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Friday, August 19, 2011

7 Productive Tips for Iftar by Nasmeera Firdous

Breaking the fast with the right type of foods is crucial to keeping your body strong and healthy. While some people resort to junk foods (due to their convenience), others try to fill their stomach with countless varieties of dishes in order to make up for not eating the whole day. While the former is detrimental to the body and does more harm than good, the latter option of feasting also becomes detrimental to your mind and soul.

It is important to feed our bodies with the right type of foods, ensuring that we do not overdo it by binging during iftar.

So, here are 7 tips to consider for iftar:

1. Break your fast with dates and a glass of water

Dates are great for iftar because they provide a concentrated source of sugar and nutrients. Most importantly, it was the practice of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) to break the fast with dates.

Sulaiman ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) said: “If one of you is fasting, he should break his fast with dates. If dates are not available, then with water, for water is purifying.” (Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi)

2. Consume carbohydrate-dense foods

Whole grains and cereals, and foods like these, provide the necessary calories and sugars that the body has been deprived of for the entire day. Use brown bread for preparing sandwiches. You can also consume pastas given their easy method of preparation. They provide wholesome nutrients, numerous vitamins and are good sources of fiber (which helps regulate bowel movements, and prevent constipation).

3. Do not binge during iftar

Your digestive system will take time to accept foods after being deprived of calories for an entire day, so remember to take it easy. Overeating could lead to gastrointestinal problems; a sudden intake of foods will force your stomach to produce numerous enzymes all at once, causing discomfort. Therefore, remember to eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. Moreover, it is not Islamically healthy to overeat.

4. Incorporate liquids and consume more fluids

Drink sufficient quantities of water to prevent dehydration. Water will help flush out toxins and aid digestion. In addition, fresh fruit juices are excellent sources of sugars, vitamins and minerals. You can also consume chicken soups or stews; these are rich in protein, which helps in building tissue or muscle mass and prevents the body from getting exhausted easily. Soups are also a good source of nutrients and electrolytes which help prevent exhaustion and dehydration.

5. Avoid oily/fried foods

These take a longer time for digestion and make you feel full, but do not necessarily nourish you or provide nutrients. They are not an ideal option to consider for iftar (or in general). However, if you must, consume small portions at dinner time.

6. Hasten to break your fast

This isn’t so much a tip about what to break your fast with, but when to break your fast. Breaking the fast on time is an important aspect of Ramadan as delaying it unnecessarily is not recommended.

Sahl ibn Sa`d (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The people will not cease to be upon good as long as they hasten in breaking the fast.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

7. Share the iftar meal

You can increase your blessings by providing iftar meals to your neighbors, relatives, the needy – any Muslim who is fasting!

Our Prophet (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “He who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive the same reward as him, except that nothing will be reduced from the fasting person’s reward.” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, at-Tirmithi, Ibn Hibban, Sahih)

Fasting during the month of Ramadan gives us numerous opportunities to control our nafs, discipline our hearts and souls, helping us become more obedient towards Allah, the Exalted. It is also a time to look after and discipline our bodies. The take-home message is avoid binging during iftar but at the same time, make sure that your body is getting the right type of nutrients in the right amounts to prevent dehydration, exhaustion, fatigue or discomfort.

May the fasting break their fasts in your homes, and may your meals and homes be blessed. Ameen.

So which foods do you incorporate into your Ramadan diet to help maintain your productivity?

About the Author
Nasmeera Firdous is enthusiastic about eating healthy for a happy living and likes to write articles that would help people understand how they can lead a productive life by eating the right type of foods. She has undertaken postgraduate studies in Nutrition and Health.


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