Choose wisely, eat slowly and chew well to savour the benefits of fasting, body and soul, says Gayathri Das
Fasting during Ramadan has multiple blessings: spiritual as well as physical; psychological as well as social. But the benefits one is rightly entitled to in the month of abstinence, self-discipline and restraint are wasted by people who indulge in overeating after breaking fast, inviting a host of health issues especially related to indigestion such as stomach cramps, bloating, acidity and diarrhoea.
Families and friends bond over food during Ramadan as they get together to break fast. Often the tastiest of recipes are laid out for suhoor and iftar leading to binging on unhealthy foods.
Despite all the resolutions it may prove to be a bit difficult to make wholesome choices when you have several tasty options in front of you. But truth remains forever unchanged: if you want to reap the benefits of fasting you need to mind what you eat.
Here are a few tips that could help you fast and reap the benefits:
- Overeating and binging on unhealthy foods during Ramadan can lead to abdominal pain, sleepiness, heartburn, stomach cramps and gastritis, among other negative side effects.
- Overeating can also cause nausea, feelings of heaviness and fatigue, headaches, insomnia, moodiness and shortness of breath.
- Eating the right and healthy foods during suhoor will fill you with energy throughout the day and help keep in check the urge to overeat at iftar.
- Packing your plate with small helpings of nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, is the best way to avoid overeating without feeling hungry.
- Try to keep dinner to a balanced plate containing lentils, vegetables, fibre and protein.
- Avoid fried and salty food as this can increase feelings of thirst the next day while you are fasting.
- Unnatural weight gain is one of the main perils associated with eating too much. Surely, you don’t want to end the Ramadan month on an obese note. So, whatever the temptations, resist it.
- Drink sufficient water at regular intervals because keeping yourself hydrated will make you feel fresh and keep you off unhealthy snacks. Many people tend to overeat when they mistake hunger for thirst, which is a common mistake.
- Avoid sugar as it messes up your metabolism and gives you useless calories without nutritional benefits and is one of the reasons that makes you overeat during Ramadan.
- Eating slowly is a good way to regulate the urge to overeat. By eating fast, you can eat double the amount than you would if you eat slowly. So, chew slowly and savour all the healthy food you eat.
- Focus on providing your body with healthy, nutritious food, while also giving yourself the freedom to truly enjoy a treat here and there. If you really have an urge to eat oily snacks, treat yourself with some once a week rather than eating them daily.