Health Tips for Ramadan - What to Eat

Health Tips For Ramadan -- This article provides useful tips on how to avoid some common problems encountered in Ramadan. If followed, it would enable one to fast comfortably and enjoy fully the spiritual benefits of Ramadan. During the holy month of Ramadan, our diet should not differ very much from our normal diet and should be as simple as possible. The diet should be such that we maintain our normal weight, neither losing nor gaining. However, if one is over-weight, Ramadan is an ideal time to normalize one's weight.

Consume Slow Digesting Foods

In view of the long hours of fasting; we should consume slow digesting foods including fiber containing-foods rather than fast-digesting foods. Slow digesting foods last up to 8 hours, while fast-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours.

Slow-digesting foods are foods that contain grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour, unpolished rice, etc. (called complex carbohydrates). Fast-burning foods are foods that contain sugar, white flour, etc. (called refined carbohydrates).

Fiber-containing foods are bran-containing foods, whole wheat, grains and seeds, vegetables like green beans, peas, sem (papry), marrow, mealies, spinach, and other herbs like methie, the leaves of beetroot (iron-rich), fruit with skin, dried fruit especially dried apricots, figs and prunes, almonds, etc..

The foods eaten should be well balanced, containing foods from each food group, i.e. fruits, vegetables, meat/chicken/fish, bread/cereals and dairy products. Fried foods are unhealthy and should be limited. They cause indigestion, heartburn, and weight problems.


Fried and fatty foods.
*Foods containing too much sugar.
*Over-eating especially at sehri.
*Too much tea at sehri. Tea makes you pass more urine taking with it valuable mineral salts that your body would need during the day.
*Smoking cigarettes.  Smoking is unhealthy and one should stop completely.


Eat complex carbohydrates at sehri so that the food lasts longer making you less hungry.
Haleem is an excellent source of protein and is a slow-burning food. Dates are excellent source of sugar, fiber, carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium. Almonds are rich in protein and fiber with less fat. Bananas are a good source of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates.


As much water or fruit juices as possible between iftar and bedtime so that your body may adjust fluid levels in time.


Constipation can cause piles (hemorrhoids), fissures and indigestion with a bloated feeling.

Causes: Too much refined foods, too little water, and not enough fiber in the diet.

Remedy: Avoid excessive refined foods, increase water intake, and use bran in baking, brown flour when making roti.

LETHARGY ('low blood pressure')

Excessive sweating, weakness, tiredness, lack of energy, dizziness, especially on getting up from sitting position, pale appearance and feeling faint are symptoms associated with "low blood pressure". This tends to occur towards the afternoon.

Causes: Too little fluid intake decreased salt intake.
Remedy: Keep cool increase fluid and salt intake.

Caution: Low blood pressure should be confirmed by taking a blood pressure reading when symptoms are present. Persons with high blood pressure may need their medication adjusted during Ramadan. They should consult their doctor.


Causes: Caffeine and tobacco-withdrawal, doing too much in one day, lack of sleep, hunger usually occurs as the day goes by and worsens at the end of the day. When associated with "low blood pressure", the headache can be quite severe and can also cause nausea before Iftar.

Remedy: Cut down caffeine and tobacco slowly starting a week or two before Ramadan. Herbal and caffeine-free teas may be substituted. Reorganize your schedule during the Ramadan so as to have adequate sleep.


Weakness, dizziness, tiredness, poor concentration, perspiring easily, feeling shaky (tremor), unable to perform physical activities, headache, and palpitations are symptoms of low blood sugar.
Causes in non-diabetics: Having too much sugar (i.e. refined carbohydrates especially at suhur (sehri)). The body produces too much insulin causing the blood glucose to drop.

Remedy: Eat something at sehri and limit sugar-containing foods and drinks.
Caution: Diabetics may need to adjust their medication in Ramadan, consult your doctor.


Causes: Inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium foods.
Remedy: Eat foods rich in the above minerals (e.g. vegetables, fruit, dairy products, meat and dates).
Caution: Those on high blood pressure medication and with kidney stone problems should consult their doctor.


Increased acid levels in the empty stomach in Ramadan aggravate the above conditions. It presents itself as a burning feeling in the stomach area under the ribs and can extend up to the throat. Spicy foods, coffee, and Cola drinks worsen these conditions.

Medications are available to control acid levels in the stomach. People with proven peptic ulcers and hiatus hernia should consult their doctor well before Ramadan.


Kidney stones may occur in people who have less liquid to drink. Therefore, it is essential to drink extra liquids so as to prevent stone formation.


Causes: During Ramadan, when extra salah are performed the pressure on the knee joints increases. In the elderly and those with arthritis this may result in pain, stiffness, swelling and discomfort.
Remedy: Lose weight so that the knees do not have to carry any extra load. Exercise the lower limbs before Ramadan so that they can be prepared for the additional strain. Being physically fit allows greater fulfillment, thus enabling one to be able to perform salah with ease.

