The holy month of Ramadan is here and I would like to give some insight on what our body needs for to get through the day. 

Fasting for 12 to 24 hours or more can lead to dizziness, fatigue and a lowering of metabolic rate as a means of conserving calories for energy. Let’s take a look at what exactly the body does during a fasted state… 

Due to the lack of glucose (carbohydrates) consumed, the liver converts glycogen stores into glucose and energy. The brain and the central nervous system need direct glucose, so they must get it either from the breakdown of proteins or fatty acids (fat). The body resists breaking down the proteins, so fatty acids, after being converted into ketones, become the primary source of energy. Ketosis is subdued by drinking plenty of fruit juices, which provide simple carbohydrates for energy and cellular functioning.

With that said, carbohydrates are number one, then fat, and finally proteins! Our bodies need at least 40 different nutrients every day to ensure that we grow adequately and maintain good health. Although most foods contain more than one nutrient, no single food provides all the necessary nutrients. 
Carbohydrates are now classified according to their glucose response or glycemic index (GI). The GI measures how fast the carbohydrate of a particular food is converted to glucose and enters the bloodstream. It therefore tells you which carbohydrate foods satisfy hunger for longer.

The lower the number of the GI, the slower the food is converted to sugar and the better it is. Selecting low GI foods therefore helps maintain normal blood sugar control, minimizes hunger pangs and satisfies appetite without providing excess calories.

Also, by controlling blood sugar levels, you prevent excessive eating binges as a result of low blood sugar levels. Remember to include low GI foods at each meal, and to avoid eating high GI foods on their own, but rather to mix them with low GI foods, which will give an intermediate GI overall.

Eating a breakfast at suhoor keeps the metabolism rates high, here is some insight: 

Fruits and vegetables (carbohydrates) are always a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals–and many of them also have a low glycemic index. One medium orange has a glycemic index of 42, while raw apples and pears have a glycemic index of 38. Cherries, grapefruit, peaches, plums and dried apricots all have a low glycemic index, but canned fruits in syrup are higher. Vegetables typically have a very low glycemic index, with celery, cucumber, green beans, lettuce, broccoli and asparagus all having a glycemic index of only 15. Baked potatoes are a little higher, with one medium potato having a glycemic index of 76.

Dr. Ayesh recommends bran, wholewheat grains and seeds. Whole grains are generally the healthier way to go, and they have a lower glycemic index than their white counterparts. Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids and carries a low-medium index of 53. Brown rice is a low glycemic index food at only 55 per cup; whole-wheat spaghetti is even better with a glycemic index of 37 per cup. White versions are still low to moderate, as white spaghetti and white rice all have a glycemic index of 64 or less. The longer you boil white spaghetti, the more it reduces the glycemic index. Pearled barley, pumpernickel bread and rye bread are also low glycemic index foods. 
Dairy foods can have a high glycemic index, but choosing low-fat or non-fat options can help decrease that number. Opt for skim milk for a healthy, low glycemic index dairy option–8 ounces has a glycemic index of only 32. Low-fat yogurt has a glycemic index of only 14–even if it’s sweetened. But keep it within moderation and try almond milk. 

Protein-packed snacks with a low glycemic index is a handful of peanuts–in 1 ounce, the glycemic index is 14. Cashews are another good choice, as are dried kidney beans and lentils, which each have a glycemic index of fewer than 30 per cup and almonds. 

Try to avoid anything hot, spicy or salty. Too much salty food will make your body retain water and give you the feeling of being bloated, while spicy foods also induce thirst.

Drinks with a high caffeine content should be avoided because caffeine leaches calcium from your system, which means you feel less full, Dr Ayesh said. Instead, aim for eight glasses of water by bedtime.
4 easy tips: drinking plenty of water to keep hydrated; eating protein-rich meals to prevent the loss of lean muscle; eating one carbohydrate at iftar, such as rice, to avoid weight gain; and adding one portion of a natural laxative, such as a handful of prunes, to overcome the digestive problems that occur as a result of the drastic changes in your meal times.

Happy Ramadan!