Islam always encourages mindful health because “health is wealth” and it is the key to our happiness. Food intake has a direct impact on our health. Our Prophet PBUH said: “Take advantage of the good health before illnesses afflict you.”
Muslims keep fast a whole month and manage their eating habits and improve their discipline and self-control. It provides them an opportunity to bring back a healthy and balanced lifestyle. In Ramadan, accumulated toxins from the body are expelled as Muslims give their stomach a break.
Fasting can improve your health only if the correct diet is consumed, otherwise it can affect your health in many ways. It is not about when you don’t eat during fasting, but more about what you should be eating during the non-fasting hours. The best way to fully benefit yourself from fasting is to consume the best diet and quality food in this month of blessing.
The basic foods that we should be avoiding in Ramadan are heavily-processed foods and foods containing carbohydrates especially in the form of sugar or white flour. Obviously, fatty food like chocolates, sweets and cakes should be avoided too, avoid the intake of coffee or tea in Ramadan as well, as we fast for a long time and these drinks stimulates water loss through urination and makes us dehydrated.
Complications caused in Ramadan are tougher as we cannot take any kind of medicine during the period of fasting hence we should always look out for precautions and take care of our health.
The major complications and Ramadan health precautions can be:
Heartburn or Indigestion
The stomach is designed for food digestion and to kill bacteria. Heartburn is caused when our stomach produces the acid by our own body’s special juices.Although fasting decreases the amount of acid in our stomach, but thought and smell of food can send signals to our brain to make more that causes indigestion. Indigestion or heartburn can be a problem during fasting hour.
The heartburn can be aided by avoiding deep friend, oily or spicy food. In fact, if you decrease the intake of caffeine and tobacco, it can be beneficial.
Headaches are the one of the common problems during fasting. The reason for a headache can be hunger, dehydration, not enough rest or the lack of addictive substances that you normally take on daily routine basis such as nicotine.
The easiest remedy to avoid a headache is to not miss the suhoor meal (sehri) and to consume ample amount of water. For more safety measures, avoid direct sunlight during this hot weather and always wear a hat or sunglasses when heading out.
As we fast for hours, our body constantly loses water and salt as we breathe, sweat or pass out urine. In this hot humid weather, the water loss is more rapid as our body is soaking in water we had consumed before fasting. The symptoms of dehydration is the feeling of dizziness, muscle cramps and even fainting at times.
However, to reduce the risk of dehydration, hydrate yourself with fluids and increase the intake of fruits.
For someone undertaking a fast, constipation can be somewhat irritating as you do not feel comfortable with the bloated and gassy feeling. Constipation is caused when your bowels are not fully eliminated.
There is no cure for constipation other than maintaining a balanced diet and good hydration. Increase the fiber intake, include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
When you fast all day, you feel hungry and thirsty. There is a change in your sleeping routine, and this change increases your levels of stress.
It is important to minimize the harmful effects of stress by controlling your anger, not playing any sports or doing strenuous exercises in the sun and heat. One of the biggest aspects is to refrain from smoking after you break fast, as this can change the level of certain chemicals in the stomach.