High-fibre food holds key to a healthy iftar

With iftar food spread getting better and richer, there are few factors to be kept in mind when breaking fast, says Shabib al Kalbani, a nutrition expert. “People who have high blood pressure should be reducing their salt intake because it tends to absorb fluids and can accumulate in the lungs and other parts of the body. They also need to eat more fruits and vegetables to keep the blood pressure down. It contributes to better functioning of kidney and maintain electrolytes,” said Kalbani.
There are more reasons why we should have adequate fruits.
At the same time, it is important to stay away from the popular sweet dishes.
“Fruits and vegetables in general are high in potassium, which we need during the non-fasting hours. We need to remind people with high blood pressure to eat more fruits and try their best to stay away from the sugary stuff like ice-cream and chocolates,” said Kalbani.
Eating too much salt increases blood pressure. And that is also one reason why during Ramadhan we need to reduce salt intake by trying to modify our cooking methods.
It is better to add more spices, herbs, garlic and lemon.
When it is time to break fast some people would prefer tea or coffee. But it is better to avoid such beverages during Ramadhan as it may cause headaches because of longer fasting hours.
“I would suggest they should try to drink more water and see how that goes,” said Al Kalbani.
On coconut water Al Kalbani said, “It is a natural as well as good for anybody who wants to consume it during the non-fasting hours”.
Al Kalbani warns people over the tendency to eat fried foods, fried pies and sugary dishes.
“People who eat such foods after fasting are prone to peptic ulcer or heart burn during the day, which could be very disturbing.
During the holy month, it is better to take foods with more fibre like beans, chickpeas, pulses and lentils.
“I have noticed during my own experience that patients don’t eat enough vegetables or salad with dinner after Taraweeh prayers.I would suggest to increase the vegetable intake also during Ramadhan as they will feel much better and energetic during the day.”
It will help people to be free of lethargy during fasting.
“Oats are the best source of fibre. Shorpa (soup) or Harees have lot of fibre. People tend to dislike soups. But they should get used to it gradually,” said Al Kalbani.
“Why don’t they try to taste it first and increase the amount as they go forward and slightly reduce the intake fried foods”.
He suggests dates are a good source of potassium but at the same time diabetics should exercise caution.
“Dates are suitable for children who are eager to fast. It is part of our Islamic requirement to start with few dates and a glass of water or laban,” he said.

Hammam al Badi