Founding Editor: Shafqat Munir   

Gain health rather than losing it in Ramadan 

16 Augustus 2010 02:10:27

Gain health rather than losing it in Ramadan 

By: Yasir Ilyas

The arrival of Ramadan witnesses a change in the daily routines of people in terms of their timings to eat, sleep, and work. While this is understandable, it is important not to impose unnecessary ‘sanctions’ upon oneself during the holy month. Often it is observed that during this month, some people start indulging in activities which are not needed while others start avoiding certain useful practices. This mismanagement not only impacts their quality of life but also has serious implications for health.

Change in eating habits is a common practice during Ramadan. People start over-eating in order not to feel hungry during fast; this has serious health implications. Besides increasing the quantity of food, the quality of food is also compromised, with little attention being paid to the amount of vitamins, proteins and other nutrients being consumed. Generally, there is an increase in the intake of foods that are rich in fats; this itself creates various health problems.

Arsalan Rasheed, a teenager visiting a clinic with his mother said, “My mother is a patient of hypertension. She is very conscious about the kind of food that she eats so as not to aggravate her condition, but come Ramadan, and her blood pressure shoots up because she becomes casual about her eating habits.”

Arsalan’s mother is not the only one; patients of diabetes and hepatitis also face problems in Ramadan due to their careless attitude towards food and their work routine. Ramadan, which is actually a blessing for such patients and helps improve their health, becomes a source of increment in their disease.

Over-eating is another common practice seen in Ramadan. Many people tend to over-eat at ‘sehri’ to avoid hunger in the later half of the day, but this habit creates problems even for healthy people, leave alone those facing a health problem. Over-eating has an adverse effect on the stomach, leads to gastric problems, and can also result in vomiting and burning in the esophagus.

Talking to INFN, Dr. Zahid Minhas, a medical specialist at Holy Family Hospital said, “Over-eating is a common problem in Ramadan. ‘Dyspepsia’ (a disease of the stomach due to gas and acidity) is a common complaint in Ramadan; people eat too much at ‘Sehri’ and sleep soon after Fajr without any exercise. This causes ndigestion of food.”

Replying to a question, Dr. Minhas said, foods containing too much oil, like ‘pakoras’ and ‘samosas,’  lead to an increase in cholesterol, which in turn can cause several heart diseases. Talking about patients suffering from diabetes, he said, people also take extra sweet in the form of dates, drinks, and juices etc., all of which can aggravate the condition of a diabetic patient.

Ramadan is a blessing for Muslims as far as health is concerned. It offers a great opportunity for physical fitness. A fast is often termed as Zakat (alms) of the body. We can become fit by securing ourselves from diseases just by following a simple eating and work schedule. We can enjoy the blessings of this month by taking proper food, sparing some time for exercise, and avoiding lethargy.