Faith and health must go hand in hand
DECCAN CHRONICLE | M. Khalid Ahmed
HYDERABAD: The sighting of the crescent moon on Thursday evening in India brought with it the start of the Ramzan month, with Friday set to mark the first day of fasting.
Ramzan is one of the most anticipated months for Muslims across the world, with fasting mandated by the faithful as per Islamic scriptures. However, faithful who are sick or travelling and menstruating women are excluded from fasting, by compensating for it later by fasting or donating money or ‘fidya’ to those in need.
The month is one of worship, with fasting during the day and praying during the night. As it coincides with summer, the month can be challenging for many faithful.
Experts suggest a few extra precautions to ensure that the faithful are fasting safely. They called for people who are fasting to have a balanced diet, drink plenty of water during ‘seher (pre-dawn meal)’ and ‘iftar (breaking fast)’, and get sufficient rest.
While they admitted that fasting is a historical treatment for cancer, metabolic syndromes (diabetes, hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol), sleep disorders and anxiety, people with diabetes should be careful while fasting and seek their doctor's advice regarding adjustment of their medication, experts said.
Dr Shoeb Ahmed Khan, a consultant nephrologist and transplant physician, said, "Risk of heatstroke, dehydration is up in fasting during summer. In order to prevent these risks, it is recommended to take high liquid and fibre content and protein foods — like milk, oats, and fruits such as grapes and watermelon during seher and iftar. These food items are helpful in retaining water and help prevent dehydration."
Dr Khan also advised against oily, spicy and fatty foods as they cause acidity. "Also, aerated or soft drinks are to be strictly avoided during iftar. Ramzan fasting is also a good time to quit habits that could harm your health, like smoking, and adopt a healthy lifestyle," he said.
Dos and Don’ts during Ramzan
- Drink enough water from iftar to seher
- Eat fruits, high-liquid content and protein-rich food
- If under medication, consult your doctor on how to manage medications and chronic illnesses, such as diabetes
- On the workout front, focus should be on lighter activities like walking
- Avoid aerated or soft drinks, oily and spicy foods
‘Ramzan is about fasting, not food’
"Youth should focus on building spiritual life during Ramzan. Ramzan allows a person to ascend a higher spiritual plane and draw lessons that shall become his/her way of life for the rest of the year. People should also donate to the poor and needy in their localities" --
Maulana Ahsan Alhamoomi, imam and khateeb, Shahi Masjid, Public Garden, Nampally