Ramadan is an excellent time to improve every aspect of your life, especially your physical and spiritual health.
If you would like to improve your physical health, and thereby increase your spiritual productivity during this blessed month, then avoid these five mistakes.
Mistake #1: Missing suhoor
“Eat suḥoor; indeed, there is a blessing in suḥoor.” (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)
Missing suhoor means that you’re missing out on some great blessings (barakah). The void of these blessings leads to lethargy and increased unproductivity throughout the day. For your body to function, it needs fuel. So eat your suhoor even if it’s a small portion.
Another implication of this hadith is this: when something is blessed, even a small amount of it results in increased satisfaction. Don’t get me wrong, waking up for suhoor is difficult, but its health benefits are incredible.
This point leads to the second mistake most people do.
Mistake #2: Eating too much
The blessing in suhoor or the enjoyment you feel during iftar is really in eating less, not in eating more. Prophet (PBUH) said,
“Nothing is worse than a person who fills his stomach. It should be enough for the son of Adam to have a few bites to satisfy his hunger. If he wishes for more, it should be one-third for his food, one-third for his liquids, and one-third for his breath.” (Tirmidhi & Ibn Majah)
When you eat too much, your body becomes busy digesting the extra volume of food by sending most of the blood supply to your stomach. Because your blood supply has become localised, the lack of blood circulation to other body parts takes its toll on your body. This leads to sluggishness and the usual “Ramadan tiredness”.
You can choose to eat less by implementing these two simple techniques:
- Serve your food on a salad plate
- Eat slowly by chewing every morsel at least 15 times.
Mistake #3: Eating deep-fried foods at iftar
If there is one simple change you can make to improve your health in Ramadan, then it’s avoiding deep-fried foods at iftar. It’s the worst choice of food you can have at iftar.
You should avoid fried foods because fasting is a form of detoxification for your body. After such thorough detoxification, all your body wants is nutritious food to reenergize your body, not junk food to destroy the long process of detoxification.
Imagine spending an entire day cleaning your house and then throwing a bucket of dirt in your living room. Not a wise idea, right? Eating deep-fried foods at iftar is similar to throwing dirt in your body.
After a long fasting day, deep-fried food causes more harm to your body than it does good. Most of these foods can cause irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn and other discomforts. They also make any activity following iftar difficult (e.g. taraweeh).
If you can’t live life without your deep-fried foods, then have a small portion of it after eating your vegetables and proteins. As you prepare your meal, use only unrefined coconut oil instead of other oils for deep-frying.
When vegetable oils are exposed to high heat, they can form harmful compounds. But oils that consist mostly of saturated (such as coconut oil) and monosaturated fats are stable at high heat and don’t form such toxic compounds.
Research studies have shown that even after long hours of continuous deep frying at 180°C (365°F), the quality of coconut oil does not deteriorate.
Mistake #4: Avoiding naps
Lack of sleep often leads to mood swings and irritability. Scheduling naps during the day is the easiest and most efficient way of freeing yourself from this predicament.
Naps can be as short as 15-20 minutes. Even if you don’t fall asleep, just closing your eyes helps you to revitalise your mind and body.
Mistake #5: Ignoring exercise
I work out 3-4 times a week in Ramadan, as do my clients. One of the best things you can do to improve your health is to work out an hour before iftar.
In my recent Ramadan Health Guide FREE eBook, I’ve outlined the details and benefits of exercising while fasting.
May Allah subuhanawuta’ala grant you and me the ability to improve our physical and spiritual health in this blessed month.