Fasting during Ramadan and festive meals in moderation provide unique opportunities to reconnect with our bodies, as well as our faith and minds. How can the two be balanced out for best results? These four pointers show the way.
1. Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water helps in regulating body temperature, keeps joints lubricated, prevent infections, delivers nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Your body needs at least two litres of water daily, which is equivalent to about 8-10 glasses of water. So, spread this out to drink water every hour after iftar and before you go to bed and after you wake up.
2. Plan ahead
Planning and preparing your meals beforehand can really save on time and energy. Cooking the day before greatly helps. Keep your meal more balanced, which will help your blood sugar remain most stable, while also also providing you with requisite energy. Try some of these simple yet nutritious foods to include in your suhoor:
● A banana avocado smoothie made out of almond milk
● A peanut butter sandwich on wholegrain bread and a glass of low-fat milk
● Wholewheat couscous salad with mixed vegetables, olive oil and lebneh or boiled eggs
● Overnight oatmeal made with low-fat milk and topped with fruit and nuts and seeds
If you work out before breaking your fast, it’s important to supplement immediately with fast-digesting proteins and possibly carbs. Whey protein is a great option for breaking your fast, before starting your main meal. BCAAs or an essential amino acid drink works just as well if you’re avoiding dairy
3. Things to avoid
Excessively spicy, deep fried foods and processed meats are a no-no as they tend to take a longer time to digest. These types of foods can also cause heartburn and indigestion. Avoid all sugary beverages, sodas and soft drinks, bottled juices, ice creams and fizzy drinks as well as these will leave one more thirsty. Salty foods should be avoided too as they can imbalance sodium levels in the body. Additionally, do not have caffeinated drinks as they can cause insomnia and restlessness. Also, tea and coffee can make you feel dehydrated and keep you longing for water.
4. Supplement your diet
In order to keep your body and immune system in the best possible condition while fasting, it might be helpful to take some supplements and vitamins alongside your daily meals.With iftar, take digestive enzymes, ginger or psyllium husk to support digestion and absorption. They also aid in relieving bloating.
If you work out before breaking your fast, it’s important to supplement immediately with fast-digesting proteins and possibly carbs. Whey protein is a great option for breaking your fast, before starting your main meal. BCAAs or an essential amino acid drink works just as well if you’re avoiding dairy.
At suhour consider a natural multivitamin with minerals that will further benefit your health.
— The writer is Senior Clinical Dietician, Aster Hospitals UAE