Question: What should be observed for healthy eating and drinking in Ramadan?
The answer that a physician friend of ours has given is as follows:
It is witnessed that people who have an unbalanced diet in Ramadan develop many health problems, such as lack of energy, depression, stomach ache, indigestion, and blood pressure drop. Just as it is wrong not to get up for pre-dawn meal (sahur) or to consume excess fatty foods during it, so it is wrong to overindulge and to eat a wide variety of foods when breaking the fast at dusk (iftar), to have foods that raise blood glucose levels quickly, to eat dishes fast, and not to drink water adequately. For iftar and sahur, foods that are light, rich in fiber, and vegetable-based should be preferred to foods that are heavy and fatty.
Some health tips for Ramadan are as follows:
1. Take care to prepare an iftar table that offers well-balanced foods for dietary needs.
2. Start breaking the fast with foods first that are light and contain little fat. Gorging oneself results in putting excessive strain on the empty stomach. In this case, one will have gastro-intestinal complaints, such as indigestion, heaviness in the stomach, acidity, heartburn, nausea, constipation, and swelling in the intestines. Therefore, the fast should be broken with such foods as dates, cheese, tomatoes, olives, and whole wheat bread or with such light foods as soup and vegetable dishes with meat. Providing opportunity for digestion, one, after 15-20 minutes, should continue with low-fat grilled meat, bean, vegetable dishes, salads, ayran (a yogurt-based beverage), and cacık (Turkish dish, which is made of yogurt, salt, crushed garlic, and chopped cucumber).
3. Prefer low glycemic index foods, such as bulghur pilaf, whole wheat bread, or whole wheat pasta to high glycemic index foods that give a more rapid rise in blood glucose levels, such as white bread and rice pilaf.
4. Eat slowly and chew foods well.
5. At iftar, have light dishes that are cooked by grilling, boiling, or steaming rather than deep fried and fatty dishes.
6. Prefer milk-based desserts to heavy desserts.
7. Drink 2-2.5 liters of water or beverages that contain water between sunset and dawn.
8. If you eat foods between meals, prefer fruits.
9. Consume tea and coffee one or two hours after meals because they reduce the absorption of iron.
10. Avoid smoking cigarettes at iftar before being full. Smoke it 20 minutes later at the very least. The reason is that when cells in the body wait for foods, they will instantly face a density of poisons, nicotine for one. In this case, blood clots, so the risk of a heart attack increases. Because cells immediately start carrying poison instead of oxygen, many cells, especially brain cells, die. The body sustains severe damage.
11. Do not regard dinner as sufficient for the fast of the following day. Get up for pre-dawn meal without fail and eat something, be it a little. Prefer light foods. During very long hours of hunger, blood glucose levels and blood pressure decrease. Acid secretion in the empty stomach increases. With the prolongation of hunger hours the following day, metabolic rate slows down; lack of energy and headaches emerge. Therefore, pre-dawn meal must not be skipped so as not to stay hungry during the night and the following day.
12. The amounts and varieties of foods to be eaten at sahur are very critical. As the metabolic rate slows down at sahur, (fatty and heavy) foods that are consumed at that time are mostly transformed into fats. Additionally, when one eats fatty and heavy foods and goes to sleep, one may end up with serious stomach trouble. Instead of them, one should have a meal that is light, low in fat, rich in protein to meet the daily protein needs, and contains complex sugars that do not raise blood sugar levels quickly.
A light meal that contains milk, cheese, olives, whole wheat bread, soup, tomatoes, cucumbers, chili peppers, jam or a meal that contains milk, oat flakes, and fruits is the most appropriate. Daily water need is 2-2.5 liters. As it will not be possible to drink water all day long, consume plenty of fluids at pre-dawn meal.
Bad breath and fasting
Question: My dentures cause stench. If I clean them with tooth paste when I am fasting, it is makruh. Since it is prohibited to disturb others, is it permissible for me to clean my teeth with tooth paste?
You should clean your teeth with toothpaste at sahur. If you remove your dentures, it will be possible to clean them more easily. Since no food will be consumed during the following day, you will not have stench that emanates from food remnants because of your teeth. You will have bad breath only because of hunger. To prevent it, you should clean your mouth with a miswak (a twig of certain trees used to clean teeth) thoroughly. Miswak reduces bad smell. To use a miswak after noon is makruh in the Shafi’i Madhhab. Because the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is more beautiful to Allahu ta’ala than all scents, it is considered makruh to remove this beauty. But it is not makruh in the Hanafi Madhhab. A miswak should be neither dry nor wet, but should be just moist. A new miswak will be more effective.
You can do the following at iftar and sahur:
Eating parsley is helpful in the prevention of bad breath.
Consuming fresh yogurt is beneficial as well.
Drink tea while eating a meal or after a meal.
Drinking water that has been added lemon juice removes bad breath.
Chew sugar-free gum.
Eating apples is beneficial as well.
You should gargle with salt water or baking powder.
If you put some of them into practice, you will prevent bad breath.