Below are 10 top tips for healthy eating during the Fast:
1. Don’t gorge in the evenings: Large meals should be avoided because they can cause the digestive system to block after a long day of fasting. Therefore, break your fast with dates and water or juice as they contain simple sugars that can be absorbed easily by the body. Then try to have a balanced meal – soups are a good choice as they don’t stress the stomach and hydrate the body.
2. Stay off the Salt: Salty foods should be avoided as they will retain water in the body and cause discomfort.
3. Hydrate Yourself: A lack of fluids makes the body prone to dehydration and more likely to retain fats and toxins. So, drink ample quantities of water and fresh juices.
4. Eat Yoghurt: Yogurt is recommended at both meals, as it contains friendly bacteria which benefit the digestive tract. Yoghurt also helps digestion and cleanses the intestines from harmful bacteria. Also, it is a good source of calcium and protein.
5. Avoid Sugar and Grease: Fried foods and sweets should be consumed in moderation as they are full of saturated fats which raise cholesterol and adversely affect your health.
6. Get Moving:Exercise is very important during the Fast as it helps you maintain your body weight by burning the extra-calories and eliminating stress. It also has an essential role in preventing constipation.
7. Don’t Skip Breakfast: Many people tend to skip breakfast; however skipping meals will slow down your metabolism and lead to fatigue and distress. For Suhoor, try to choose foods that contain protein, complex carbohydrates and high-fibre foods such as wheat, oats, beans, whole grain bread, vegetables and seasonable fruits.Fibers and proteins take a long time to be digested so you won’t feel hungry.
8. Avoid Tea and Coffee: Tea, Coffee and carbonated beverages remove calcium from your body. It is therefore recommended that you avoid them especially at breakfast, as they increase salt and water excretion which your body needs during fasting.
9. Don’t neglect Protein: Consumption of protein is important in order to prevent muscle wasting; vegetarians should consider this when choosing non-animal protein sources.
10. Finish with Fruit: Intake of fruits after a meal is highly beneficial and provides the body with nutrients. Fasting could be effective in treating of moderate (non-insulin) diabetes, obesity and hypertension as the process lowers the blood sugar levels, cholesterol and the systolic blood pressure.
Nathalie Haddad, leading Dietician and Managing Director of Right Bite cautions: “It is highly important to eat moderately and focus on well-balanced and low-fat meals during the Fast. A light, healthy breakfast, one that is high in complex carbohydrates and fiber, will help prevent tiredness, poor concentration, dizziness and headaches. At dinner, it is important to consume food from all five groups with minimum fat content and to control portion sizes in order to avoid weight gain.”
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