One of the important aspects of fasting is when you “break your fast”. After 12 – 16 or more hours of depriving your body of food and drink over a number of days, your stomach has shrunk and your intestine is more idle.
Our body is in resting mode, so food must be re-introduced very slowly so that you can avoid digestive distress. Eating healthier food at this point is imperative. Watch this video describing the effect a fast has on your body
So before you begin eating after a long day of fasting, there are 2 things to remember:
Focus on foods that have high water content to rehydrate your body
Focus on foods that are easily digestible for your resting body
Here are 10 healthy eating steps after a fast:
1. Begin with dates and water
The Prophet (SAW) said, that when one of you is fasting, he should break his fast with dates; but if he cannot get any, then (he should break his fast) with water, for water is purifying. Dates are a superfood. They are easily digested and allow your body to take in its many health benefiting phytonutrients and vitamins. Copper, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin provide their own unique preventive and healing functions. Next, continue with a glass of water to quench your thirst.
Have a sweet tooth?
2. Fruits are a plus
Try putting a few cuts of watermelon through a juicer to make a refreshing drink. This pure fruit drink is high in water content and delicious too!
3. Avoid Fibrous Fruits
When making your special mix of fruits, avoid lemons, oranges and pineapples. Fibrous fruits such as these, are harder for the body to digest and the acid can cause discomfort.
4. Veggie soups are a great idea
Are you tired and weak after a fast and want something that doesn’t require too much chewing? Try a savory, fulfilling bowl of soup. Soups are a great way to restore the necessary water balance. Vegetable soups are best because of their stimulating and health qualities.
5. Eggs will give you a boost
Eggs are easy to digest, easy to prepare and a very easy way to replenish your body with the much-needed protein your body needs. One egg contains 9 essential amino acids and 6 grams of protein to keep you going.
6. Add some steamed or raw veggies
Steamed veggies are always yummy especially with a little bit of cheese melted on them. If you are preparing a soup, toss in some veggies and let it cook just a bit. Otherwise cut up raw veggies for dipping into hummus or yogurt as a tasty treat. Veggies allow your body to easily assimilate and start your digestive system going without making it work too hard and are filled with beneficial nutrients. They also have a high water content and are easily digested. The top 4 veggies with high water content are, cucumber, lettuce, zucchini and celery.
7. Limit your intake of meats, dairy products, fried foods, fats and oils
In comparison to many other foods, meat can be difficult to digest because it is a protein-dense animal muscle. The sugar lactose found in most dairy products make it difficult to digest. Lactose that is not digested properly will cause gas and bloating. If too much is consumed, it will cause diarrhea.
If you love your hot chocolate or need some milk in your coffee, try adding lactose free milk instead.
Cheeses and yogurt are okay to consume because they don’t contain any lactose. Fatty foods and fried foods cause the same problems. Consuming too much can stimulate contractions in the digestive tracts which slow down digestion and can cause constipation.
8. Yogurt is wonderful
To help you digest food easily add probiotics into your diet. Yogurt is a great source of probiotics. Why not try my favorite easy to make yogurt shake: In a mixer/ juicer add the following:
- 1 peeled cucumber cut up
- ½ cup of plain yogurt
- 4-5 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon of dried mint
- A pinch of salt to taste
Mix well and store in the refrigerator to chill. Good for 4 servings.
9. Chew your food well and slowly
When you excercise your jaw (by chewing many times before swallowing), you introduce saliva to the small food particles. This mixture results in efficient digestion and avoids churning in the stomach that can cause heartburn.
10. Too many variety of foods is not good
I know how tempting it can be at an iftar potluck, or remembering your childhood memories of the elaborate iftars, where there were many different and delectable dishes to choose from. But take it easy and remember; “less is best– on you and your stomach!”
Remind yourself of the sunnah if health reasons are not enough. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) emphasized the habit of eating less as a method of preventing sickness and disease. He (PBUH) said:
“Nothing is worse than a person who fills his stomach. It should be enough for the son of Adam to have a few bites to satisfy his hunger. If he wishes more, it should be: One-third for his food, one-third for his liquids, and one-third for his breath.” – Tirmidhi & Ibn Majah
I hope you enjoy your fasts in these blessed days, and may it be easy for you to follow a healthy diet throughout this month. You’ll reap the benefits for months to come, because besides feeling good, after about 30 days, you will have formed a healthy habit of eating as well, Inshallah!