Many Muslim families will break their fast together, eating traditional Asian and middle-eastern foods which can often be fried and high in fat.
Dr Ranj advises that you avoid the temptation of too many sugary, oily or fried foods.
“Firstly, make sure your diet is varied and has a good balance of all the major food groups – for example carbohydrate, protein and fat – including lots of fruit and vegetables,” he says.
“Secondly, try to eat things that release energy slowly so you will feel less hungry between meals and it will keep you going, such as oats, wholegrains and high-fibre foods.
“Thirdly, pay attention to hydration and make sure you drink plenty. Drinking water is extremely important and you need to make sure you hydrate enough during non-fasting hours to keep yourself well. Levels of hydration will affect how much energy you have and your alertness during the day, which is why it is so important.”
With the rise in popularity of intermittent fasting diets, where individuals aim to lose weight by not eating for a number of hours each day, Dr Ranj says there is growing evidence that fasting can be good for your health and can help you to lose weight.
“However, we’re not sure whether there is any particular way of fasting that is best,” he adds.
‘Everything in moderation’
The month of Ramadan throws up many challenges, but ‘everything in moderation’ is the key concept when looking at what to eat and drink and how much to exercise, advises Dr Ranj.
He also sees the month as a chance for Muslims to make positive changes to their lifestyle.
“If you are going to fast, then use it as an opportunity to think about what you are eating and to make positive changes to your diet, and lifestyle, for example giving up smoking,” he adds.
Here are few important tips to remember
– 60 -70% of our body is made of water and any reduction in our water intake can affect our body’s cells and nerves from functioning properly
– Water is absolutely essential to compensate its loss in our body
– Dehydration can lead to constipation, headache, dizziness, tiredness and dryness
– Water plays a significant role in weight loss and maintenance
– Fluids, unlike water, contain sugar and can result in gaining extra calories
– Drinking too much of the flavoured sweetened juicy drinks and other soft drinks will fill up the stomach and delay digestion process
– Water helps to get rid of toxins and reduce the feeling of hunger
– Prevent getting thirsty during Ramadan by avoiding hot and spicy food
– Keep a low salt intake as salty foods increase body’s need for water
– Eat fresh fruits and vegetables which are rich in fibre and water
– Prefer fresh fruit juices to sweetened juices
– Advisable to drink water at room temperature or slightly cold in moderate quantity between meals and not at once
– Drink at least eight to ten glasses of water a day during non-fasting period