Health Complications Associated with Wrong Practices during Fasting

Fasting and Gaining Weight

  • As a result of cultural influences, the Holy Month of Ramadan can significantly contribute to weight gain because fasting Muslims tend to prepare too much oily food and break their fast with a feast. Iftar is not Iftar without LoQaimat and deepfried Samboosas.
  • In addition, the Vimto drink has practically become a standard during Ramadan. Unfortunately, all of these give you too many calories.
  • The solution is to eat moderately, grill rather than fry, avoid artificially sweetened drinks, and ensure that you do not miss the Sahoor meal.

Fasting and Constipation

Many people may experience constipation, which is the most common gastrointestinal problem during Ramadan. The movement of food through the digestive system takes longer than normal. This can result in the wastes becoming hard and defecation being irregular and painful.

To prevent constipation during Ramadan, here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. These will provide your body with substantial amounts of fiber.
  • Choose whole-wheat bread (rather than white) and fiber containing cereals (rather than refined). • Add vegetables, legumes, or corn to rice and pasta dishes and soups, such as Mojadarah (lentil rice).
  • Include salads such as Tabbouli, Fatoush, Hummus, Moutable, Baba Ganouch, beans, etc., at your Iftar and Sahoor meals and for snacks as well.
  • Include fiber rich soups, such as grains, vegetables or lentils at your Iftar and Sahoor meals and snacks to provide your body with both fluids and fiber.
  • Consume sufficient fluids, such as water, vegetable juice, unsweetened fruit juice, low fat or nonfat milk and fat free soups with your meals and snacks.

Fasting and Heartburn

Stomach acid, which digests food, is usually reduced during fasting. However, the smell of food can incite the brain to signal the stomach to produce more acid which in turn can lead to heartburn. How should you deal with heartburn during Ramadan?

  •  If you are on antacids, continue taking them, preferably with the Sahoor meal.
  • After fasting, eat in moderation.
  • Avoid oily, deep-fried and very spicy foods.
  • Reduce your caffeine intake.

Fasting and Headaches

  • Headaches while fasting can be triggered by hunger, dehydration, poor sleep, or withdrawal symptoms caused by not smoking or an absence of caffeine in your system. Do not miss the Sahoor meal, make sure that you drink enough water, gradually and consistently. Ensure that you get enough rest and finally, take the opportunity given to you during the Holy Month of Ramadan to quit smoking.

Additional Tip:

  • Do not extend your fast longer than necessary in the hopes of burning more fat, because if you fast for too long, your body will actually  start to breakdown muscle protein for energy. The more times that you unnecessarily extend your fast, the more protein that will be burned in order to fuel your body. Essentially, you will be starving yourself. No one typically reaches the starvation stage during the Holy Month of Ramadan since the fast is broken at sunset every day, but you can do more harm than good by fasting for longer periods or by not eating enough after the fasting time (daylight hours) is complete.