The guidance for diet in Ramadan is no different from a generally healthy diet any other time of the year but the key is to start planning well before Ramadan commences. You can find some tips on planning here
However,some tips specifically to reduce the risk of complications during fasting can be found below. The most common complications of fasting are
- Hypoglycaemia(low blood sugar)
Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional if you have any chronic conditions 4-8 weeks BEFORE Ramadan begins for more specific advice. The advice below is a general guildline for most healthy adults.
|Avoid diuretics like tea, coffee and fizzy drinks which increase dehydration and mineral loss.Salty foods, pickles, sauces and condiments further dehydrate you making your thirst worse and your fast harder.|
|HYDRATE to ward off headaches, constipation and prevent overeating and weight gain.Drink 8 glasses of water during the eating window, spread out evenly.You can “eat your water” too with hydrating foods: watermelon, cucumber, grapes, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, peppers,celery, melon etc which are high in nutrients and low in calories!|
|Fill your plate with lots of steamed or lightly boiled vegetables to reduce vitamin and mineral deficiencies and prevent constipation and weight gain|
|Ensure you have protein with each meal, to maintain muscle mass and keep you feeling full for longer: Lean meat, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, cheese, green vegetable,kidney beans, lentils, nuts and seeds, milk and yoghurt|
|Have a “healthy-fat diet” Incorporate nuts, avocado, fish, eggs, meat,cheese .Avoid fried foods, processed baked goods, takeaways and hydrogenated fats.Use sensible portions of olive oil, coconut oil or rapeseed oil to cook with. You don’t have to avoid butter,(it is healthier than margarine) but limit quantities to sensible portions. Avoid very rich foods.|
|Swap refined and heavily processed foods with slow releasing complex carbohydrates like brown or basmati rice, wholemeal bread, lentils, semolina, millet,bran,sweet potatoes,porridge oats,chickpeas,beans, vegetables, nuts. etc which keep blood sugar levels stable for longer and reduce the risk of hypoglycaemia. Save cakes, sweet foods, biscuits, white flour products for a special treat only.|
|High fibre foods (oats, fruit,nuts,seeds,beans, lentils and veg, bran,) will help to reduce likelihood of constipation|
|Avoid the Iftaar Binge! Eat light! Dates and water give a hydrating, nutritional burst of energy, then a healthy moderate meal 15/20mins later will reduce likelihood of indigestion, bloating and heartburn and weight gain|
You can make a real difference to your experience of fasting by good portion control and avoiding sugar-laden, high fat, processed foods as much as possible. Try to be the first to leave the table to avoid temptation to overeat.
A very informative resource written by Communities in Action and funded by the DOH, with many tips and lots or information can be found here. Health Professionals can print off or direct patients to it.
A detailed post on physical activity in Ramadan can be found here