Health matters

Jul 05, 2014, 10:05 IST | Ruchika Kher

The holy month brings with it the demand for calorie-rich delicacies. Yet how healthy is it to indulge in fried or sweet dishes after an entire day of fasting? Nutritionist Rashi Chowdhary offers healthy options for both the meals — Sehri and Iftar

Pack in the energy:
Carbohydrates: Focus on whole, unprocessed, and complex carbohydrate sources like sweet potatoes, quinoa and carrots. White or brown rice is better than whole wheat processed bread/khaboos. Relying on processed carbohydrates for energy especially during Sehri (morning) and Iftar (evening) will spike your insulin and can lead to weight gain.

Proteins: Whole eggs, chicken, fish, prawns, beef, lentils and cheese. Going low on protein is one of the major reasons people gain fat during Ramazan. Making sure you get 35-40% of your calories from proteins will ensure a
healthier muscle-to-fat ratio at the end of the holy month.

Fats: Coconut oil, butter, raw nuts and seeds, avocados, flaxseed powder, coconut milk and almond milk. Having one to two portions of any of these at Sehri will help a long way in stabilising sugar levels.

Stay hydrated:
>> Waking up for Sehri and giving your body a good supply of food fuel and water at 3.30 am will be beneficial.
>> Refrain from liquid calories like fresh juices and fizzy colas. Sugar in this form will dehydrate you further.
>> Excessive tea/coffee/energy drinks dehydrates the body.

Dos and Don’ts
>> Skipping Sehri: Waking up for Sehri and eating enough will give you fuel for the first half of the day. This meal also keeps dehydration, bad breath and digestive issues to the minimum.

>> Consuming fast carbohydrates for Sehri: Relying on too many fruits, fruit juices, bread and processed breakfast cereals will lead to a dip in sugar levels really quickly, leading to massive sugar cravings and hunger pangs around mid-afternoon.

>> Undereating: Not getting enough calories will only plummet your metabolism and cause weight gain and extreme lethargy.

>> Skipping supplements: Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin C and B complex — are amongst the essential nutrients you need especially during Ramazan. The requirement for these drastically go up in this one month due to the stress
your body goes through because of fasting conditions.

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