Whether it’s sleepily over the Sehr table or anxiously over the Iftar buffet, the holy month of Ramazan has the strange power of bringing the most distant of families together on one table. But the same bonding over a meal sometimes takes a disastrous direction when we overindulge ourselves with those oily pakoras and glug several glasses of sweetened rooh afza.
For doctors, this overconsumption of food usually means more than a few patients rushing in the emergency ward complaining of heart pain in complete panic. But what they usually don’t know is that it’s simply a case of epigastric pain which arises due to overeating excessively spicy, greasy food.
But why get to a point that a pill has to be popped to stop the excruciating pain? Prevention should be key. With a religion that teaches moderation in every way, shouldn’t eating also be in moderate amounts?
Here are just a few tips to keep you healthy during this holy month:
1- Opt for a glass of milk and complement it with dates instead of filling your stomach with too many pakoras.
2- Drink adequate amounts of water during sehr, iftar and post-iftar times.
3- After 16 hours of fasting, make sure the first meal that enters your body is a balanced one with the right amount of proteins, carbs and fibre.
4- For caffeine junkies, you can have your cup of coffee post-iftar but go easy on your fix as it may cause acidity.
5- Soda drink diehards should try to curb the habit of drinking colas with fried foods.
6- Resist the temptation to eat sugary foods which can make skin oily and acne-prone resulting in an unattractive and blemished complexion.
7- A good multivitamin supplement, containing Vitamin D, along with low-fat yoghurt and milk are also advised.
People usually prefer not to exercise during Ramazan, ‘thinking’ they have no strength and are completely exhausted. Please note that I used ‘thinking’ because fatigue is really a state of mind. Your body is capable of doing a lot if you put your mind to it but if you keep thinking that you are tired and exhausted, you won’t be able to do anything at all.
First off, namaz in itself is such a great exercise. But that doesn’t mean it should be the end all during this month. A brisk walk after dinner is necessary for digestion and keeping your heart healthy. Cardiovascular exercises such as walking, when combined with weight training (which builds bone and muscle), can alleviate and counter osteoporosis. And when it comes to lifting weights, there are no age limits, provided you start off with a trainer or a person who has been weight training for awhile.
For bloating and indigestion, yoga is best. With YouTube, Google and smartphones at your fingertips, it doesn’t take long to learn a new pose and perform it before iftar or a few hours after it.
2. Eggs — can be boiled scrambled or an omelette
3. A glass of lassi
Sehri should consist of complex carbohydrates
1. A bowl of seasonal fresh fruits. With nuts such as almonds and walnuts.
2. A spoon of yoghurt with honey.
This is an ideal iftar as fruits have loads of fibre in them and will keep your metabolism healthy.
1. Combine vegetables and protein, either in the form of chicken, fish or red meat.
However, meat should not be taken more than twice a week.
Published in The Express Tribune, Ms T, August 5th, 2012.