Tips: Nourishing your body during Ramadan

Amany Abdel-Moneim , Wednesday 13 Mar 2024

Unlike sugary snacks or processed foods, yoghurt can provide a steady release of energy, preventing fluctuations in blood sugar levels and promoting sustained endurance throughout the day

homemade yoghurt
homemade yoghurt

 

While abstaining from food and drink during Ramadan daylight hours, it is crucial to prioritise nourishing foods during the non-fasting hours to maintain energy levels and support overall health.

Among the array of nutritious options, yoghurt emerges as a traditional staple for its remarkable health benefits, making it an essential component that can nourish your body, boost your energy levels, and enhance your overall vitality throughout Ramadan and beyond.

However, some people need to be cautious with their yoghurt intake, as it may cause adverse effects, especially in those with lactose intolerance or a milk allergy.

For maximum health benefits, choose plain, unsweetened yoghurt to avoid added sugars and artificial flavours.

Also, incorporate yoghurt into balanced meals that include a mix of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats, or include yoghurt-based dishes in your Sohour and Iftar meals to reap its benefits throughout the day.

Additionally, consider topping your yoghurt with nuts, seeds, or fresh fruit for extra nutrients and flavour.

From aiding digestion to replenishing nutrients - here’s why incorporating yoghurt into your Ramadan diet can be advantageous.

Supporting digestive health:
 

The probiotics found in yoghurt promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria which is crucial for optimal digestion and gut health. Fasting can sometimes disrupt normal digestive processes, leading to issues like indigestion or constipation. Including yoghurt in your diet can help regulate digestion, alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort, and promote regularity, making it an excellent addition to your Ramadan meal plan.

Boosting immune function:
 

A robust immune system is essential for staying healthy and resilient, especially during periods of fasting and dietary changes. Yoghurt contains immune-boosting nutrients such as vitamin D and probiotics, which can help strengthen the body’s natural defences against infections and illnesses. By including yoghurt in your Ramadan diet, you can support immune function and reduce the risk of falling ill during this holy month.

Replenishing nutrients:
 

Fasting during Ramadan can sometimes lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients, particularly vitamins and minerals. Yoghurt is rich in nutrients such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and B vitamins, all of which are vital for maintaining overall health and well-being. Incorporating yoghurt into your Sohour and Iftar meals can help ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs, supporting optimal bodily functions and promoting overall vitality.

Sustaining energy levels:
 

Yoghurt, with its combination of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, offers a balanced source of energy that can help keep you feeling satiated and energised during the fasting hours. Unlike sugary snacks or processed foods, yoghurt can provide a steady release of energy, preventing fluctuations in blood sugar levels and promoting sustained endurance throughout the day.

Hydration and cooling effects:
 

Staying hydrated is crucial during Ramadan. Yoghurt is not only a hydrating food but also contains electrolytes like potassium and sodium which can help replenish fluids and maintain electrolyte balance in the body. Consuming yoghurt during Sohour and Iftar can contribute to your overall hydration status, alleviate thirst and help prevent dehydration during fasting hours.

Mastering homemade yoghurt:
 

Now let’s make a homemade creamy yoghurt for our Iftar and Sohour meals during this holy Ramadan. All you need is good quality milk, a few spoonfuls of your favourite plain yoghurt to use as a starter culture and some time to let it sit. You can also use low-fat or skim if you prefer. Skim milk will give you a thinner yoghurt, though if you add half a cup of dry milk powder to the milk as it heats, that will help thicken it.

Pour one litre of full-fat whole milk into a heavy-based pot. Place the pot over high to medium flame range. Allow the milk to come to a boil until it rises, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for one to three minutes. Remove from heat and let the milk cool until it reaches 45 degrees Celsius. You can check this with a thermometer or by dipping a clean finger into the centre of the milk. If you can hold it there for five seconds without feeling too much heat, then it’s ready.

Transfer the milk to a clean glass container. Add two tablespoons of store-bought yoghurt into the milk and whisk well with a hand blender until smooth. Pour the mixture into small pots and place it in a tray filled halfway with hot water. Cover with a clean kitchen tissue and keep it undisturbed in a warm oven for eight to nine hours or overnight. Once set, put in the fridge and use as required.


* A version of this article appears in print in the 14 March, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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