Healthy Fasting


Egyptians tend to celebrate any occasion with food; whether they are happy or sad, food is always an essential part of any gathering. One of the occasions very much related to food is the Holy month of Ramadan, which is quite ironic since Ramadan is a month of fasting; yet, people start to think about the food that will be served during Ramadan well in advance. What might be even more attractive during Ramadan than food are oriental desserts that most shops do their best to make as different as possible to increase their profits during the Holy month. Between eating what we crave and not gaining weight lies our biggest dilemma.

Although Ramadan should be a great opportunity to lose the excessive weight we gained throughout the year because of the long fasting hours, which sometimes exceed 15 hours a day, most of us, on the contrary, gain weight at the end. Gaining weight occurs due to the deceleration of the body’s metabolism related to the prolonged periods of not eating, inactivity and laziness after iftar, eating huge amounts of sweets at iftar gatherings, and above all, overeating when we break our fast.

Staying fit in Ramadan is not an impossible mission; if you decide to do it you can achieve it. Here are some tips that will help you eat all you desire and stay fit at the same time. First of all, break your fast with dates; they are a great source of energy for the body after fasting. They also help your body secrete digestive enzymes to be prepared for the upcoming meal.

After dates, drink soup and eat salads; they are low in calories and will make you feel full before you dive into the main course. Postpone the carbohydrates, because eating them at the beginning of the meal increases the feeling of hunger; instead, eat proteins and remember to chew your food slowly to avoid indigestion. To make your favorite Ramadan recipes healthier, avoid deep frying whenever possible; reduce the amount of fat in your meals through baking, roasting, steaming, or grilling. If you have to fry, use a small amount of vegetable oil.

Desserts are one of Ramadan’s favorites; no one can resist them when served. If you crave a dessert, take a portion of it at least two hours after iftar, but not daily and not directly after it, because they are made of sugar and white flour so they are high in fats and low in nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are a great alternative for desserts; they are healthier and can be eaten as snacks between meals.

Water is a very important ingredient in the recipe of staying fit and not gaining weight all year long; however, its importance increases during Ramadan. You have to drink at least eight glasses of water during the non-fasting hours to keep you away from dehydration while fasting; it also controls your sugar cravings after you break your fast.

Suhoor is the second important meal during fasting; it could lead to weight gain or weight loss. As it is eaten directly before sleeping, you have to be careful about what you eat. Eat food that is rich in proteins—such as yogurt, beans, and eggs—and reduce sugar and carbohydrates. If you do not crave proteins, replace it with fiber-rich food—such as cereal, bran, and whole-wheat toast—they make you feel full, digest slowly, and provide energy for several hours.

During Suhoor, limit your consumption of coffee and tea as they are very dehydrating; instead, drink plenty of water. You can also drink something that increases metabolism and reduces weight before sleeping; such as a mixture of ginger with peppermint and lemon, or cinnamon with honey and lemon.

Above and beyond, always make sure you eat moderately, slowly, and sensibly to avoid gaining weight and also to stay active during the days of Ramadan. Whether you are at home, at a family or a friends gathering, or simply watching the TV, a healthy meal will make sure that your Ramadan is filled with loving memories and a better body.


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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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