Fasting is a special time of spiritual reflection, increased devotion, worship and abstention from eating and drinking during specific fasting times is imperative.
It essential for individuals fasting during the summer months to maintain their energy levels, stay hydrated and aim to have a healthy and balanced meal before and after their fast.
Below are some tips on how you can fast safely, optimise your nutritional status and energy.
1. Include protein in your meals before you fast
Foods high in protein can increase satiety (make you feel fuller) than foods high in carbohydrates or fat. During fasting hours, it is not uncommon to feel hungry but eating protein rich foods like chicken, yoghurt, turkey, fish and peanuts can help you feel fuller for longer.
2. Be Fibre-focused
Fibre-rich foods can have the same effect as foods high in protein, in terms of enhanced satiety. Adding high-fibre foods in your diet such as wholegrain bread, beans, lentils, oatmeal, flaxseeds, fruits and vegetables may also advance feelings of fullness.
3. Consider taking multivitamins
During the fasting season, it may be hard to ensure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals your body needs to maintain its bodily function. Thus, taking a multivitamin supplement can help provide you with essential vitamins and minerals that you may be missing from not eating regular whole foods. Furthermore, taking multivitamins may also help to increase your energy levels too.
4. Adequate fluid intake
As the days are getting hotter it is important to ensure that you are getting enough fluids when you have broken your fast to hydrate your body. Drinking water should be your number one aim – as it provides hydration without any extra calories or added sugars. It is best to drink water steadily and constantly from the time you have broken your fast to the time before you are about to fast again.
There are other food and drinks that can contribute towards your fluid intake, such as fruit juices or smoothies, milk, soups and fruits. Having said this, Fruit juice and smoothies are healthy choices (one 150ml serving counts towards your 5 A DAY) but drinking too much can damage teeth so it is best to stick with one serving.
5. Nutrient-dense foods
When you have finished fasting it is essential that you are making healthy food choices and opting for nutrient-dense foods. The Eatwell guide can be used as a tool to help you achieve a healthy and balanced diet. Avoid consuming deep-fried foods, high-sugar and high-fat foods as they do not provide much nutrients and are not beneficial for your physical health. You can adapt your cooking methods to make your food healthier. For instance you can grill or bake your food to help retain the taste and original flavour of the food instead of frying it.