Food for Fasting.

September 6, 2008

I must admit that for the past couple of days of Ramadan my stomach has started to growl almost 3 or 4 hours after suhoor. I figured there is something wrong with my foods of choice at suhoor time, so I decided to do a bit of research and thought that I might share what I learned with the rest of you so that you might benefit as well.

A normal meal for me at suhoor time consists of a slice of toast, a cup of tea and some fruits or maybe fruit juice and a glass of water. It sounds healthy and seems like a good choice of food, but its probably not the best choice for suhoor, actually it might work better at iftar time. The best items for fasting from that list are the Toast and the water. Tea increases muscle contractions in the bladder and can increase urination thus putting an individual at risk for dehydration and kidney stones. While fruits and juice are good, they are simple carbohydrates and are readily digested leaving you at a deficit of sugar in your system early in the fast. Bread is a complex carb, but perhaps one slice isn’t enough. Finally, you can’t ever go wrong with water.

So what should you eat and when should you eat it?

I found an article titled Fasting during Ramadan: a Muslim pharmacist’s perspective . In this article, he suggests eating a meal high in complex carbohydrates during suhoor. Complex carbohydrates are slowly digested and help keep your body going for longer periods of time, especially while fasting.

Foods high in complex carbohydrates:

  • Potatoes
  • Brown rice
  • Pasta
  • Barley
  • Bran
  • Whole grain breads
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Wheat
  • Lentils
  • Beans

Eating excessive amounts of food during Iftar time is highly discouraged. While you are fasting, your body’s metabolism slows down in order maintain efficient utilization of body fat. Introducing large amounts of fatty foods at iftar time will not only shock your body but will likely result in that post-Ramadan gut. Besides, excessive eating goes against the sunnah – remember: 1/3 food, 1/3 water, 1/3 air.

Refined carbohydrates and/or simple carbohydrates are recommended to be eaten at iftar time because they are readily digested and can help restore blood sugar levels after a long day of fasting. Foods high in refined carbohydrates are your baked goods, that is anything containing sugar and flour.

Foods that contain simple carbohydrates:

  • Your baked goods (my favorite are chocolate chip cookies)
  • Juices (these are also good to restore hydration, along with water)
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Other really sweet fruits
  • Dates

Dates not only are a good source of sugar, but they also provide other nutrients as well such as fiber (to aid in digestion), potassium, magnesium and provide many essential vitamins. Its no wonder dates are highly recommended for breaking one’s fast.

Foods high in spice and high in sugar are not recommended as they may cause indigestion and heart burn. Low impact exercise is recommended during Ramadan in order to keep the mind and body healthy (see: Ramadan & Exercising).

For more information:
Fasting during Ramadan: a Muslim pharmacist’s perspective

Nutrition Data

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One Response to “Food for Fasting.”

  1. Umarah said

    I wish I read this BEFORE ramadan 🙂

    Thanks for the artie.

    🙂 Umarah

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