Nutritionist Inge Permadhi presents tips on healthy eating during a fastbreaking event at the Pullmann Hotel in Jakarta on Tuesday (21/06). (Photo courtesy of Danone Indonesia)

How to Keep Fit and Healthy During Ramadan and Idul Fitri


JUNE 26, 2016

Jakarta. Time flies. In a couple of weeks, the fasting month is going to be over. And Muslims around the world are going to celebrate the day of victory, Idul Fitri.

Fasting is beneficial to our health. When done correctly, fasting can help our digestive system rest and recuperate, as well as improve our immune system.

Still, many complain of various ailments during Ramadan, ranging from constipation, fatigue to gastric pains.

And since they have to abstain from food and drinks for almost 14 hours every day during Ramadan, but then gobble up as much as they could stomach during iftar, many also complain of drastic weight gain during the month.

"Changes in our eating patterns force our body to try to adjust," Inge Permadhi, a nutritionist at MRCCC Siloam Semanggi Hospital and a lecturer at the Universitas Indonesia, said at a fastbreaking event held by Danone Indonesia at the Pullman Hotel in Jakarta on Tuesday (21/06). "And the body, going without food for many hours, may then try to compensate by storing excess carbs into fat," she said.

According to Inge, a well-balanced nutritional intake will help prevent weight gain during Ramadan.

"Indonesians usually eat a lot of rice with their meals," said the nutritionist, "Rice is carb. And carbs are turned into fat when the body doesn't use them up."

This was the cue for Inge to introduce her meal combination system "Piring Makanku (My Dining Plate)," which allows us to balance our nutritional intake in each meal.

"With each meal, the rice should only occupy one fourth of your plate," she said.

Another quarter of your plate should be filled with protein. And about half of your plate should contain vegetables and fruits.

Such meal combination, according to the nutritionist, would not only nourish you, but also help to combat fatigue, constipation and gastric problems during the month of Ramadan.

To keep the body well-hydrated during Ramadan, the nutritionist recommends her "2-4-2" drinking regiment during Ramadan.

"Drink two glasses of water during sahur, four glasses of water to break your fast and during dinner, then another two glasses of water before you go to bed," she said.

Will it be more beneficial if we drink oxygenated water?

"Unlike fish, we can't take oxygen from water," she said, with a laugh.

After the fasting month is over, we still have to watch what we eat, especially during the Idul Fitri festivities when families traditionally cook rich, fatty dishes and serve out a smorgasbord of sweet cookies and snacks.

"Mothers hold the key to the well-being of their families," Inge said. "During the festive season, they should try to stay away from excessive use of oil, salt and sugar whenever they go to the kitchen."