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A Protein Powered Ramadan

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By Karimah bint Dawoud

Most of us are already aware that food is divided into three basic nutrition categories: fats, carbohydrates and proteins, but how do we balance our intake? And if proteins are our best option, what’s the best way to consume them in Ramadan?

Why Protein?

  • Proteins -more than any other category- gives us sustained energy, and can be found in a variety of foods; meat (beef, lamb, chicken, poultry, fish), diary, nuts, beans, seeds, legumes and pulses
  • Excess protein is not stored in the body.
  • Protein is essential for providing the building blocks in the body that repair and produce tissues, muscles, bones, and skins. It’s ability to build muscles is a reason that it is vouched for by body builders and promoted by the manufacturers of high-protein powders for shakes.
  • Proteins are also an essential part of the process that produces enzymes that are involved in metabolism; the way we convert food into energy.
  • Protein is the food that provides long and sustained energy instead of that short and sharp sugar high from carbohydrates (including natural sugars in fruit).
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Some nutritionists advise that individuals consume about half a gram of protein per pound of body weight.

For example (going by the formula ½ g per lbs (pound) body weight), a 160-pound person (73kgs) would need at least 80 grams of proteins per day.

Traditionally pregnant or nursing women, athletes and elderly persons require more protein. I would also add that a fasting person should eat a bit more protein that usual…BUT

The Caution

The downside of this amazing food is that all animal products produce acid. Acid causes inflammation which causes a variety of diseases, including some cancers.

Inflammatory diseases include heart burn, indigestion, hay fever, arthritis, sinusitis, periodontitis, asthma, ulcerative colitis, dermatitis, Crohns disease, hepatitis, kidney disease, and more. Signs of inflammation affect people differently. Fatigue, mouth sores/ulcers, chest pain and breathlessness, abdominal pain, fever, skin rash, joint pain, and dark-colored urine, are some of the following signs.

When you are fasting, the kidneys play a major role in that they are the organ that regulates the body’s water balance with the aid of the minerals in your body. Their job is also to help detox the body.

If the body is overloaded with protein, particularly animal protein, and not enough water and natural carbohydrates, the kidneys get overloaded and damaged by the excess protein, causing back pain and possible kidney disease.

The Solution

The solution is to eat protein as it sustains energy when fasting, but only on the condition that it needs to be balanced with water and plenty of alkaline forming foods, such as green and leafy vegetables, salads, fruits and herbs.

Not only do these alkaline forming foods neutralize the effects of the acid causes by the protein, but they also provide fibre that gives as a feeling of fullness. Fibre also helps the digestive process by removing toxins from the body via elimination, combating constipation.


Karimah is a qualified clinical nutritionist and is the author of ”Heavenly Bites, The Best of Muslim Home Cooking.” You can visit her blog, www.karimahcuisinah.com, or connect with her on Instagram at ‘the_islamic_nutritionist.’

You can read her previous post on Ramadan nutrition here.

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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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