|In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
|This article provides useful advice on how to avoid
some common problems encountered in Ramadhan. If followed, it would enable one to fast comfortably and enjoy fully the spiritual
benefits of Ramadhan.
During the holy month of Ramadhan, our diet should not differ very much from our normal diet
and should be as simple as possible. The diet should be such that we maintain our normal weight, neither losing nor gaining.
However, if one is over-weight, Ramadhan is an ideal time to normalise one's weight.
In view of the long hours of
fasting, we should consume slow digesting foods including fibre containing-foods rather than fast-digesting foods. Slow digesting
foods last up to 8 hours, while fast-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours.
are foods that contain grains and seeds like barley,
wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour, unpolished rice, etc. (called complex carbohydrates).
are foods that contain sugar, white flour, etc.
(called refined carbohydrates).
are bran-containing foods, whole wheat, grains
and seeds, vegetables like green beans, peas, sem (papry), marrow, mealies, spinach, and other herbs like methie, the leaves
of beetroot (iron-rich), fruit with skin, dried fruit especially dried apricots, figs and prunes, almonds, etc.
The foods eaten should be well-balanced, containing
foods from each food group, i.e. fruits, vegetables, meat/chicken/fish, bread/cereals and dairy products. Fried foods are
unhealthy and should be limited. They cause indigestion, heart-burn, and weight problems
Fried and fatty foods.
Foods containing too
Over-eating especially at sehri.
Too much tea at sehri. Tea makes you pass more urine taking with it valuable
mineral salts that your body would need during the day.
Smoking cigarettes. If you cannot give up smoking, cut down gradually
starting a few weeks before Ramadhan. Smoking is unhealthy and one should stop completely.
Complex carbohydrates at sehri so that the food
lasts longer making you less hungry.
Haleem is an excellent source of protein and is a slow-burning food.
excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium.
Almonds are rich in protein and fibre with less
Bananas are a good source of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates.
As much water or fruit juices as possible between
iftar and bedtime so that your body may adjust fluid levels in time.
Constipation can cause piles (haemorroids), fissures
(painful cracks in anal canal) and indigestion with a bloated feeling.
Causes: Too much refined foods, too little
water and not enough fibre in the diet.
Remedy: Avoid excessive refined foods, increase water intake, use bran in
baking, brown flour when making roti.
Causes: Over-eating. Too much fried and fatty foods,
spicy foods, and foods that produce wind e.g. eggs, cabbage, lentils, carbonated drinks like Cola also produce gas.
Do not over-eat, drink fruit juices or better still drink water. Avoid fried foods, add ajmor to wind-producing foods.
LETHARGY ('low blood pressure')
Excessive sweating, weakness, tiredness, lack of
energy, dizziness, especially on getting up from sitting position, pale appearance and feeling faint are symptoms associated
with "low blood pressure". This tends to occur towards the afternoon.
Causes: Too little fluid intake, decreased salt
Remedy: Keep cool, increase fluid and salt intake.
Caution: Low blood pressure should be confirmed
by taking a blood pressure reading when symptoms are present. Persons with high blood pressure may need their medication adjusted
during Ramadhan. They should consult their doctor.
Causes: Caffeine and tobacco-withdrawal, doing
too much in one day, lack of sleep, hunger usually occur as the day goes by and worsens at the end of the day. When associated
with "low blood pressure", the headache can be quite severe and can also cause nausea before Iftar.
Remedy: Cut down
caffeine and tobacco slowly starting a week or two before Ramadhan. Herbal and caffeine-free teas may be substituted. Reorganise
your schedule during the Ramadan so as to have adequate sleep.
Weakness, dizziness, tiredness, poor concentration,
perspiring easily, feeling shaky (tremor), unable to perform physical activities, headache, palpitations are symptoms of low
Causes in non-diabetics: Having too much sugar i.e. refined carbohydrates especially at suhur (sehri).
The body produces too much insulin causing the blood glucose to drop.
Remedy: Eat something at sehri and limit sugar-containing
foods and drinks.
Caution: Diabetics may need to adjust their medication in Ramadan, consult your doctor.
Causes: Inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium
and potassium foods.
Remedy: Eat foods rich in the above minerals e.g. vegetables, fruit, dairy products, meat and
Caution: Those on high blood pressure medication and with kidney stone problems should consult their doctor.
PEPTIC ULCERS, HEART BURN, GASTRITIS AND HIATUS
Kidney stones may occur in people who have less
liquids to drink. Therefore, it is essential to drink extra liquids so as to prevent stone formation.
Causes: During Ramadhan, when extra salah are performed
the pressure on the knee joints increases. In the elderly and those with arthritis this may result in pain, stiffness, swelling
Remedy: Lose weight so that the knees do not have to carry any extra load. Exercise the lower limbs
before Ramadhan so that they can be prepared for the additional strain. Being physically fit allows greater fulfilment, thus
enabling one to be able to perform salah with ease.