ISLAMABAD: World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday advised to take a healthy diet with the right amount of calories from foods and drinks to maintain energy balance in the holy month of Ramzan.
In its advisory issued on Tuesday with regard to healthy diet during Ramzan, the WHO said that Ramzan can be a good time to make changes to improve the balance of diet that can sustain in the longer term. Smoking is bad for health and Ramzan is also a great opportunity to change unhealthy lifestyle habits, including smoking, it added.
The advisory said eating only as many calories as required will help to maintain a healthy weight. However, the choice of foods and drinks need to be the right ones, and in the right proportions to stay healthy. It urged drink plenty of fluids, as well as consuming fluid-rich foods, such as fruit, vegetables, soups and stews. High temperatures can also make sweat more, so it is important to drink fluids to replace what loses during the day and to start the next day of fasting well hydrated (at least 10 glasses).
It said that salt stimulates thirst and so it’s a good idea to avoid consuming a lot of salty foods. It asked to avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and cola, because caffeine can make some people urinate more often, which may lead to dehydration. It said that people should try to curtail the consumption of fried, processed or fat-rich foods. The changes to eating habits and lack of fluids during the day may cause constipation, and this can be eased by consuming plenty of high fibre foods, such as wholegrains, high fibre cereals, fruit and vegetables, alongside plenty of fluids and light physical activity such as walking.
The advisory said that at time of Iftar –when breaking the fast, people go for plenty of fluids, low fat, fluid-rich foods and foods containing some natural sugars for energy. It said that water provides hydration without any extra calories or added sugars. Drinks based on milk and fruit provide some natural sugars and nutrients. These are also good to break the fast but avoid drinking a lot of drinks with added sugars after breaking the fast as these can hhigh-caloriecontent.
It said that dates are a great way to break the fast as they provide natural sugars for energy, provide minerals like potassium, copper and manganese and are a source of fibre. Other such sources of fibre are apricots, figs, raisins or prunes. Incorporate plenty of vegetables in Iftar provide vital vitamins and nutrients, and green salads that contain plenty of hydrating cucumber and tomato while fruits provide natural sugars for energy, fluid and some vitamins and mineral, adding watermelon to meal ensures greater hydration.
It said that a Sehri provides fluids and energy for the day of fasting ahead, so making healthy choices can help to cope better with the fast. It is especially important for special groups such as the elderly, adolescents, pregnant women and nursing mothers, as well as children who choose to fast. It said that drink plenty of fluids and choose fluid-rich foods to make sure for well hydrated for the day ahead and go for starchy foods for energy, choosing high fibre or wholegrain varieties where possible as these tend to be digested more slowly.
Rice, high-fibre breakfast cereals, oats or muesli (usually consumed with milk or yogurt), provide plenty of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Yogurt provides nutrients like protein, calcium, iodine and B vitamins and also contains fluid. Breads preferably wholegrain options as these provide more fibre, like wholemeal toast or chapattis. It said that people should avoid combining bread with salty foods like hard cheese, or preserved meats and could try nut butters (without added salt), soft cheese, or banana.