Fasting during Ramadan can improve a person’s health, but if the correct diet is not followed, it can possibly worsen it!
The deciding factor is not fasting, but rather what is consumed during iftar. To fully benefit from the fasting period, a person should spare a great deal of thought to the type and quantity of food they will indulge in.
Focus on Complex carbohydrates which will help release energy slowly during long fasting hours. Complex carbohydrates are found in grains and seeds, barley, wheat, oats, millets, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour, basmati rice, and others. Buckwheat is an excellent replacement for rice as it is higher in nutrients and healthier in general.
Make sure you are incorporating Fiber-rich foods which are also digested slowly and include bran, cereals, whole wheat, grains and seeds, green vegetables, and fruits.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables can be hydrating as well – especially watermelon, grapefruit, melons, berries tomatoes cucumber courgettes and lettuce.
Do not miss the Dates! No, they are not high in sugar unless you are planning to eat the entire box! Dates are important because they are packed with magnesium, potassium and fiber. They aid in replenishing mineral stores after long hours of no food. So, make sure to consume dates in moderation.
Push your fluid and water intake to the recommended 1-2 liters per day. (So, it is advisable to break your fast with a glass of water, and set a goal to drink about two to three large glasses of water in the evenings and during pre-dawn meals.)
Limit sweets to weekends. The sweets that are common during Ramadan contain large amounts of sugar syrup. On regular days, soothe your cravings for sweets with some yogurt and honey, fruits, and desserts prepared in a healthy way. And again, moderation is key!
Frying is not recommended
Rather than frying, try steaming, baking or stir-frying in a small amount using coconut oil. New air fryers are amazing these days!
Do not skip suhur! And make sure to include good fats in your suhur such as avocado raw nuts or unsalted olives as a side dish as these foods will help you feel fuller for longer hours.
Skip simple sugars such as desserts, cakes, and jams for suhur. They will cause a crash in your blood sugar and thus make you feel tired.
Avoid foods high in salt
Foods high in salt will make you feel thirsty during fasting hours. Examples include olives and pickles, snack foods, salty cheeses, or ready-made crackers
Protein is the building block needed to help with building and maintaining muscle and tissue in our bodies. It also helps us to feel full. Make sure to add to every meal: chicken breast, seafood, or grass-fed meat, yogurt and eggs.
Be careful with caffeine
Remember, caffeinated drinks include tea, coffee, and cola. Caffeine is a diuretic and stimulates faster water loss which will induce more hunger signals during fasting hours, not to mention dehydration.
Pace your eating
Eat slowly, and in amounts appropriate to your needs. Big meals cause heartburn and discomfort. Eating fast after long hours of fasting may also cause indigestion.
Remember that Ramadan can push your willpower to the limit! With each day that you fast, you realize you can do it if you are determined enough. This makes you begin to think about other things you could give up. Do you have any bad habits you would like to break? Perhaps your ability to fast will give you the motivation you need to give up one of your bad habits.