During the month of Ramadan, we will be giving tips and guidelines for a healthy fasting with the help of our nutrition expert Christelle Bedrossian explaining one more aspect each time. Today’s topic is on how to break a fast in the most healthy way!
Why is it important to break a fast in an appropriate way?
- Breaking a fast is as important as having it in the first place.
- You haven’t eaten anything all day long, you need to let your digestive system work slowly again
- Heavy food will give you digestive problems
- Avoid gorging yourself when breaking the fast at sunset
What is the best way to break a fast and why?
After a long period of fasting, you need to bring your fluids and blood sugar level up without overdoing it.
- Start by drinking plenty of water, which helps rehydration and reduces the chances of overindulgence
- Break the fast with a healthy snack like dates or prunes or figs: they will provide a refreshing burst of much-needed energy; it is a nutritious burst of natural sugar (sugar/fibers/potassium)
- Fruit juices or milk will also have a similar, revitalizing effect.(fructose or lactose + water). Don’t add sugar, you can use sweetener because you will feel more hungry; use skimmed milk.
- A light vegetable soup is an option and a good starter to increase the fluid intake specially for people who don’t like to drink water
Why are dates essential to our Ramadan diet?
- Dates are an excellent source of fiber, sugar, magnesium, potassium
- Dates have very high potassium content (about 64% more than bananas).
- The soluble fibers found in dates also make the fruit a slower digesting food which will help them not overeat and increase the feeling of fullness.
What if the person has encountered health problems like low sugar during the day, how breaking the fast?
- During the period of Ramadan, when fasting lasts from sunrise to sunset, the body can develop mild health problems such as headaches, low blood sugar, and lethargy.
- To avoid such problems, one should carefully monitor their eating habits once fasting for the day has ended.
- To help normalize the problems, know what is your health problem and plan accordingly:
– Low sugar (hypoglycemia) àyou can have unsweetened juice or skimmed milk. Attention diet soft drinks won’t help. Chocolate neither because fat slower the digestion
– Lethargyà Provide the needed instant energy and hydration by having 2-3 dates and ½ cup of unsweetened juice
– Low blood pressureà hydrate with water with a pinch of salt
What to be avoided when breaking the fast?
You don’t want to start your day with
- Soft drinks and carbonated beverages
- Acidic food because your stomach is already acidic because of fasting
- Anything with a lot of plain sugar. So doughnuts, sweets or pastries would not be a good idea. It will raise your blood sugar in a very fast way like a peak and will make you more hungry
- Things that appear healthy, like some of the breakfast squares or cereal bars are more processed than they are whole grains.
- Don’t eat your whole meal in 30 minutes.
Helwi El Hayet
Follow us on Twitter: @HelwiElHayet