Fasting: Are You Doing It All Wrong?

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Fasting is associated with an array of health benefits, and to get full advantage of the detoxification that can happen to your body throughout the month it is important to maintain healthy habits from iftar all the way to suhoor. Today, we bring you a few simple tips that you can easily incorporate into your existing iftar routine to help your body optimally absorb the nutrients you are giving it when you sit down to break your fast.

1. 2-3 Dates
Dates will give you a boost of energy, and provide the body with much needed fiber, potassium, magnesium and B vitamins when breaking your fast. Being an easily digestible source of carbohydrates, dates are not too hard on your fasting stomach and help ‘wake up’ your digestive system slowly.

2. Start with Soup
Soup comforts the stomach after a long day of fasting, replenishes your body with fluids and helps prepare the digestive system for your meal. Lentil Soup is perfectly loaded with vegetables and plant protein from the lentils to provide a nourishing start to your iftar meal.

3. Salad Bowl
A hearty salad bowl at iftar before you start your main meal is one of the best ways of maintaining your weight throughout Ramadan. We know how hungry you will be after fasting for so long, so it’s important to fill up on healthy foods before reaching for the other treats at the daily dinner table.

4. Don’t Overload Your Body with Water
It is important to have one glass of water when you break your fast to make sure you are re-hydrating your body as soon as possible. However, overloading your body with too much water as soon as you break your fast can lead to indigestion and upset stomach by throwing off your digestive enzymes in your stomach. Remember, it’s important to hydrate with foods as well as liquids from iftar to suhoor.

5. Avoid Ramadan Drinks at Iftar
As delicious as they are, Ramadan drinks are often overloaded with sugar and will fill you up at iftar without providing much nutritional benefits. Also, overindulging in sweet foods or juices at iftar will increase your cravings for dessert later on in the evening. If you’re craving a sweet option to break your fast, stick to dates and water instead of a sugary juice.

6. Take it Slow
Ramadan is all about being mindful, in every aspect of your life, and this without a doubt includes food. If we eat slowly and take breaks in between bites we can become more aware of these signals and know when enough is enough. It takes 20 minutes for your body to send signals to your brain that it is full, so don’t be afraid to take your time when eating and take breaks in between your servings and meals. To know more, read about mindful eating here.

Donia Hilal is a certified nutritionist with a degree in Nutrition from King’s College London. Her work focuses on women’s health in the Middle East, wellness, weight loss, and optimal pre- and post-natal nutrition. Passionate about real food and evidence based nutrition advice, Donia welcomes and enjoys guiding clients throughout every stage of their journey towards a healthier, happier life.

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