait for 2–3 hrs before sleeping.

During the month of Ramadan, you might experience some minor discomforts. The following measures can help prevent these common conditions:

Constipation — Constipation can cause discomfort and indigestion, making you feel bloated. This can be caused by eating too much refined food, drinking too little water and / or not eating enough fibre. To avoid constipation, avoid refined foods by eating foods rich in fibre like whole grain cereals and bread. Increase your intake of high fibre carbohydrates such as daals, dried beans like tabuli, chana, fruits and vegetables. Drink lots of water.

Indigestion — Indigestion can be caused by over-eating or eating too many fried, fatty and spicy foods, or foods that produce gas. Fasting can also cause increased acidity, leading to the feeling of indigestion. To avoid indigestion, try not to overeat. Be sure to drink plenty of water and include foods rich in fibre to neutralise acidity and promote a feeling of fullness without overeating.

Headaches — Headaches while fasting can be caused by caffeine and tobacco-withdrawal, doing too much in one day, lack of sleep, dehydration and hunger. Headaches can occur as the day passes and can worsen by the end of the day. To avoid headaches, prepare for Ramadan by decreasing caffeine and tobacco consumption slowly, starting a week or two before Ramadan. Start drinking caffeine-free teas, coffee, unsweetened juices and water. Also, don’t forget about sleep. Prepare for Ramadan by reorganising your daily schedule to ensure a good night’s rest.

Low blood sugar — Low blood sugar can occur because of the length of time between meals. and Symptoms of low blood sugar need to be watched for carefully. These can include weakness, dizziness, tiredness, poor concentration, perspiration, feeling shaky, an inability to perform physical activities, headaches and palpitations.

Among non-diabetics, having too many refined carbohydrates like sugary foods, sugar-rich beverages like cola and sherbet — especially at saher — can cause low blood sugar during the fast. Low blood sugar can also be caused by not eating at saher. To avoid significant low blood sugar levels, be sure to eat at saher and limit intake of sugary foods and drinks. Make sure to eat nutrient dense foods including proteins, such as chicken, grilled lean meat, and eggs; fibre-rich carbohydrates, like whole wheat roti, and fruits; and a large glass of water.

Remember a meal should be a meal and not a feast. Please always remember to consult your doctor in advance if you have any of these conditions already, so that you can experience a rewarding and healthy Ramadan.

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Healthy Fasting During Ramadan

Healthy Fasting During Ramadan

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The month of Ramadan is a great opportunity to focus on bringing back a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Through fasting you learn how to manage your eating habits and improve self-discipline.

The following information aims to help you understand the health issues related to fasting, so that you are able to make more informed choices, minimise complications and maximise the benefit of your fast.

Is fasting healthy?

The body enters into a fasting state eight hours or so after the last meal, when the gut finishes absorption of nutrients from the food. In the normal state, body glucose, which is stored in the liver and muscles, is the body’s main source of energy.

During a fast, this store of glucose is used up first to provide energy. Later in the fast, once the stores of glucose run out, fat becomes the next store source of energy for the body. Only with a prolonged fast of many days to weeks does the body eventually turn to protein for energy. This is the technical description of what is commonly known as ‘starvation’, and it is clearly unhealthy.

As the Ramadan fast only extends from dawn until dusk, there is ample opportunity to replenish energy stores at pre-dawn and dusk meals. This provides a progressive and gentle transition from glucose to fat as the main source of energy, thereby preventing the breakdown of muscle for protein.

Balanced food and fluid intake is important between fasts. The kidney is very efficient at maintaining the body’s water and salts, such as sodium and potassium. However, these can be lost through sweating. To prevent muscle breakdown, meals must contain adequate levels of ‘energy food’, such as carbohydrates and some fat. Hence, a balanced diet with adequate quantities of nutrients, salts and water is vital.

Don’t skip breakfast!
Even though the thought of sleep may be far more appealing than waking up to force down some food, don’t skip breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and during Ramadan – it’s the meal that will sustain you for the next few hours.

