March 31, 2023

Breaking Your Fast the Healthy Way: A Guide to Ramadan Nutrition.

Breaking Your Fast the Healthy Way: A Guide to Ramadan Nutrition.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is mandatory for Muslims. Fasting benefits the human body in many ways, and people of all faiths and cultures participate in it. For Muslims, food and water are prohibited from the dawn prayer (Fajr) until the dusk prayer (Maghrib), which approximately takes 10-19 hours depending on where in the world you’re located. Going long periods of time without stimulating your digestive system can put a toll on your metabolism – this is why breaking your fast the right way is essential for your digestive health. 

Steps for Iftar

Step 1: Hydrate yourself. Having a glass of warm water to kickstart your metabolism is a good way to start your iftar before you have anything to eat.  Step 2: Break your fast with dates.  Dates are known to provide the necessary sugars and nutrients to kick-start your digestive system without making you feel too full. Step 3: Take it slow. A big meal right away will overload your digestive system and make it tough for your stomach to process it. Before you begin your Maghrib prayer, drink some water and eat a small number of dates. These steps will allow your stomach to process the meal smoothly after prayer.  Step 4: Limit sugar intake. Sugar overload, especially from carbonated drinks and juices, is a fast track to increased blood sugar and weight gain.  Step 5: Choose food wisely.  Choose grilled or baked foods over fried and light sauces instead of creamy, heavy ones. Limit your portions of white rice and bread. Opt for meals like soup or green salad and high-protein foods such as lean chicken, eggs and lentils. Unsaturated fats, such as avocados, fish and walnuts are also good options to include in your meals. 

In-between Iftar and Suhoor:

Avoid processed foods to curb your post-iftar cravings as these cause bloating and water retention, which will make you thirsty during the day. Instead, having nuts, yogurts, fruits and vegetables will provide you with the right nutrition and keep you well hydrated for your next fast. 

During Suhoor:

Avoid caffeine – caffeinated drinks are diuretics and can cause dehydration. The suhoor you have should provide you with 25% of your daily nutrients, so have a good mix of fibers, complex carbohydrates and protein. There are several easy and fulfilling meal options available, including eggs with vegetables, a slice of multigrain toast, sandwiches, wraps or manakeesh with greens, fattoush, chickpeas with guacamole and traditional Arabic fattoush. Make sure you avoid drinks that are high in sugar. In case of chronic illnesses, or intake of medication, consult your doctor or nutritionist for a meal plan for Ramadan.  
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