It's that time of year again, Ramadhān. Ramadhān isn't a month for stuffing our faces with food at the time of Iftār. Ramadhān is the month in which Allāh Almighty has taught us to discipline and restrict ourselves from the basic necessities of our day to day lives like eating for example, in order to overcome our desires. No, I don't mean starving ourselves for the whole day, rather we should minimise our eating habits to at least 2 times a day i.e Suhoor and Iftār.
During the fast our body uses the glucose which is stored in the liver to produce energy. Thereafter the body will start to break down the fats of the body to produce energy. Thus we need to eat foods which will help us stay energised throughout the day. The majority of us have the perception that heavy foods will help us get through the day. Heavy foods as we know can be harmful to the health and solely relying on them will give you a temporary burst of energy, leaving you to feel lethargic much quicker. We need to strike a balance in our diet and opt for healthier alternatives.
Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal should be filling and wholesome, providing enough energy for the fast. It is important to try and include slow energy releasing foods during Suhoor. For Iftār, the evening meal at sunset, we should break our fast with dates according to the prophetic traditions. Dates provide a refreshing burst of energy as do fruit juices. Upon breaking our fast our meal should be enough to satisfy our hunger (with light food) but more importantly keep us uplifted and strengthen us for the Taraweeh prayer.
Water plays a vital part in our lives. Yet many of us do not drink enough water and instead reach out for sugary and soft drinks. Lack of water can cause dehydration leading to headaches, dizziness, constipation and dry skin. We should try and drink 8 glasses of water a day. Drinking fresh fruit juices can also help replenish thirst as well as provide energy for the body.
There are a variety of healthy foods mentioned in the Holy Qur’ān as well as, narrated through Prophetic tradition (as listed below). The Qur’ān is essentially our way of life thus we should take the words of Allāh Almighty regarding these foods and incorporate them into our diet, for there is barakah (blessings) in such foods.
This article first featured in the seventh issue of An Nasiha Quarterly