Ramadan Nutrition and Exercise Guide


Posted on Tuesday, 7th Jun, 2016

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The Holy month of Ramadan is a great time to make healthy changes with your food and avoid over indulging. Pace yourself, fuel your body right and have fun during the Holy month with these top nutrition and exercise tips from Chloe Moir Nutrition!

Nutrition


1. Eliminate all processed sugars - a Ramadan sugar detox. Processed foods such as cakes, breads, desserts and sweets will cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, followed by a large drop, leading to cravings and low energy levels.

2. Dates are a traditional way to break the fast at Iftar. Following a fast your blood sugar levels are low, so any sugar you eat will rapidly be broken down causing spikes of blood sugar and spikes of insulin. If you cannot avoid having a date or two then team it with a few natural, raw almonds to help slow digestion of the sugar.

3. Avoid eating quickly at Iftar, pace yourself! It is best to spread out your food and eat slowly. Rather than having a large Iftar meal, eat half your meal to break your fast then the other half a couple of hours later.

4. Always include a high quality protein source at Iftar such as high quality lean meats, chicken, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes such as lentils, beans and chickpeas. This will help to slow down the release of sugar from your food into your blood, which can happen quite quickly when breaking a fast.

5. Base your Suhoor meal around protein and healthy fats such as eggs and avocado to keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer. Always choose low GI carbohydrates at Suhoor to control blood sugar levels and reduce mid-fast cravings. Low GI carbohydrates include quinoa, legumes, brown or wild rice, sweet potato and all other vegetables.

6. Hydration is key. Just like every other day you should consume between 2-3L of water. Start hydrating as soon as you break fast and continue drinking until Suhoor.

7. Spread out 4-5 small meals over the time between Iftar and Suhoor. For example eat you pre-fast meal at 4am, then break fast at 7pm, eat again at 10pm and finally have a small snack at 11.30pm.

8. Keep your diet as natural and unprocessed as possible. This goes for the oils that you are using too. Avoid the processed oils such as canola and sunflower oil as these are highly reactive, becoming toxic and causing inflammation in the body. Cook your food in coconut oil and dress your salads with olive oil.

Exercising during Ramadan


1. Exercising during Ramadan varies from person to person. The best thing to do is to try training at different times of the day and see how your body copes. The best time to hit the gym is either early morning after your first meal of the day, after your Iftar meal or even before breaking fast. This is up to the individual and some experimenting needs to be done first.

2. It is perfectly safe to train while fasting. If it is new to you then take is slow, pace yourself and listen to your body. If you start feeling uneasy at any point then take a break. There is some evidence out there to suggest that training in a fasted state can actually bring about significant training benefits, so as long as you feel OK, training on an empty stomach is more than OK.

3. You may find that you will need to adjust the intensity of your training while you are fasting due to changes in your energy levels. Make your training focus over the Holy month towards maintaining your lean body weight and increasing mobility through various strength exercises, stretching and foam rolling.



Author: SMART Fitness Nutritionist Chloe Moir has a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Human Nutrition and Sports & Exercise Science, as well as more than 3 years experience working as a Nutritionist and Personal Trainer in New Zealand. She teaches her clients to make healthy choices and small lifestyle changes that help them to achieve their personal goals. Chloe has a blog, Chloe Moir Nutrition, where she shares nutrition tips, her view on current nutrition trends and a lot of delicious, nutritious recipes.


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