Ask Mira : Eating Right to Live Happy & Healthy

Fasting during Ramadan is a religious obligation for Muslims; it is also a detoxification process for our body, as it helps clean our digestive system, and flushes out toxins.

The concept of Ramadan, and the healthy fasting during this month, seems to be misunderstood by some people. They tend to binge on food from the minute they start eating at sunset until they stop at dawn.

The unrestrained eating is what makes people feel abdominal discomfort, constipation and weight gain. Accumulation of undigested food in the stomach can cause headache, indigestion, reflux and lack of sleep as well.

How can we get rid of that and how should we eat during this month?

Because we are fasting for more than eight hours, we need to watch out for the food we consume. Consuming more slow-digesting foods loaded with fiber, such as some vegetables, rather than fast-digesting food like juices, white bread, sweets, sugary drinks, can be a good way to start. Fast digesting food makes us feel hungry again after two to three hours of eating. In addition, many fried foods can cause heartburn, indigestion and weight gain.

Why do we tend to gain weight easily during this month, even when our food quantities are still the same as before?
When we are fasting for more than eight hours, our metabolism slows down. Introducing food after a long fasting period makes us gain weight easily. So, imagine when we eat big quantities at one shot. Our body is no longer burning enough calories, our metabolism is very low and we tend to gain a lot of weight.

So how should we break the fast to avoid all the problems mentioned before?

For iftar, start with half a cup of low-fat yogurt and two dates. Dates contain iron, magnesium, and potassium, which is perfect for dehydration.

Drink two glasses of water ( Remember, you were not drinking any liquid for hours, and your body urgently needs to replenish its water content so you need fluids)

This can be followed by one small plate of Fattoush or green salad, a small bowl of broth, or non-creamy soup.These items contain essential items your body needs and enough vitamins and minerals to compensate for the fluid loss and dehydration.These food choices are also long-digesting foods, which give us satiety for a longer time.

Now that you finished from the first food part, go pray, exercise or rest for a bit.

An hour later, eat a plate of the main meals: Tachriba, hariss, jerish, steamed rice and lean steak, chicken or fish. For dessert, you can have a piece of any sweet, but restrict this to twice a week. Instead of a sweet dish, you could eat a healthier option of a piece of fruit or a fruit salad, which are rich in fiber and vitamins. For suhoor, try not to make your main dish the suhoor meal. This meal is usually eaten very early, so the metabolism is even slower than before. Preferably take some light food for suhoor; food that does not make you feel thirsty during the day.

For example, a small plate of steamed rice and yogurt. Rice retains water in the body, (so it will not make you feel thirsty), gives you energy, and makes you feel full for a longer time. Yogurt is refreshing, and the best choice is to have the low-sodium yogurt.

Avoid salty food at suhoor, otherwise you are going to feel thirsty the whole day. Avoid sweetened juices, these contain simple sugars that are easily absorbed in the body, but it will not make you feel satisfied. Also avoid tea and coffee at night. Besides their caffeine content, which prevents sleeping, these beverages are diuretics that flush water out of your body, making you feel more dehydrated, A fruit platter at suhoor is a good option.

It contains minerals which you need to prevent dehydration. – A bowl of fooul is also a good option, add fresh tomatoes to give it a bit of piquancy. Baked potatoes topped with low- fat labneh and served with cucumbers and fresh lettuce is another great option

And of course, do not forget to drink a lot of water to compensate for the fluid loss.

Ramadan Mubarak to everyone.


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