Ramadan Health Tips 2017

Boost your health this Ramadan

It is unfortunate that some people during Ramadan complain of abdominal pain after Suhoor or Iftar while others tend to suffer from a lack of adequate sleep and hence feel miserable. Surprisingly, that is the exact opposite of what we should be experiencing in this blessed month. In this article, I will show you a simple daily routine which will help you to boost your health, get enough sleep, and avoid abdominal pain and heartburn after Suhoor and Iftar. The whole purpose of fasting during Ramadan is eating less food to empathize with the needy and boost your overall health. However, it seems like people are trying to compensate and make up for all the meals they were supposed to have for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner during the time between Iftar and Suhoor. I used to work in the emergency department during the month of Ramadan and we always had the cases of abdominal pain after Iftar up until the Suhoor time. The main cause was overeating or starting Iftar with the wrong food. To avoid that, follow these simple steps:

  1. Break your fast with 7 Dates and water or milk(organic milk would be ideal) then pray Maghreb.Dates provide a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits. Some of the benefits of starting Iftar with dates are:
  • Dates are a rich source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, lipids, minerals and trace minerals such as (potassium, boron, calcium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, sodium and zinc, fluorine, Selenium), 23 types of amino acids, and vitamins such as (vitamin C, vitamin B(1) thiamine, B(2) riboflavin, nicotinic acid (niacin) and vitamin A). Your body will literally get all the essential nutrients it needs after the long day fast from just one fruit.
  • The carbohydrates found in dates are monosaccharides (simple sugar) which are digested and absorbed quickly to boost your energy immediately.
  • Dates are light on the stomach. Starting Iftar with the wrong food such as fried food, fast food, heavy dessert, meat, chicken, commercial juice, or soft drink will cause abdominal pain.
  1. After praying Maghreb, choose only one of the following dishes or any other dish you like (as long as it is made from vegetables or whole grains)such as vegetable soup, salad (choose different types of vegetables every other day for the soups and salads), brown rice with vegetable sauce, fish, vegetable sauce or lentil with whole wheat bread. Don’t eat more than one small dish and follow what our Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said “No human ever filled a vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for any son of Adam to take a few bites to straighten his back. But if it must be, then one-third for his food, one-third for his drink and one-third for his breath.”  Sunan al-Tirmidhi 2380
  1. Add raw (uncooked) olive oil, vinegar, fermented vegetable and organic sea salt or Himalayan salt to your dishes. Each one of these foods has huge benefits on your overall health and they contain various probiotics, minerals, and trace minerals which are crucial for your body system.
  1. Avoid eating meats, chickens, desserts, fried foods, Saturated fats, fast food, soft drinks, commercial juices, or any other type of junk food in the Iftar or Suhoor.Usually, before Ramadan, we eat heavy meals which contain meats, and chickens during the day because they need at least 3-4 hours to be digested, and we eat desserts during tea time after Asar prayer because eating desserts at night will increase your weight.

Since you normally don’t eat these foods at night why would you do that in Ramadan? Think about Iftar as dinner; we know that dinner is supposed to be light, so make your Iftar as light as possible and only then can you enjoy the amazing health benefits of Ramadan. 

  1. Drink enough water (plain water), not juices or any other fluids. The biggest mistake most people make in Ramadan is, they almost forget to drink water and they drink plenty of juices assuming that water and juices are the same. I explained in the first book of Quran and Health E-book Series Living Water for Better Health everything you need to know about water to improve your health and relieve pain within 10mins Insha’Allah.
  1. Don’t eat another meal after Ishaa prayer. In Ramadan, we have only 2 meals (Iftar and Suhoor) there is no time for a third meal except if you decided to sleep late at night or sleep on a full stomach. Both decisions are obviously unwise because you will pay the price the next day either by feeling tired and sleepy or complaining of abdominal pain and heartburn.
  1. Sleep early directly after Ishaa prayer.Almighty Allah said in the Qur’an “And it is He who made the night a covering for you and sleep for rest; and He made the day a revival” (25:47). Whenever I sleep after Ishaa prayer, which is around (8-9pm) in my area; I wake up at 2 am without alarm feeling fresh as if I slept for 8 hours or more; try it and you will see the difference for yourself. At the end, we all agree that sleeping early is better for your health so make it a daily habit even after Ramadan.Wake up 2 hours before Fajr and pray Tahajud or Taraawih (which are basically the same) keep a bottle of water near and drink whenever you finish 2 Rakats.
  1. Eat Suhoor at least 30 minutes before Fajr prayer and choose hydrating foods such as (watermelon, cucumber, lettuce, smoothies, and coconut water) and foods that will keep you full longer such as (eggs, legumes, oats, whole wheat, and barley) 
  1. Avoid coffee, tea, sugary drinks, popcorn, asparagus, soy sauce at suhoor these foods will dehydrate your body.
  1. Read the Qur’an after Fajr prayer as Almighty Allah said “Perform the prayer at the decline of the sun, until the darkness of the night; and the Quran at dawn. The Quran at dawn is witnessed” (17:78).
The Impact Of Prostration On Your Health After Overeating

Gastric acid is formed in the stomach and it has a pH of (1.5-3.5). The inner lining of the stomach is designed to handle the low pH of the gastric acid without causing any damage. However, the normal pH of the esophagus is (5-7) and it cannot tolerate the low pH of the gastric acid. Prostration with a full stomach will push the gastric acid and stomach contents up against the lower esophageal sphincter (a muscle between the esophageal and the stomach). Over time, this leads to lower esophageal sphincter relaxation and as a result, the gastric acid will flow back into the esophagus causing gastroesophageal reflux diseases (GERD). The symptoms of GERD are:

  • Unpleasant taste
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Chronic cough
  • Laryngitis (Inflammation of the larynx)

Serious complications of GERD:

  • Esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus)
  • Esophageal stricture (Narrowing of the esophagus)
  • Barrett’s esophagus (The tissue lining of the esophagus resembles the lining of the intestine)
  • Esophageal cancer

Finally, if you want to get the maximum health benefits during Ramadan, eat 90% fresh uncooked food such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and fermented food. Our foods already contain fewer minerals and vitamins because of the chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and by cooking it you further destroy the remaining nutrients that are essential for your body. If you got some value from my post I would appreciate your share.

Sources:

Al-Shahib W, Marshall RJ. The fruit of the date palm: its possible use as the best food for the future? Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2003 Jul;54(4):247-59. Gluck, Marci E., et al. “Nighttime eating: commonly observed and related to weight gain in an inpatient food intake study.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 88.4 (2008): 900-905. Gallant, Annette, Jennifer Lundgren, and Vicky Drapeau. “Nutritional aspects of late eating and night eating.” Current obesity reports 3.1 (2014): 101-107. Michael Piesman, Inku Hwang, Corinne Maydonovitch, Roy K. H. Wong. Nocturnal reflux episodes following the administration of a standardized meal. Does timing matter? Am J Gastroenterol. 2007 Oct; 102(10): 2128–2134. Published online 2007 Jun 15. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2007.01348.x Xu, Le et al. “The Effects of Dinner-to-Bed Time and Post-Dinner Walk on Gastric Cancer Across Different Age Groups: A Multicenter Case–Control Study in Southeast China.” Ed. Raffaele Pezzilli. Medicine 95.16 (2016): e3397. PMC. Web. 13 May 2017.

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