Ramadan is a good time for smokers to kick the butt

Ramadan is a good time for smokers to kick the butt

Ramadan is a good time for smokers to kick the butt

Our ancestors got it right when they recommended occasional fasting to cleanse the body of toxins.

Nowadays, doctors vouch for the benefits of regular fasts  and controlled diets as an antidote to many health issues.

The month-long Ramadan will start on June 28. During the holy month of Rama­dan, every fit and healthy Muslim is obligated to fast from dawn to dusk.

They are also supposed to abstain from smoking, drinking, lying and having intimate relations during the fasting hours.

Since the last couple of years, Rama­dan has been falling during the summer months. Coping with the heat while not losing one’s cool, is the essence of a
successful fast.

Following a few guidelines will make the whole experience spiritual and blessed. Since the weather will be hot and humid, it is advisable to avoid non-vegetarian food during the pre-dawn meal as it would increase thirst.

Dr Syed Tahir, specialising in Ramadan foods to suit Indian conditions, advises consuming buttermilk and curd. He also recommends plenty of juices.

Go for healthy meals instead of stuffing yourself with junk food when breaking the fast. Ideally, dates are consumed along with a sip of water or juice. This is done to help the body get used to food after many hours of fasting.

Dr Syed Tahir says: “We come across many news reports of people being
admitted to hospitals due to overeating during Ramadan.

A large, heavy meal that is difficult to digest is the last thing your body needs after a day of fasting and will leave you bloated and lethargic.”

The body enters into the fasting state eight hours after the last meal. During this time, the store of glucose is first used to provide energy.

Later, fat is broken down and finally, the body draws upon its reserves of protein. Since the Ramadan fast extends from dawn to dusk only, the stores of glucose and fat can be replenished during pre-dawn and dusk meals and there is no need to break down the muscles for protein.

The importance of a balanced meal after breaking the fast cannot be stressed enough. Dr Abdul Basit, nutritionist at the General Hospital in Chennai, explains lack of proper nutrition can cause all sorts of problems such as hair loss, anaemia and mineral deficiencies.

To keep healthy, it would he helpful to start Iftar (evening meal during rama­dan) with low-fat buttermilk and a few dates, followed by vegetable soup.

Include all food groups in your main course to get a variety of nutrients, while limiting fried and fatty foods. Although desserts can be a part of a healthy diet, be sensible in your intake and do not overindulge your sweet tooth.

As Ramadan falls during the summer, Dr Basit emphasises the importance of proper hydration during the non-fasting hours.

“Water is very important. Drink plenty of low-calorie fluids throughout the night to hydrate well. Limit salt, sugar and excessive caffeine intake, especially during suhoor (morning meal time), in order to prevent feeling thirsty during the day.”

Ramadan is an ideal time for smokers to kick the habit. During Ramadan, many fasting people compensate their non-smoking hours by extra smoking during the night. Physicians advise people to take the whole month as a holy month and abstain from smoking during the night too.

“This is the time when they have the maximum willpower to stop and we enco­urage them to take it forward. What we do is to basically reinforce what they alre­ady know, by enrolling them in counseling programmes and advising them to cont­rol or delay the feeling whenever they have an urge to smoke. Taking deep bre­ath and
going for a long walk helps in such situations. Another way is not to keep cigarettes in the house. Consider that passive smoking is equally harmful for the family as smoking is for the smokers”

“Ramadan is not an excuse to skip your fitness regimen,” says Dr Basit. Most people gain excess weight during this month so it is all the more important to continue with some light exercises to keep the body fit and shed excess fat.

Consider taking a short walk after the Iftar meal. This will aid in faster digestion and
ensure you get a comfortable sleep.

If you are suffering from any ailment which requires regular medication, consult a doctor before starting the fast as you might need to adjust the timings of the medication.

Fasting is not only beneficial physically but also creates a spiritual uplift by enco­u­raging the fasting devotee to spend less on materialistic things and more on the Alm­ighty.

Dr Syed Tahir explains that the gui­dance by prophet Mohammed is to do a lot of charity and recite the Quran Sur­ahs (supplications) as the month is belie­ved to be a time for worship. It trains the mind to develop self-restraint and devotion.

Use modern technology to help you manage your time and get work done within the schedule.

Nowadays, smart phones do much more than just keep alarms for getting up for the pre-dawn meal and prayers.

If it is not possible to reach office early in the mornings, you can set apart a few hours in the evenings after Iftar to check on mails and connect with clients from the comfort of your home.

Planning your work and social schedule in advance will help you avoid last-minute rush and give peace of mind. Which is what this holy month stands for!