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Nutrition tips for fasting during Ramadan
Fruits and vegetables a must, says nutritionist at NMC Healthcare
July 14, 2014 3:47 by kippreport
With the Holy Month of Ramadan coinciding with summer months, it’s vital to stay healthy and fit.
Kippreport speaks to Shruti Medappa nutritionist at NMC Healthcare Abu Dhabi, about how and what we should be eating during this period.
Overeating is a big issue that many people face in the GCC. While it’s a natural bodily response to want to consume as much as you can after fasting, it’s not a healthy choice. Medappa says: “It’s easy to assume that you need a larger intake of food to make up for the fasting you did, but this is not the case.”
She recommends choosing meals wisely to prevent overeating: “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 proteins, whole grains and vegetables. Especially during Ramadan, it’s important to avoid empty calories and junk food, to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day and to ensure each meal includes healthy portions of dairy products.”
Fruits and vegetables
While Arab homes serve an abundance of delicious food for iftars, meals often lack necessary fibre.
“Don’t forget to eat five portions of fruits, particularly watery citrus fruits and strawberries. Fruits should be consumed at least half an hour after each meal,” she adds.
Suhoor is the perfect time to eat a good portion of fruits and vegetables. “Suhoor is crucial, as it’s the last meal before fasting. So it’s important to make sure this pre-dawn meal contains proteins (found in eggs, cheese, yogurt, nuts, etc.) and fibre (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, etc.), both of which help stave off hunger over a long period of time.”
The heat is another big concern during Ramadan. Being outdoors for even a short period of time can cause you to sweat excessively, which puts you at a risk for dehydration.
Medappa concludes: “To stay in shape while fasting, it’s also advisable to stay out of the sun, and spend most of the day in cool places and avoid strenuous exercises. Eating a 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 juices diluted with water.”