You should always consult with your own personal doctor or healthcare provider for appropriate advice concerning your specific health needs and care during Ramadan.

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Preparing for Ramadan - A Month of Great Blessing

As Ramadan approaches, all Muslims should prepare for Ramadan with the fasting of Sha'ban. It is a time to thank Allah for his mercy and blessings.

The month of Sha'ban is a month of fasting and great rewards from Islam's Creator, Allah. Sha'ban is a voluntary or suggested fast. The only required fasting days are in Ramadan; the other voluntary fasts are suggested and many participate, as Muslims believe they must follow the life and traditions of Prophet Mohammad.

According to, Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him*) would to fast the following days:

 smoke, eat or ingest any food whatsoever. It's said that a Muslim with a bad tongue is a Muslim whom Allah needs nothing from. Muslims must avoid major sins while fasting.
Six days of Shawwal (the month after Ramadan).
  • The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, which would include the day of Arafat. Fast this month of Hajj if not participating in the pilgrimage.
  • The day of ‘Ashura. Ashura is 10th day of Muharram (1st month of the Islamic calendar).
  • Fasting during most of the month of Sha'ban (month before Ramadan).
  • Fasting Mondays and Thursdays.
  • Fasting on the 13th, 14th and 15th of each month.
Fasting in the Holy Month of Sha'ban

Muslims believe that fasting during the month of Sha'ban should always follow the standard fasting rules in Islam. For instance, Muslims should fast as much as possible, but fasting should not occur beyond the 15th of Sha'ban. It's believed that the last two weeks should be spent in worship, but also resting in preparation for Ramadan. When fasting during the first two weeks of Sha'ban, Muslims fast every other day. This follows the model set forth by David, who fasted every other day and never ran from the enemy.

Things that should be done during and after fasting are: zikr (praising Allah), nafl (voluntary) prayers, reading of the Quran, giving charity, doing more good deeds and remembering the obligatory actions during fasting.

 During fasting, a Muslim must not backbite, engage in intercourse,
'A'ishah said, "I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha'ban." (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Sha'ban - The Most Neglected MonthThe Prophet Mohammad would fast throughout most of the month prior to Ramadan, according to some scholars. Others believe that fasting during this time was performed by women, who made up any missed fasting days from the prior Ramadan; since the wives were fasting, Prophet Mohammad fasted as well.

Fasting is a time when the Muslim forms a connection with Allah; it's a very personal experiences that's not discussed with others. Many scholars have fasted for years without ever telling of this task, seeking only the reward from Allah. By preparing the fast on this month, the Muslim is able to fast during Ramadan with relative ease.

Usamah ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased*) said, "I said, 'O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Sha'ban.' He said, 'That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.'" (Narrated by al-Nasa'i).

According to Abu Dawood, "The most beloved of months for the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him*) to fast in was Sha'ban, and his fasting in Sha'ban was continuous with his fasting in Ramadan."

15 Sha'ban - A Day When Deeds Presented to Allah

The 15th of Sha'ban is also referred to as "Laylatul-bara'ah" (the night of freedom from fire). This pertains to the night of the 14th (beginning at sunset) through until sunrise on the 15th day of Shaban. It is a day of fasting and a night of continual prayers. During the day of fasting, the Muslim must perform good deeds as it's believed that on this day, Allah will decide what lies ahead for the following year. It's believed that Allah determines the Muslims' fate, deciding who will die, who will find wealth and prosperity.

According to hadith by Tirmidhi, "Allah forgives more people than the number of hair on the hides of the flocks and herds of sheep of the tribe of Kalb." Who are the people Allah will not forgive on this evening? According to Islamic tradition, the following individuals will not receive forgiveness:
  • Habitual drinkers.
  • Those who are habitual adulterous.
  • Those disobedient to parents.
  • Backbiters.
  • Scandal mongerers.
  • Makers of pictures.
  • Those who lower their pants below the ankles in pride.
  • Those who bear malice against another Muslim.
In Islam, it's believed that Allah will forgive the Muslim who sincerely repents of these sins and seeks mercy. On this night, all devout Muslims hope for the blessings of Allah. It should be noted that there is no hadith hasan (strong saying from Allah) on the practice of fasting on the 15th. The general consensus among scholars is that fasting is acceptable and not an innovation (bid'ah).

For Muslims, the month of Sha'ban is a glorious and very significant month, filled with worship, piety and fasting, which is performed by all who are not ill or traveling. In Islam, it's said that the month of Sha'ban is a time when many angels gather to return the deeds performed and spoken by all pious Muslims.

*Muslims invoke Allah's blessings on the Prophet Muhammad whenever this name is mentioned.

  • "The Virtues of the Month of Sha'ban," Mission Islam. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
  • "Shaban: Merits, Do's, and Don'ts," Albalagh. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
Charity and Sadakah brings blessings to Muslims who follow the Sunnah of our Prophet

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