Avoid bad nutritional habits when fasting this Ramadan

Skipping suhoor and replying on sugar and carbohydrates after breaking the fast are habits that should be avoided.

Rashi Chowdhary offers fasters nutritional advice for Ramadan. Pawan Singh / The National
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ABU DHABI // Poor eating habits must be avoided during Ramadan to ensure proper health and nutrition, an expert cautioned.

“Apart from the usual things to avoid, like fried food, too much sugar, desserts and excessive caffeine, there are some Ramadan habits that will negatively affect your body,” said Rashi Chowdhary, a nutritionist.

Skipping suhoor – the pre-dawn meal – and relying on sugar and carbohydrates after breaking the fast should be avoided.

“Waking up for suhoor and eating enough will give you fuel for the first half of the day,” she said.

“This also keeps dehydration, bad breath and digestive issues to the minimum. Eating the right combination of foods here will help you get nutrients in that will last your body for a couple of hours.

“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.”

Ms Chowdhary said eating enough “good, healthy food will be challenging” because of the length of the fast.

Those fasting should also not to skip their vitamin supplements, which are essential during Ramadan, she said. Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin C and B-complex vitamins are the supplements she suggested fasters continue to take.

Drinking caffeine excessively in the form of coffee, tea and energy drinks will only further dehydrate the body, Ms Chowdhary said.

“You will be better off cutting it out completely and using every opportunity you can to hydrate with plain water,” she said. To avoid sugar cravings, Ms Chowdhary suggested those who fast resort to sugar in the form of dates and fruit when breaking their fast.

“Relying on processed carbs for energy, especially during suhoor, will spike your insulin and can lead to weight gain, especially around the midriff,” Ms Chowdary said.

She also said loading up on proteins such as chicken, fish, prawns, beef and cheese, will ensure a healthier muscle-to-fat ratio by the end of the month.

“Having one to two portions of fats at suhoor will help a long way in attaining stable sugar levels,” she said. Fats include coconut oil, butter, raw nuts and seeds, and coconut and almond milk.

For more information, visit www.rashichowdhary.com.