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Life in the fast lane: The suhoor and iftar meals
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Life in the fast lane: The suhoor and iftar meals

Learn from experts if the choices you make for ‘suhoor’ (4am meal) and ‘iftar’ (sunset snack) are working for your body when you fast or do you need to improvise
The suhoor and iftar meals are the most crucial meals
It is crucial to start your day and break your fast with the right foods

The suhoor and iftar meals are the two most crucial meals for your body when you fast. Suhoor as a meal should hydrate the body, build energy and provide enough fiber to the body for a feeling of fullness as well as support digestion throughout the day. While iftar should replenish the body with fluids and restore energy without overburdening the digestive system. But are the foods that you consume during these two meals helping your body hold the fort during the fasting?

Happiest Health connected with Fiza Sait, a senior dietitian from Apollo 24/7 and Dr Soumita Biswas, chief nutritionist from Aster RV Hospital, Bengaluru to get a peek into what happens inside your body when you eat certain foods. 

For Suhoor

Chapatis and meat/egg- Protein & carbohydrate combo

Proteins take a longer time to digest than carbs. So, combining them delays the digestion in the stomach and consequently the absorption in the intestines. This slows down the rate of sugar entering the blood keeping the sugar levels stable and prevents sugar level fluctuation (spikes and crashes).

Burgers and sandwiches

The buns and breads, made with refined grains have a high glycemic index which can spike and crash sugar levels rapidly, giving you hunger pangs. They lack fiber which is important to soothe your stomach. They also lack vitamins and minerals which keep you energetic throughout the day. Moreover, fatty meat and processed sauces increase cholesterol and sodium levels making you feel very uncomfortable and lethargic during fasting.

Spicy and fried food

Though you consume a lot of calories through spicy and fried foods, they burden the digestive system as they are difficult to digest. They cause inflammation, acidity, bloating, flatulence, stomach pain and diarrhea.

Cornflakes and milk

Milk should be consumed cold during suhoor. Hot/warm milk burdens the digestive system and causes disturbances. Cornflakes are again simple sugars that can cause your sugar levels to spike and crash suddenly making you feel hungry throughout the day.

Curd

Curd is a probiotic that not only aids in digestion but adding it to suhoor and iftar meals ensures that you get a healthy dose of proteins, calcium, vitamin B12, zinc and potassium. It keeps your immunity level high. 

Oats

The soluble fiber promotes a feeling of fullness by delaying the stomach emptying and triggering the release of peptide YY, a fullness hormone that prevents overeating. Additionally, oats are a good source of vitamins, iron, magnesium and zinc. They add to your protein intake when consumed with milk instead of water.

Nuts

Nuts are full of necessary fats, fibers and nutrients. They are a great inclusion in the suhoor and iftar meals for energy and a sense of fullness.

Vegetables

By eating them for breakfast, you’re including your important servings and getting more fiber and nutrients to boost your day. Moreover, you can cut down on unwanted calories by filling up on these plant based foods.

Fasting diet: some 4am foods that can help keep you going through the day

For Iftar

Buttermilk

Buttermilk not only soothes the stomach but also hydrates the body after long hours of fasting.

Coconut water

Coconut water remains a favorite for hydration and replenishes the electrolytes lost during the fasting hours.

Soup

The body breaks down muscle tissue to get the protein it needs. Hence, a broth with easily digestible proteins can be a good option. Alternatively, a vegetable soup can nourish the body with vitamins and minerals.

Dates

Dates are simple sugars that give your body the instant energy it requires after breaking your fast.

Freshly cut fruits/ whole fruit

Fruits start losing their nutritional value after being cut due to oxidation. Hence, consume only freshly cut fruits (cut within an hour) after breaking your fast to benefit from them. Carrying a whole fruit is a good option.

Idlis

Idlis provide easily digestible proteins and carbohydrates. They are light on your digestive system, when it is not ready for heavy foods immediately after breaking the fast.

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