Good and bad foods during Ramadan

During Ramadan you need to put extra effort into including foods from all five food groups to ensure variety and a well-balanced diet.

These foods include:

  • breads, cereals and other grain products
  • fruit and vegetables
  • meat, fish and poultry
  • milk, cheese and yoghurt
  • fats and sugars (these contain very little nutrients and are high in calories and therefore their intake should be limited).

The most commonly consumed foods by Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) were milk, dates, lamb/mutton and oats. Healthy foods mentioned in the Holy Qur’an are fruit and vegetables, such as olives, onions, cucumber, figs, dates, grapes as well as pulses such as lentils.

Complex carbohydrates are foods that will help release energy slowly during the long hours of fasting and are found in grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millets, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour and basmati rice. Look out for foods labeled Low G.I.

Fibre-rich foods are also digested slowly and include bran, cereals, whole wheat, grains and seeds, potatoes with skin, vegetables such as green beans and almost all fruit, including apricots, prunes and figs.

Foods to avoid are the heavily processed and fast-burning foods that contain refined carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour or fatty food like cakes, biscuits, chocolates and sweets. It may also be worth avoiding the caffeine content in drinks such as tea, coffee and cola (caffeine is a diuretic and stimulates faster water loss through urination).

Foods to avoid Healthy/alternative foods
  • Deep-fried foods, e.g. pakoras, samosas, fried dumplings
  • Whole grains, e.g. chickpeas (plain, or with potato in yogurt with different Indian spices), samosas baked instead of fried, and boiled dumplings
  • High-sugar/high-fat foods, e.g. Indian sweets such as Ghulab Jamun, Rasgulla, Balushahi, Baklawa
  • Milk-based sweets and puddings, e.g. Rasmalai, Barfee
  • High-fat cooked foods, e.g. parathas, oily curries, greasy pastries
  • Alternate with chapattis made without oil, and baked or grilled meat and chicken.
Cooking methods to avoid Alternative methods
  • Deep frying
  • Shallow frying – usually there is very little difference in taste
  • Frying
  • Grilling or baking is healthier and helps retain the taste and original flavour of the food, especially chicken and fish
  • Curries with excessive oil
  • Start with measuring the oil used in curry and try to bring the oil content down gradually, e.g. reducing five tablespoons to four. This is a good way of reducing oil without noticing much difference in the taste. A useful tip is to use more onions and tomatoes in the bulk of the curry

What foods should I eat at Suhoor and Iftar?

Suhoor
The pre-dawn meal should be a wholesome, moderate meal that is filling and provides enough energy for many hours. It is therefore particularly important to include slowly-digesting foods like complex carbohydrates. Drink fluids to keep you hydrated during the day and assist with digestion.

Iftar
The meal that breaks the day’s fast could include dates, following the Prophetic traditions. Dates will provide a refreshing burst of much-needed energy. Fruit juices will also have a similar, revitalising effect. The meal should remain a meal and not become

What if I’m unwell during Ramadan?

Ramadan fasting is obligatory for the healthy adult but when fasting may significantly affect the health of the fasting individual or when one is genuinely sick, Islam exempts them from fasting. “God intends every facility for you, he does not want to put you into difficulties” (Quran 2:185).

Because taking pills and medications can be seen as breaking the fast, people on regular medicines should discuss this with their doctor or pharmacist. If necessary, it is possible to make up missed fasting days at a later date.

Fasting isn’t recommended for pregnant women in their second or third trimester or children under the age of nine.

Should I exercise during Ramadan?

When we fast, our bodies naturally become less active because of the reduced energy that we are getting from food. Therefore, it is advisable to reduce the level of high impact exercise you perform during Ramadan. Rather than lifting weights at the gym, consider something like Yoga which will place less stress on your body and also allows you to relax and meditate during your exercise—important things during the month of Ramadan.

If you need to work out or train at the gym, consider exercising after you have broken the fast.

Should I smoke during Ramadan?

