Assalamu alaikum waramatullahi wabarakatuhu brothers and sisters. It’s that time of the year when we anticipate the arrival of the holy month of RAMADAN.
Ramadan is a month to reap rewards nd benefits and also increase your spiritual connection. Fasting in the month of Ramadan can improve one’s health, but only if done properly, if not, it could cause more harm. The key is to remember that it is a month to increase in spiritual connection with your Lord.
Remember fasting isn’t synonymous to weight loss(for those trying to lose weight), fasting all day reduces your metabolism which means you dispense less energy and burn very little calories, so why would you want to over eat when you haven’t released what’s in your body? Eating at Sahur and Iftar is not an avenue to devour all you can possibly lay your hands on. Meals should be well balanced and contain items from each food group such as vegetables, cereal, meat, fruits and dairy products.
What you eat or choose not to during Ramadan makes a big difference to your energy levels. After fasting all day, there is often temptation to over eat and load up sugary beverages during Iftar and Sahur but you could be endangering your body system. Here are some suggestions of food to eat and avoid during sahur and iftar.
What to Eat During Sahur.
- Protein-rich Food
Protein makes up the building blocks of organs, muscles, skin, hormones and pretty much everything you need in your body is high in protein, they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, eye protection, antioxidants and brain nutrients that most people don’t get enough of. Other foods that are high in protein are chicken breast, oats, yogurt, cheese, almonds, milk, broccoli etc. They not only help you stay full for longer but can be made in several ways to suit your taste.
- Fibre-rich Food
Fibre is something the body needs but never actually digests, in fact; it remains more or less the same from plate to toilet. Skipping out on a daily dose of fibre often leads to constipation, which can make going to the bathroom painful and uncomfortable. Oat meal is rich in fibre, which is required in the body. Other foods that are high in fibre include beans, peas, broccoli, raspberries, whole wheat pasta etc. Soluble fibre turns to gel in the stomach and slows digestion which helps to lower cholesterol and blood glucose and keeps you energized throughout the day.
- Calcium and Vitamin-rich Food
The best way to get more calcium is from your diet. We probably already know that dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt contain calcium, there are other foods that are high in calcium such as spinach, okra, soya beans, white beans, salmon, sardines etc. Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk also fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolk should also be included in the diet.
What to Avoid for Sahur.
- Simple refined carbohydrate such as sugars, white flour, pastries, donuts and croissants.
- Salty foods cause an imbalance of sodium levels in the body and makes you very thirsty while fasting.
- Caffeinated drinks.
What to Eat During Iftar.
- Potassium-rich foods.
Potassium is necessary for the proper function of our body system some of its key roles includes minimizing cramps and maintaining fluid in the body. Dates are also a good source of potassium and an excellent food to break your fast. A date not only helps you hydrate quickly but gives instant energy to make you feel rejuvenated after long hours of fasting. Other foods that are high in potassium includes beans, leafy greens, potatoes, avocados, banana and yogurt.
- Sufficient fluids.
We know staying hydrated is vital to a healthy, fully functioning body. Our bodies are more than 60% water, which is responsible for transporting oxygen, fat and glucose to our muscles, as well as digesting food and getting rid of waste. When fasting you’re slowly dehydrated over the course of the day. Drink as much water or fruit juice as possible between iftar and bedtime. High temperature can also make you sweat more, so it’s important to drink fluids to replace what you’ve lost during the day. Try including fruits like watermelon, oranges, yogurt, garlic, grapefruit, lettuce, spinach, chilli peppers, cauliflower, cucumber etc. to stay hydrated all day.
- Raw Nuts.
After fasting for long hours during the day your body crave fats, raw nuts are perfect for iftar as they help you feel full and in control, throughout the need to binge. Almonds contain good fats, other nuts includes cashew, pistachio, walnut, pumpkin seed, sesame seed etc.
What to Avoid During Iftar.
- High sugar food is really bad for one’s health and it’s been linked to an increased risk of many diseases, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes etc.
- Carbonated drinks
Planning is the major key to success, plan your meals properly.