The common practice of ingesting large amounts of foods rich in carbohydrate and fat, especially at seher and iftaar, should be avoided.”
Dr Farhat Bashir, Professor Medicine, Assistant Dean Clinical Sciences and Clinical Coordinator at the United Medical and Dental College, Karachi, expressed these views while delivering a lecture on “Ramazan and Health” held in the seminar room of the Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi on Wednesday.
Dr Bashir said that the practicing of fast during Ramazan could herald a sudden shift to one’s usual lifestyle that included mealtimes and quality, levels of physical activity, sleeping patterns and social interactions.
Fasting during the holy month can have positive effects on one’s physical and mental wellbeing, she said, adding that this can include weight loss, improvements to metabolic markers, potential improvements to metabolic, cardiac and hepatic health and reductions to feelings of stress and anxiety.
Fasting also helps people to develop social and moral values such as the feeling of true compassion and empathy for people that are less fortunate, she said.
She pointed out that the holy month of fasting disciplined the mind and body and was associated with improvements to both one’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Talking about nutrition in the holy days, she said that the diet during Ramazan should not significantly be different from daily routine diet. The excessive use of foods rich in carbohydrate and fat especially at seher and iftaar, should be avoided. While foods with more simple carbohydrates may be more appropriate at the sunset meal, she added.
It is also recommended that fluid intake be increased during nonfasting hours and that the predawn meal be taken as late as possible before the start of the daily fast, she advised.
Ramadan is an important social time that facilitates interaction while combatting feelings of isolations and loneliness, she said, adding that the significance of social aspects of Ramazan can not be ignored at all as people form closer bonds with family, friends and member of the community and generally enhance their social interactions.
She pointed out that the pre-Ramazan counselling was quite essential for those who were suffering from severe diseases. People, who are affected from diabetes Mellitus Type-1, chronic renal failure including renal transplant, severe cardiac and pulmonary conditions, G.I. Bleed and acute ulcers, severe epilepsy and severe migraine, should not fast, she advised.