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Express yourself: People should not overeat during Ramadan.

The holy month of Ramadan symbolises our tryst with the highest human virtues and values. This month provides us an opportunity to not only purify our body, soul and mind, but also to promote the values of patience, perseverance and persistence. It is a time that reminds us of our responsibilities as human beings and shows us the path to purification. Hence, the sanctity of the holy month ought to be maintained.

The focus, therefore, should be on piety and prayers. Indulgence must be avoided with utmost sincerity. Unfortunately, some Muslims err by overeating after Iftar and indulge in satisfying their gastronomic desires.

The result of such a routine is that instead of cleansing the biological system, one ends up straining the body. Medical experts are of the unanimous opinion that the month-long fasting period cuts the toxicity in the body and rejuvenates the system.

But if one indulges in overeating, then the physical and spiritual advantages of fasting are lost. There would be enough time for us to enjoy during the Eid Al Fitr festivities later this month. So till then, let us thank the Almighty for all that He has provided to us and pray for the welfare of the entire mankind.

It's in the light of this that we invited our readers to share their opinion on this very vital issue, something concerning our spirituality and health. Not surprisingly, the respondents have reiterated what we at Times of Oman have always emphasised: overeating after Iftar goes against the values of this truly precious month, which teaches us the virtues of sacrifice, sharing and caring. Overeating not only affects our health, but affects our spirituality too. Happy Ramadan.

Mohammed Arif

Seeb

People in the region tend to overeat during Ramadan in breach of the spirit of the holy month. The faithful indulging in overeating during the holy month always forget that Ramadan is a month of austerity and of exercising self-restraint.

Many are not aware of the fact that the basic idea behind fasting is to have a feel of how the poor confront situations like hand-to-mouth living and surviving on subsistence meal. After fasting, many people compensate for the meal missed during the day at Iftar. Fasting is a good way to practice diet however we should make sure that it doesn't brings negative effects for us. It is necessary to control the diet even after successfully completing the fasting period where overeating after fasting would result in the drastic increase of weight.

Increase in weight will make us more prone to weight-gain related ailments like diabetes and cardiac problems due to fluctuating blood pressure. Our diet during Ramadan should not differ too much from our normal diet and should be as simple as possible.

The meal that we consume before and after fasting is an important meal to be considered while fasting. One of the important fasting tips to implement is drinking sufficient water before we start fasting. Other than going for fried and oily food items, we should prefer taking slow-digesting foods which contain grains and seeds such as barley, wheat, oats and beans.

They are better compared to fast-burning foods which contain ingredients such as sugar and white flour. We can also have fruit or vegetable juice that is rich in calories and nutrients that can build new cells and helps us to stay fit while fasting. We should not consume too much foods and waters while breakfasting. We should consider taking light meal such as dates and sufficient water and wait for a while before taking the heavier meal such as rice and etc. This will let our digestive system to work accordingly to our need in a proper manner.

Khalid Mumtaz

Muttrah

With the holy month of Ramadan in its first week, fasting and self-purification should be the prime objective Muslims all over the world. The holy month stands for self-sacrifice, moderation and introspection. It instils in us the spirit of brotherhood, patience and peace. After having spent a year in pursuit of worldly pleasures and satisfying our urge to accumulate, it is now time for us to realise the futility of such desires.

But unfortunately, for many people the holy month is just an annual exercise of fasting during the day time which is followed by feasting after Iftar. The hunger pangs of the day are doused by gorging on whatever is available at Iftar time, and this feast continues right through the night.

This is followed by sleeping through the day time, till the time of the next Iftar feast.

Ramadan fasting should be followed by intake of healthy food items, preferably dates or fruit juices or salad. The digestive system should not be put under undue strain. The Iftar snacks could be complimented by a secondary meal so that the digestive system gets a time gap to take on the load. The routine life style need not be disturbed by keeping awake and socialising all night.

The carelessness of 'fasting and feasting' Muslims is quite evident in the hospitals, where many land up with digestive complaints as the holy month progresses.

So now is the time to realise the true meaning of the holy month and shun such trivial pleasures.

Fiza Rashid

Wadi Kabir

Apart from strengthening the willpower and kicking the bad habits during the holy month of Ramadan, fasting also helps regulate the body mechanism. By reducing the three daily meals to two, it helps the stomach and other organs in the gastrointestinal tract to rest. It also helps regulate blood lipid levels, reduce extra weight, excrete the poisons from the body and control blood pressure levels.

There are psychological effects of fasting as well. Many individuals, however, ruin all their efforts by overeating during suhoor and Iftar, which can lead to many ailments.

While many consider constipation, fatigue, aggressiveness, reduced vision, dizziness, low blood pressure, headaches, loss of concentration, tremor, palpitation and muscular cramps as the complications of fasting, these are all secondary to the bad diet many adopt during Ramadan. With an appropriate diet and avoiding over eating these kinds of problems can be avoided.

A balanced food and fluid intake is important between fasts. Very little fluid intake can lead to dehydration, and if untreated, it may lead to fainting or shock (very low blood pressure).

Despite the general belief, drinking a lot of tea for suhoor does not quench thirst as its caffeine increases urination, leading to an increased excretion of water and minerals from the body and, in turn, causes more thirst.

The body's energy during Ramadan can be replaced by taking appropriate pre-dawn and dusk meals. The diet should not differ very much from the normal food and should be as simple as possible.

Usha Devi Sudapalli

Ruwi

TimesXpresso has raised an important issue concerning overeating during the holy month of Ramadan. It is time for self control on a variety of parameters of life and living.

With self control on the food consumed, one can feed the poor and underprivileged, who are deprived of their square meals. A learned scholar once said that 'there is no respectable more odious to God, than a belly stuffed full of food after fast' and therefore 'of what use is the fast as a means of conquering God's enemy and abating appetite, if at the time of breaking if one not only makes up for all one has missed during the day'.

It is worth reflecting on the true objective of fasting which is to experience hunger and check desire in an attempt to reinforce the soul in piety. Above all overeating is seen as a reflection of weak discipline.

Coming to humanitarian considerations Ramadan not only calls for fasting, but it is also the month for sharing the sufferings of the less fortunate. Ramadan is the time to remember that food should never be taken for granted. The self restraint and self discipline should guide one see the undetected plight of less privileged and set one to be more humane, more considerate, more responsible to self and the society.

So why not one refrain from overeating Eat just what is barely enough to sustain, to feed those who are in dire need of your left over food.

Last but not the least, is the health consequences of overeating . For some, overeating is habitual, while some are not only binge eaters, with no portion control at all. It is easy to over indulge in foods during Iftar that can cause weight gain. For the overweight Ramadan is the time to normalise their weights and this is a boon for those with sedentary lifestyles. One should not forget that overeating is not the correct way to compensate for the lack of calories during fasting.

The metabolism of the body is reduced during fasting by the body's regulatory mechanism. A balanced diet, which consists of less than the normal amount of food intake, is just sufficient to keep a person healthy and active during Ramadan. Voluminous medical data exists on the ill effects of overeating.

They include lots of stress at mental and emotional level, obesity, loss of confidence, hiked up acidity levels, reflux, tummy pain, vomit, diarrhoea, burning eyes, irritability, hyperventilation, shortness of breath and host of other adverse impacts. Given this, why not refrain from overeating and make a good start during Ramadan

Next hot topic: Do the drivers need to be extra cautious while heading home for Iftar in view of the increasing number of accidents

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Aug 7, 2011
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