The Health Benefits of Breaking a Fast with Dates
May 4, 2018 | Najwa Taoussi
Breaking the fast is a privileged moment, when the whole family is gathered around the meal of iftar. It is a pleasure to share delicious dishes with everyone we love. However, during the month of fasting, the table is amply embellished; there is an increase in the consumption of meats and other lavish dishes. Salad, couscous, pasta… all the bad things right? Usually the table lacks healthy foods.
To throw oneself on food after several hours of fasting is to charge one's body in a brutal way—it’s not the best for your health. How can we reconcile culinary traditions and nutritional balance?
Following the path of the prophet
Prophet Muhammad, peace is upon him, used to break his fast by eating one to three dates during iftar. It has also been scientifically demonstrated that an ideal approach to breaking a fast is with dates as they are rich in fiber, natural sugar, magnesium, potassium, and other necessary key nutrients.
Start with some healthy foods: dates!
The ideal entree to break the fast with is a sweet food for fast assimilation of sugar, preferably dates with water or milk. The goal is to quench thirst, soothe feelings of hunger, regulate blood sugar, and prepare the stomach to digest the rest of the meals avoiding digestive disorders, bloating, and gastric pain.
Eat enough dates for the day
It is recommended to start eating between three to five dates at each meal. This is because dates are an immediate source of natural energy high in calories and natural sugars that help the body restore blood sugar levels after a day of fasting. Dates also contain dietary fiber, which helps digestion and prevents constipation during this period. You can also prepare recipes that include dates, such as cakes or date bars for a change.
How to incorporate dates in your Ramadan diet
It is recommended to start eating between three to seven dates during sohoor, the meal eaten at dawn, because it provides the body with enough sugar and helps it restore blood sugar levels to normal after a whole day of fasting. Headaches and dizziness occur quite regularly during Ramadan, and the cause is usually low blood sugar, which is why eating dates early in the day is highly beneficial. You can then eat some more dates during iftar and dinner.