A guide to healthy fasting

If you are not careful, food eaten during the pre-dawn and sunset meals can cause some weight gain.

Dr. Razin Maheroff, an anesthesiologist from the University of Oxford, says that feasting during non-fasting hours can be unhealthy. He recommends that you approach fasting with discipline, otherwise you may miss the opportunity to lose weight and be well.

“The main message behind Ramadan is self-discipline and self-control,” he says. “This should not fall apart in the end.”

A balanced diet

Those who fast should eat at least two meals a day, one meal before dawn (dawn) and one meal at sunset (breakfast).

Dr. Maheroff says that your food consumption should be simple and not very different from your regular diet. It should contain foods from all major food groups:

   Fruits and vegetables

Bread, grains and potatoes

Meat, fish or alternatives

Milk and dairy products

• Foods containing fat and sugar

Complex carbohydrates are foods that help release energy slowly during long fasting hours. They are found in foods such as barley, wheat, oats, corn, semolina, beans, lentils, whole wheat flour and long-grain rice.

Foods rich in fiber are also slowly digested and include bran, grains, whole wheat, grains and seeds, potatoes with their skin on, vegetables like green beans and almost all fruits, including apricots, peaches and figs.

Foods to avoid are hard-to-process and fast-burning foods that contain refined carbohydrates (sugar and white flour), and fatty foods as well (for example cakes, cookies, chocolate, and sweets such as baklava).

It is also a good idea to avoid caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee and cola. Caffeine is a diuretic and stimulates faster water loss through urination.

Helpful foods

The pre-dawn meal should be a healthy, moderate meal that feels full and provides enough energy for several hours.

“The suhoor should be light and include slow-digesting food such as Arabic bread, salad, grains (especially oatmeal) or toasted bread so that you have a steady release of energy,” says Dr. Harouf.

“It is important to drink some fluids that contain vitamins, such as fruit juice or fruit. Some people drink isotonic drinks (such as lochosad) to replace any lost salts.”

It is customary for Muslims to break the fast (breaking the fast) with some dates, according to the Prophet’s traditions.

The dates will provide an energy boost. Fruit juices will also have the same stimulating effect. Start by drinking plenty of water, which aids in rehydration and reduces the chances of overeating. Avoid special rich dishes that traditionally celebrate fasting.

Foods to avoid

Fried foods such as samosas and ponds.

Foods high in sugar and foods high in fat, including sweets like baklava and kunafa.

Cooked foods high in fat.

Healthy alternatives

Samosas and baked ponds.

Grilled or baked meat and poultry.

• Home made pastry using only one layer.

• Desserts and custard with milk, such as pudding.

Cooking methods to be avoided

Deep frying

• Frying

Excessive use of oil

Healthy cooking methods

Light frying (usually little difference in taste)

Baking or grilling is healthier and helps preserve the original taste and flavor of food, especially chicken and fish.