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Sohaila Ahmed, Staff Reporter
“Break the fast at Iftar by eating three dates. The reason is that after many hours of fasting, the body needs a source of energy like simple sugars or carbohydrates that it can burn up fast for a quick burst of energy. This provides glucose to all cells, especially the brain and the nervous system.”
This was an important tip given by clinical dietitian Abeer Al Kusayer, to her audience at an interactive session titled ‘Nutrition in Ramadan: A Chance for Change’, organised recently by Fitness 180° Center at Sharjah Ladies Club (SLC).
The session was focused on providing SLC’s members and visitor’s tips on healthy diets and the importance of exercise during Ramadan. The session also discussed common diet mistakes that people make during the holy month.
Abeer Al Kusayer tips were geared towards helping people fast safely and eat a healthy and inclusive Iftar that comprises all the nutrition elements the body needs, without feeling tired or full after eating.
She recommended drinking a glass of warm water, but not so much that you feel full. Make sure to drink water at Iftar time and through Suhoor. If not, dehydration and the lack of fluids in the body could lead to constipation and increase the opportunity for formation of kidney stones. “Drink a nonacidic juice that does not have too much sugar, but not more than one glass,” she said.
Next, she recommended a bowl of soup made of fresh vegetables. It is an indispensable daily dish, given that it is easy to digest and comforts the stomach after many hours of fasting by providing the body with fluids, vitamins and minerals. It also helps avoid dehydration and constipation.
Lastly, before starting the main dish, those fasting should eat a fresh salad like Fattoush with brown or wholegrain bread, or any other salad with olive oil.
Abeer underscored that it was crucial to eat a main well-balanced meal at least 15 minutes after breaking the fast. The meal should be divided into three parts. A quarter should contain a source of carbohydrates like rice, pasta, potatoes or brown burghul. Another quarter should have protein such as chicken, fish or beef. Around half of the meal should be cooked vegetables.
Tips for Suhoor: She also recommends avoiding fried, salty, spicy and sugary food, because they increase thirst, saying, “Avoid drinking too much water at a time, especially at Suhoor.”
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