By Akasha Ahmed
The holy month of Ramzan brings with it a fresh wave of festive cheer. Ramzan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar during which the ‘Quran’ was first revealed. It is a time of self-reflection to focus on the soul rather than the body and an opportunity to reconnect with your faith. While keeping the roza, you are setting an example for a lifestyle that you should be following throughout the year. For the first few days, you do feel a bit lethargic but later a sense of calmness and ease takes over.
It’s hard to keep away from a table filled with delicacies at Sehri but remember to smartly fill up on foods that your body can run off through the day. Keep your meals simple and more importantly, do not over stuff yourself. Here’s a handy guide on what you should include in your morning meal that’ll keep you fuelled until dusk.
1. High-carb foods: Foods like bread, rice and potatoes are high in complex carbohydrates and take longer to digest. They help in keeping your energy levels up. Avoid too much spice as it may lead to heartburn and indigestion.
- Fiber from fruits and whole grains:These should top your morning menu. Fruits like apples, banana, and apricots are high in fiber and so are grains like barley, chickpeas and oats. Fiber instills a feeling of fullness and helps prevent constipation. In order to maintain a balance, 30 to 40 percent of your meal during Suhoor should be made up of proteins and the rest could be carbohydrates. However, if we eat too much protein or fiber it eventually make us thirsty during the course of the day. This happens because both proteins and fibers thrive on water in order to get digested. About 10% of your meal should comprise of fiber.
- Protein from dairy products and lean meat: Sneak protein in your diet in the form of milk, eggs, chicken, yogurt and lentils. This will help strengthen your immunity. Your diet should have a combination of cereals and proteins. In general, 60-80 grams of proteinshould be included in your meal.”
- Foods with high satiety value and low glycemic index:Such foods keep you full for longer and act as crave busters. They release energy over a period of time and will help prevent fatigue and lethargy. Dote on nuts and seeds, eat foods packed with fiber or have broth-based soups. In most homes, whole wheat chappatis is a great choice along with some salad and fruits. It makes for a complete meal which is digested slowly and keeps you satisfied.
- Hydrating foods & drinks: Avoid having too many cups of tea or coffee as the caffeine leads to loss of water which increases thirst. Green Tea however is preferable and not as dense as coffee/tea. More so, sugary foods or drinks get digested very quickly and could leave you feeling hungry sooner than you would expect. Having said that, drinking too much water is not advisable. It will dilute the stomachacids and lead to bloating and indigestion.
If you feel like a headache is coming on or light-headed, you’re probably dehydrated. Fresh fruits, juices and veggies with high water content will keep you hydrated. “Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes with simple sugars and minerals that replenish water loss. Add cool foods like cucumbers, pineapple, tomatoes, oranges, melons and onions which help in reducing body heat. Keep away from salty foods as they increase fluid loss in your body.
- Do not skip Sehri as it is an important meal that would help you sustain your energy levels throughout the day. Many individuals don’t feel hungry early morning and tend to skip Sehri. Setting the table for Sehri is believed to be effective in improving the appetite.
- Eating a very heavy meal to fight hunger experienced later in the day is an absolute no-no. Heavy meals at Sehri impose a heavy burden on the stomach, leading to indigestion, heartburn and bloating.
- To aid digestion of Sehri, sleep early and wake up at least nine minutes before dawn. Avoid sleeping after Sehri to prevent reflux of stomach content into the oesophagus.
- Individuals generally believe that drinking lot of tea at Sehri quenches thirst. However, this is not true. Tea contains caffeine that increases urination and water loss in the body and thereby increasing thirst. Thus, it is recommended to not drink too many cups of tea at Sehri.