Make healthy choices in Ramazan

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The holy month of Ramazan has arrived and people are fasting with great enthusiasm. Physically, fasting gives the digestive system a well-deserved rest. Energy normally used for digestion is now directed towards detoxifying the body, repairing tissues and healing the system.

However, it has been observed that during Ramazan when the sun goes down, families and friends usually gather around a table laden with delicious food items. Although iftars are a pleasant experience, overindulgence can lead to weight gain and bloated bellies. It is therefore advisable to avoid unhealthy foods during Ramazan and replenish your energy levels by eating healthy and balanced sehri and iftar. We have compiled some healthy tips to follow during Ramazan…

Avoid foods high in fat, salt, and sugar: Whenever possible, avoid heavy iftar meals that contain too much unhealthy fat, salt, and added sugar. When cooking, make your favorite Ramazan recipes healthier by stewing, baking, roasting, steaming or grilling them and avoiding frying them. Add herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor your meals. And replace sweets and sugary drinks with sugar naturally present in fruits, dried fruits and fruit salads.

Say no to fried dishes: our splendid iftar menus are incomplete without fried dishes like pakoras and samosas. As tasty as they are, you should resist the temptation and try to opt for healthy options. You can make chicken sandwiches at home instead of eating unhealthy pakoras. (You have to convince yourself that pakoras are bad for you).

Break Your Fast with Dates: Dates are a nutritious blast of natural sugar and fuel your body with much-needed energy. It is therefore good to break the fast with dates. Dates are rich in antioxidants and will help keep you energized. They are also a low glycemic index food, so they will not negatively affect your blood sugar. Dates are famous for their high concentration of antioxidants that can benefit your heart and lung health, making them one of the healthiest foods for your heart. Whenever you crave something sweet, instead of opting for candy or sugar, opt for dates instead. They are just as sweet and much better for you.

Make healthy choices in Ramazan

Avoid cold drinks, switch to lemon water: Well, soft drinks can instantly quench your thirst, but with added sugar and calories, those colas are the main cause of your increased waistline. A tasty alternative is lemon water, which is calorie-free and offers several key health benefits. Lemon water is a simple and surprisingly healthy internal cleanser. Packed with antioxidants and other health benefits, a glass of water with the juice of half a lemon revitalizes body and mind, especially at iftar time.

Opt for watermelon: It is summer time as well as Ramazan. The refreshing and sweet taste of watermelon is something everyone can enjoy in the summer. A low-calorie summer snack, it provides hydration as well as essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. During Ramazan, it becomes difficult to drink plenty of water for short periods. Not consuming enough fluids can dehydrate you. So, the best way to fill your lack of water during the holy month is to incorporate watermelons into your diet during sehri and iftar. This healthy fruit is 92% water and has the ability to keep you from becoming dehydrated.

Banana – a nutrient powerhouse: The banana is a heavyweight when it comes to nutrition. It is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin and vitamin B6. All this contributes to the proper functioning of the body and to your maintenance of good health. If you don’t like eating bananas alone at iftar time, add apples and guavas (which are readily available these days) and make some fruit chaat that you can enjoy after a day of fasting.

Give me strawberries: The best part about summer is that you get a variety of fruits. There’s no denying that strawberries pack a healthy punch. Strawberry’s heart-shaped silhouette is the first clue that this fruit is good for you. These powerful little packets protect your heart, raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower your blood pressure. Strawberries are a low-calorie, fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free food. Strawberries are also high in fiber, vitamin C, and manganese, making them an ideal choice to eat at iftar time.

Energy in a cup of yogurt: Yogurt is a source of calcium and an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Yogurt makes a hearty, portable meal with enough protein to get you through the day. So you can’t imagine your sehri without yogurt. A bowl of yogurt is said to contain 300 grams of calcium. So if you’re worried about your bone health, it’s always a good idea to add yogurt to your diet.

Keep moving: Although fasting can be physically exhausting, try not to be completely sedentary. If you usually train in the morning, see how your body feels if you switch exercises for the evening after breaking your fast. Strenuous exercise is not a good idea during the day because you can quickly become dehydrated. Think small – short easy walks (to class or errands) or some stretching can help keep your energy up during the day.

Take it easy: Don’t be in a rush to finish your meal. After being deprived of food for an entire day, overeating can lead to indigestion and other stomach problems. Have a light iftar that includes reasonable food portions. Controlling your portion size is key to staying healthy and preventing weight gain. As a general rule, don’t exceed the amounts you would have for a typical lunch or dinner.

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