They are a definite yes as they are a great way to replenish electrolytes lost through the day during long hours of fasting. By the end of the fast, most people would have low blood sugar levels and fresh fruits provide complex carbohydrates and fibre to help in a gradual rise of glucose levels and improved digestion. Sprinkling cinnamon powder also helps.
An absolute must as they are high in vitamin A, B6, potassium, natural sodium, iron and magnesium. A fasting person’s body has low reserves of these nutrients which dates will help replenish. The natural sugar in dates will give one the instant energy needed for evening prayers. The best part about having dates is that it also works as a mild laxative and eases constipation, which is quite common due to a sudden change in lifestyle during Ramadan.
They contain good fats which help release the sugar in dates even more slowly, keeping one feeling full up and in control, without the need to binge.
Meat, Chicken & Fish
They should be part of a healthy iftar meal. The protein content helps one feel fuller faster and for longer. One major issue most people face is losing muscle tone during Ramadan due to reduced muscle mass. Having good portions of beef, lamb, chicken or fish mostly as grills, kebabs, etc are great to ensure muscle loss does not happen.
An integral part of the diet but it is advisable to keep off white processed breads as they support a quick rise and fall in sugar levels making one hungry for more bread.
Lentils and Beans
Most under-used in iftar menus but mixed bean salad, lentil soups etc are recommended.
Low in calories, high in fibre, they give the extra dose of nutrients and aid digestion and sleep.
A litre of lemon water is good along with one-two litres of regular water. Lemon flavoured water has a positive impact on the liver, provides sufficient Vitamin C and hydrates the muscles, making one feel less tired and lethargic. Drinking too much tea will increase urine output and inevitably cause the loss of valuable mineral salts. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coke, coffee or tea four to five days before Ramadan and gradually reduce the intake of these drinks since a sudden decrease will result in headaches, mood swings and irritability.