Nutritional Tips to Avoid Constipation during Ramadan

Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:42 pm

Nutritional Tips to Avoid Constipation during Ramadan

Many people during their fasting days may experience constipation: which is the most common gastrointestinal problem during Ramadan. The movement of the food through the digestive system takes a longer time than normal where the feces become harder to defecate and the evacuation becomes irregular and painful.
After digestion of food in the stomach and absorption of nutrients in the small intestine, most of the fiber reaches the large intestine, absorbs water and swells. This process makes feces large in volume, fills the bowel, stimulates the large intestine to contract and evacuate. Fiber makes the stool cylindrical in shape, soft in texture and easy to move out.

Major causes of constipation:
• Consuming less food that is rich in fiber. Fiber is found in whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains and cereals, bran, and legumes such as beans and lentils. Consuming more refined foods and low fiber meals leads to insufficient filling of the bowel.
• Not drinking adequate fluids, water in particular.
• Excessive consumption of caffeine containing drinks, such as tea, coffee and cola. Caffeine depletes the body of its water and contributes to dehydration.
• Sedentary lifestyle and lack of activities during Ramadan; as the activities support the movement of the bowel.

Nutritional Tips to avoid constipation:
• Consume five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. These will provide your body with antioxidants, many vitamins and minerals in addition to a good amount of fiber.
• Mix fiber rich fruits, dates, figs, or apricots with non-fat yogurt and desserts.
• Replace desserts with fresh fruits and make your desserts healthy: with whole wheat flour and fruits.
• Add vegetables, legumes, or corn to rice and pastas’ dishes and soups, such as Mojadarah (lentil rice).
• Include salads such as Tabbouli, Fatoush, Hummus, Moutable, Baba Ganouch, Beans, etc., at your Iftar and Sahoor meals and snacks.
• Include fiber rich soups, such as grains, vegetables, or lentils at your Iftar, Sahoor meals, and snacks. These will provide your body with fluids, fiber, and many nutrients.
• Consume adequate fluids, such as water, vegetable juice, unsweetened fruit juice, low fat or non-fat milk, and fat free soups in your meals and snacks.
• Choose whole wheat bread rather than white and fiber containing cereals than refined.
• Fill the Samboosa with vegetables, beans, or lentils rather than meat or chicken or cheese.
Keeping in mind that white rice, bananas, chocolate, strong black tea, steamed carrots may contribute to constipation, as these foods are known as constipating foods.

Remember: keep your blood sugar controlled as high levels of blood sugar lead to depleting the fluids from the body through urination and this leads to dehydration and eventually
to constipation.
Ramadan Kareem

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