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Spotlight: Breaking the fast Let it be dates and milk or laban



To break the fast with dates is a valuable tradition, which is also highly regarded for its nutritional value. Dates are valued for its iron content and fibre and not to forget the energy.

However, a natural instinct is to reach out for the Kahwa. “Don’t’’, says Dr Mariam al Waili, Senior Consultant in Nutritional Medicine, Director of Supportive Services, Ministry of Health.

There seems to be a whole lot of health benefits in just these three items — from skin to digestion and pain to memory. But it is the combination that matters.

“In the Gulf countries in general there are certain habits that need to be changed such as drinking caffeine based drinks as well as soft drinks during iftar, which is not healthy as caffeine stimulates the production of acid in the stomach that can irritate some who suffer from heartburn and acidity reflux.

“In certain people the discomfort may be more noticeable on an empty stomach. Coffee and caffeine in any form is also diuretic, whereas we should be replacing the lost fluid so we need to rehydrate the body. Instead we must drink milk or water with dates to regain our energy. Even if it is tea that is being taken it will interfere with the absorption of iron present in the dates. So I do not advise anyone to take coffee or tea while breaking the fast’’, she explained.

This is Dr Mariam al Waili’s advice to people to break their fast with eating dates and drinking milk or laban (buttermilk) or water; as you know the combination of milk or buttermilk with dates is a nutritious and healthy supplement which has lots of benefits.

If people take dates with milk or laban one of the benefits is that both are rich in protein and when combined with dates they give extra protein content which provides good bone density and muscle health.

Dates and milk contain iron and regular intake of these two products they get an abundant supply of blood and stay away from anaemia. This is also good for health in general and for anyone suffering from wrinkles, acne or any other skin problem because it increases blood circulation for the face and the whole body resulting in a glowing skin. Of course it is easily digestible because it contains fibre which regulates gastrointestinal tract, easy bowel movement and digestion.

This is recommended for everyone but especially the elderly because they might suffer from constipation.

Dates and milk or laban combo can also improve memory power because it contains B6 and can provide relief from joint pain because it is rich in calcium.

According to her, while breaking the fast one might have a headache or go through tiredness and difficulty in concentration because of dehydration, so I advise people to tagular, moderate quantity of water but what is important is not to drink too much or be in a hurry while breaking the fast. It is important to consume food slowly and start with fluids, low fat and fluid rich food.

Opt for fruits and vegetables instead of the sweets and sugar. So it is after breaking the fast the body can regain the hydration and gain energy from the food and drinks consumed.

On the other hand, if we consume too much deep fried and creamy food we might end up gaining weight during Ramadhan.

Because of the changing in eating habits and lack of fluid during the day some people might suffer from constipation so when they eat in the evening they must consume high fibre food such as whole grain, high fibre cereals, fruits and vegetables, beans, lentils, dry fruits and nuts alongside plenty of fluid. This might help in the ease of constipation.

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