Food for thought over Ramadan

Just a few days into the Holy Month, it is concerning that hospitals have already reported an increase in the number of people being treated in emergency rooms for complaints related to overeating.

Fasting is not an easy thing, nor is it meant to be. It is first and foremost a spiritual exercise that involves control of the mind and the body. Tradition dictates that the fast is broken with a light meal – often dates, following the habit of the Prophet Mohammed – preceding Maghrib prayers. After prayers, it is customary to gather with family and friends for the main iftar. These days, this often involves a large buffet at home or a hotel banquet. When there is enough food to feed dozens, or hundreds, and a huge variety of dishes, the temptation to overindulge is great.

With so much food on offer, people can find themselves eating well beyond their needs. Doctors say the brain can take up to 30 minutes to acknowledge that the stomach is full, and eating large amounts of food quickly is the reason why many people put on weight over Ramadan.

Moderation in food consumption is a virtue at all times. During Ramadan, healthy eating is a particular challenge that should be dealt with ­responsibly.

Published: July 1, 2014 04:00 AM