Smoking is considered to void a fast because you take something into your body through your mouth. A principle of Ramadan is purification of the body and tobacco is the greatest contributor to death and disease in the developed world. This makes Ramadan a great time to consider quitting smoking or at least cutting back. Speak to a doctor or pharmacist for more advice or contact Quit on 13 78 48. Nicotine patches will help you cut down or quit and won’t void the fast.

Quick tips

  • Eat normal sized, nutritious meals at Sahoor and Iftar.
  • Avoid foods high in fat, salt and sugar.
  • Choose a diet rich in fruit, vegetable, beans, lentils rice and grains.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, energy drinks or cola.
  • Break the fast with a healthy snack like dates – a nutritious burst of natural sugar.
  • Speak to a health professional before changing medication regimes for Ramadan.
  • Avoid excessive exercise during fasting times – if you want to go to the gym, consider doing so after Iftar.

Courtesy of RMIT University

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How to Stay Healthy in Ramadan – in Urdu & English

How to Stay Healthy in Ramadan – Ramzan Iftar & Sehri Time Health Tips & Healthy Ways to Stay Healthy in Ramadan.

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Stay Healthy During Ramadan

Muslim residents in the Rochdale borough are being advised to stay healthy during fasting, over the period of Ramadan this month.

Fasting began last week for many Muslims in the UK, and will continue for one lunar month. Patients on regular medication or those who suffer from long-term illnesses, such as diabetes, are being urged to take extra care and maintain a healthy lifestyle during this time.

Dr Sonal Sharma, Clinical Lead for Diabetes at NHS, Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group, has provided advice for people who are fasting:

  • Patients who suffer from any chronic illness or health complications should consult their GP before fasting to see if they can do so safely during Ramadan
  • Due to the variable pattern of fasting, it is important to keep a balanced way of eating food. This includes eating from all food groups, and not eating excessively.
  • Before you begin your fast, it is a good idea to include more slowly absorbed foods, such as basmati rice, pitta bread, chapatti and dhal. These types of foods will help keep the blood sugar levels more even during the course of the fast. Fruits, vegetables and salad should also be included.
  • When you break the fast, it is recommended that you have small quantities of sugary and fatty foods, such as cakes and samosas, as too many can make you gain weight. Use less oil in cooking and try grilling, baking or dry frying food using a non-stick pan. Have plenty of sugar free and decaffeinated drinks to avoid dehydration.
  • Check your blood glucose levels more often during fasting
  • Speak to your GP if you are planning to fast

Dr Sharma said: “We want to support people in observing their faith so it is important that we give them advice that has been approved both medically and from a religious point of view.

“Following a well-balanced diet during fasting can also be good for your health as it is a great opportunity to lose weight and become healthier or to quit bad habits such as smoking. You can seek smoking cessation support from your GP practice for help with stopping smoking.”

If you have any concerns about you or your family’s health during fasting, please speak to your GP practice.

5 Ways To Stay Healthy While Fasting For Ramadan

5 Ways To Stay Healthy While Fasting For Ramadan

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During Ramadan, practicing Muslims change their eating habits dramatically. Questioned by Relaxnews, nutritionist Charlotte Debeugny provided her recommendations to religious fasters looking to make the most out of this festive time of year.

Pack in fiber and protein at Suhoor

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Suhoor and Iftar, the two daily meals during Ramadan, are taken before dawn and after dusk, respectively. Suhoor is crucial, as it is the faster’s last meal before facing the day. So it is important to make sure this pre-dawn meal contains protein (found in eggs, cheese, yogurt, nuts, etc.) and fiber (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, etc.), both of which help stave off hunger over a long period.

Avoid overeating after sundown

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After a day of deprivation, there is a strong temptation to overindulge at Iftar. To curb the pangs of hunger before reaching for calorie-rich foods, try having a bowl of cold soup or a healthy salad. The evening meal should also include protein, whole grains and vegetables.

