Medical experts have warned that poor Ramadan diet and lifestyle can pose grave health risks to fasting Muslims.
Clinical dietician Dr Zubair Noman said Ramadan diet is divided into four parts Iftar, after Taraweeh prayers, midnight and Sehri.
It is common to have Iftar full of flavoured dishes as it can include food choices from both lunch and dinner, but it should still be a healthy meal and overeating should be avoided, he added.
The Sehri meal is considered the ‘must-have’ main meal in order to avoid hunger during fasting hours.
Proteins, oils and complex carbohydrates are the best choices for Seher.
Skipping Sehri or eating fast foods high in fat and salt can also trigger thirst during fasting hours.
Traditional foods such as fried samosa, pakora, oily food and sugary drinks are calorie packed and should be prepared in a more healthy way.
Experts also advised against drinking too much tea and coffee in Ramzan as they tend to block iron absorption and increase urine flow that can lead to dehydration.
It is advisable to replace tea and coffee with mint and ginger drinks to avoid bloating.
Ideally, a fasting person should drink up to eight glasses of water between Iftar and Sehri, he added.
Nutrition in Iftaar:
Expert suggests a brisk walk, slow jogging, cycling, cross-training and light machine exercises at the gym during Ramzan.
“Enjoy your meals during Iftar and Sehri, but avoid overeating by eating slowly and making healthy choices. If you are not careful about how much and what types of food you are consuming, you may also gain weight”, Dr Noman said.
For Iftar, he advised eating plenty of vegetables to get the required vitamins and nutrients.
Choose whole grains, which also provide energy with fibres, grilled or baked lean meat such as skinless chicken or fish which are good sources of protein.
“Eating dates is a traditional and healthy way to break your fast,” said Dr Norman, adding, dates are an excellent source of fibre and natural sugars, which help boost energy levels.