This is the period where our dear muslim friends, family and colleagues fast for a period of time. Fasting during Ramadan, a holy month of Islam, is an obligatory duty for all healthy adult Muslims and its duration varies between 29 and 30 days. Its timing changes with respect to seasons. Depending on the geographical location and season, the duration of the daily fast may range from a few to more than 20 hours.
Muslims who fast during Ramadan must abstain from eating, drinking, use of oral medications, and smoking from predawn to after sunset; however, there are no restrictions on food or fluid intake between sunset and dawn. Most people consume two meals per day during this month, one after sunset, referred to in Arabic as Iftar (breaking of the fast meal), and the other before dawn, referred to as Suhur (predawn).
Now the question is, what food or fluid intake do one use to break or start this fasting?
As we know, fasting is not meant to create excessive hardship on the Muslim individual. Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder which may place one at high risk for various complications if the pattern and amount of meal and fluid intake is markedly altered.
Due to loss of energy, weakness and dehydration. Most people rush for food that contains carbohydrate. Foods like rice, yam, spaghetti etc, inorder to gain their strength back.
This is not right, it only increases blood sugar which makes one restless and dizzy, which only makes matter worse.
So how can we live healthy, during this fasting period?
1.) Water should be the first intake as soon as one wants to break fast. We must ensure we take as much as possible throughout the evening till dawn. It will help the circulation of blood in ones system, reduce dehydration and cleanse it. Avoid drinks with caffeine.
2.) Start meal with fruits. Fruits like watermelon, oranges, blueberries-Blueberries are awesome choice. They are packed with dietary fiber, vitamin C, and flavonoids. Flavonoids are phytonutrients and help to boost ones immune system and fight off infection. They could also help fight off bad cholesterol and keep the heart and arteries healthy
Grapefruits-They are packed with antioxidants, especially in the ruby red variety. It lowers bad cholesterol by 20% and triglycerides by 17%.
3.) Take in enough protein. Due to not eating anything for over 17-20hrs, the body will be feeding on itself. So there is need to rebuild this areas. Source of protein that will be good includes;
Tofu-Even if not a vegetarian, tofu is a great product to integrate in diet. It is made from soy, which is high in niacin, folate, zinc, potassium, iron, and the fatty acid alpha-linolenic. This can turn into the hugely beneficial omega-3 fatty acid
Beans-Beans are a great alternative because they are high in fiber and protein. They are also packed with vitamins and minerals like folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
Also, other meals like brown rice, amala (instead of yam flour try plaintain flour), wheat flour( easily digested), non-starchy vegetables, fish, skinless chicken etc.
While the iftar meal is a celebration time, try not to overeat. Keep sensible portions in mind and follow the same guidelines for healthy eating done during the rest of the year with emphasis on whole grains, lean sources of meat, fish and poultry and small amounts of heart healthy fats.
This Article is written by Damilola Shobiye a Student of Nutrition and Dietetics from Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria.