Fasting is one of the main highlights of Ramadan, where Muslims are only allowed to eat before sunrise (Suhoor) and after sundown (Iftar). This mandatory practice is applicable to Muslims all around the world, and time span of fasting differs from country to country, depending on its location on the globe. There are certainly changes to the usual eating pattern during fasting, and for some people these may trigger digestion problems. Therefore, on this week's journal, we will be providing you with some practical tips on how to avoid these problems and maintain optimal digestion to ensure a healthy fasting month. Read on!
1. Reduce consumption of greasy foods and increase fiber intake
Most of the time during the fasting month, a lot of food preparation are being done for Iftar every day. From preparing ta'jil (snacks to be eaten after breaking fast) to iftar meal, it's very much an unspoken rule for every Muslim household. It is also very common to serve sweet foods as ta'jil and fried foods as main course during Iftar. While it is fine to consume those once in a while as your reward after a whole day of fasting, consuming overly sweet or greasy foods everyday may actually burden your digestion in the long run, cause unhealthy weight gain, and even cause fatigue up until the next day.
It is also important wisely pick the type of food to consume during Suhoor, as it can determine how well you can put up during the day. Consider having a balanced meal, with equal parts of carbohydrate, protein and fat. Consumption of fiber-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables, are equally important to aid digestion as well as helping you feel fuller for longer. It is also recommended to limit salt consumption during Suhoor, so you won't feel as thirsty during the day.
2. Avoid overeating
Depending on what you do during the day, your energy expenditure will solely rely on the things you eat during Suhoor. Iftar may seem like a reward after a hard day of fasting. However, it is important to remember to not overeat during Iftar, since this may make you feel sluggish as your digestive system work extra hard.
While it is tempting to consume whatever you can stuff in your mouth for Iftar, poor food choices may actually lead to digestion problems. Being greedy with food is also not the point of fasting. Therefore, portion control becomes very important, as well as the types of food you choose to consume. Start your iftar by consuming foods like fruits, before delving into a heavier meal.
3. Exercise when you can
Due to the changes of diet and eating habits during Ramadan, some people may experience constipation and other problems related to digestion. Therefore, it's important to aid your digestion by consuming fiber-rich foods, like mentioned on the previous point.
Another thing you can implement in your daily routine is to do light exercises. While fasting may deplete your normal energy levels, it never hurts to pass time by walking or biking around your neighborhood. Chances are you may have some free time while waiting for Iftar anyway. Keeping yourself active and not succumb to sedentary lifestyle during Ramadan may not only be healthy for your overall health and immunity, but also maintains optimal digestion and ease constipation, if you happen to suffer from one.
4. Make sure to hydrate yourself enough
Living in Indonesia means that you have to survive hot and humid weather all-year-round, including when you have to fast all-month-long. Water is essential for the body to work properly, therefore make sure to be well-hydrated even in Ramadan. Drinking enough water, at least 8 glasses a day, during Iftar and Suhoor may prevent you from getting dehydrated and ensure optimal digestion.
Some sneaky but effective way of incorporating more fluid into your system during fasting is by consuming it through other forms. For example, you can consume soups, juices, or eating water-rich fruits like melon and watermelon during Iftar. In order to prevent dehydration during the day, it is also recommended to cut down on caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea during fasting month. These beverages have diuretic effects on the body, promoting frequent fluid loss and may trigger constipation.
5. Consume supplements that aid digestion
Lastly, you may also want to consume supplements that can help maintain your digestive health. Natural supplements are mostly recommended, as they have minimal side effects. Herbana's Relief Sari Turmeric, for example, is made from all-natural plant extract. This is one of our best-sellers to date, since it may help prevent bloating and ensure healthy digestion throughout the holy month of Ramadan.