Especially during Ramadan, it is important to avoid empty calories and junk food, to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables per day, and to ensure that each meal includes healthy portions of protein and dairy products.

Eat almonds and dates instead of rich desserts

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While Ramadan is a festive time of year, it has the potential to negatively impact one’s health. Eating at night rather than during the day affects the body’s metabolism, thus increasing the risk of weight gain. Fasting can also lead to cravings for foods that are high in sugar and fat, which can also impact your waistline. Charlotte Debeugny recommends eating a few dates or almonds instead of the extremely calorie-rich pastries served during Ramadan, such as baklava or halva.

Avoid the sun and stay hydrated

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To stay in shape during a fast, it is also advisable to stay out of the sun, spend most of the day in cool places and avoid strenuous exercise. Eating fruit before sunrise is a good idea, as the water it contains helps to hydrate the body during the day. Be careful not to drink too much water at once. Coffee and tea are to be avoided, as they can actually lead to increased thirst and dehydration. For additional energy, try drinking smoothies or fruit juice diluted with water.

Adapt fasting to your physical condition

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Before starting a fast, it is necessary to talk to a doctor, particularly for seniors, diabetics taking medication to control their insulin levels, pregnant women and pre-adolescent children. Those with compromised health who still wish to fast for Ramadan should consult their doctor to develop a fasting plan adapted to their condition. At the first symptom of failing health, it is important to stop fasting.

Ramadan Health Tips – Stay Healthy While Fasting

Ramadan Health Tips – Stay Healthy While Fasting

ramadan-health-tips

The fast of Ramadan is rigorous during the best of times. During long and hot summer days, it may be required observe the fast for as many as sixteen or more hours at a time. To ensure adequate nutrition and continued good health, follow these tips:

  • Prior to Ramadan, a Muslim should always consult with a doctor about the safety of fasting in individual health circumstances.
  • Even if you are generally healthy, recognize that Ramadan will take a toll. Plan your schedule and meals ahead of time in order to make sure you get the nutrients, hydration, and rest that you need.
  • Eat suhoor just prior to dawn. Yes, it’s hard to get up at that hour, which is why it has many benefits and rewards. It will help you to wake up for the Fajr prayer. The suhoor meal is Sunnah. And this morning meal is generally recognized as the single most important meal of the day. Do not overeat, though. Focus on taking in foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates and protein, fruits or vegetables, and plenty of water. For example: an egg on whole-grain toast, a few crackers with peanut butter, some orange slices, and two glasses of water.
  • During the hottest part of the day, stay in cool areas (indoors or in shade) and limit your physical activity. Rest if possible.
  • Avoid gorging yourself when breaking the fast at sunset. Follow the Sunnah: break your fast with dates and either milk, water, or fruit juice. After the maghrib prayer, continue with a light starter such as soup and crackers. After a long period of fasting, you need to bring your fluids and blood sugar level up without overdoing it.
  • During the early evening (after maghrib), have a healthy and balanced dinner. Do not overeat, and be sure to drink a few more glasses of fluids.
  • During the evening hours, resist the temptation to drink tea, coffee, and soda. When visiting friends or family, ask for glasses of water.
  • Serve yourself, your family, and guests a “dessert” of fresh fruit and nuts. There are lovely choices available in this season, and they are much more healthy than chocolates and candy.
  • Sip on water throughout the evening. Aim for 8 glasses by bedtime. To help you keep track, fill and refill a water bottle with a measured amount of water, and be sure to finish it.
  • Light exercise, such as walking for 15-20 minutes, is best done in the evening hours.
  • Avoid fried and spicy foods as they may cause heartburn or indigestion.
  • Speak to your doctor about an appropriate multi-vitamin.
  • Continue to brush and floss your teeth several times a day.
  • Wash your hands regularly, and avoid those who cough or sneeze. This is important to prevent the spread of viruses (such as seasonal flu and H1N1) and bacteria which may cause illness.
  • Quit smoking!
  • Organize your schedule so that you get enough sleep.
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