With the advent of the month of Ramadan, hunger and problems such as intolerance, irritability, and difficulty concentrating due to hunger also bring problems that negatively affect people’s lives. In addition, many foods we consume affect the working rate and balance of hormones.
While some of the foods we consume make us more active during the day, some can add weight to the body. Reminding that metabolic activities must occur based on a balance saying, “The body needs the right nutrients to function properly,” says Dr. Ayça Kaya stated that the body’s reservoir is best filled with glucose-containing carbohydrate foods. Kaya continued his words as follows:
“Under normal circumstances, when people are starving, the body is not affected even if there is no problem. In other words, the state of hunger does not affect the body badly. The reason for this is that when we are exposed to hunger for a while, the stores in the body are activated. This situation continues when the body produces ketone bodies and uses these bodies as an energy source when looking at very long fasting periods.
However, it can be difficult from time to time to balance problems such as nerves, stress and anxiety during Ramadan. Dr Ayça Kaya said the following about the idea of ’Hunger causes nerves’, which is thought to arise with the return of hunger and cause problems among people:
“There is no rule that every person who is hungry will be angry. When people are hungry, enzymes and hormones are still secreted that normalize blood sugar levels. Even if the food that balances hunger is not consumed during the day, the body gives it to the system. For this reason, the return of hunger does not cause problems such as nervousness, intolerance, stress or anxiety in everyone.”
The supplies that suppress the hunger state of fasting people during the day and stabilize blood sugar levels are not the same for everyone. Kaya stated that there is a different disease risk underlying these conditions and drew attention to the following chronic diseases:
“Because of problems such as diabetes, latent sugar, decreased fasting glucose, anemia, hypoglycemia, and the medications used to treat them, the body’s blood sugar normalization process may be different in these people. Especially when diabetics on drugs are hungry , they can develop nerve problems, so if there is an underlying problem as a priority, then it is easier to establish a consumption pattern.”
Disorders that manifest themselves in behavior and negatively affect daily life are actually based on metabolic problems. Dr. Ayça Kaya emphasized that when another health problem that people are unaware of is not prevented, it leads to fainting and death in advanced cases.
Kaya recalled that some behaviors known as hunger jitters during fasting can be experienced intensely after the menstrual period, Kaya added:
“As menstruating women lose blood during menstruation, hemoglobin levels in the body begin to decrease. This situation can also periodically reveal problems such as nerves, tremors in the hands and feet, and intolerance in women. On the other hand, women who start fasting after menstruation may experience nervous problems mainly due to decreased blood levels and then due to recurrent hunger.
While hunger by itself does not lead to negative behavior, several health problems can occur when it is combined with health problems and persists exponentially. Dr. Ayça Kaya explained this situation with a single example:
“Overlapping health problems can be serious for people. For example, when prolonged hunger is added to a person whose blood pressure is unstable, more negative results begin to appear. In other words, problems cause problems and keep growing by building on them.”
While foods that prolong feelings of fullness throughout the day are important, fluid balance can prevent many potential problems. “Fluid supplementation is very important, both to prevent fluid loss and to prevent problems such as nervousness, stress, aggression and focus problems,” Kaya explains this health-based situation as follows:
“Those who fast are dehydrated for hours during the day. Even if you don’t drink enough water during iftar and sahur, the fluid in the cell tries to maintain metabolic balance. This causes the fluid-electrolyte balance in the vessel to deteriorate. With the deterioration of balance, uncontrolled behaviors such as fainting, aggression and nervousness can occur in humans. In order not to experience this, nutritional intake and fluid supplementation are very important.”
So, can people who don’t have health problems and don’t use drugs be constantly angry when they’re hungry? Dr. Ayça Kaya says that, although not as much as chronic patients, individuals with uncontrolled consumption patterns may exhibit more nervous behavior while fasting.
This situation, which continues exponentially and negatively affects people’s daily lives, brings to mind the questions “What should be the right consumption?” and “What should we avoid?” In answering these questions, Kaya emphasized the need to “keep sugar under control” for proper consumption, which balances hormones and prevents nervousness during Ramadan.
Emphasizing that more attention should be paid to diet in order to have better fasting and balanced blood sugar levels during Ramadan, Dr Ayça Kaya explained that knowing the glycemic index i.e. the sugar load of foods can provide a solution are for many problems:
“Foods with a higher glycemic index make us hungrier faster, lower our sugar levels and make us want to eat more. Foods consumed in an uncontrolled manner are also foods that can cause more intolerant fasting. For this reason, food with a low glycemic index is preferable with sahur. Foods such as table sugar, honey, molasses, white flour, pasta, rice are quickly mixed and excreted from the body, and they should be avoided.”
Dr. Ayça Kaya mentions that consuming protein-based foods like eggs and low-sodium cheese has more balancing properties. Dr. Yoghurt should be indispensable for sahur according to Ayça Kaya. According to dr. Ayça Kaya also listed the foods that should be weighed in sahur:
“Wholemeal bread, high-quality sources of protein and foods with a high fiber content are preferable so as not to cause problems that alter our mood during the day and to prolong the feeling of satiety. Avocado, cheese, eggs and walnuts may seem like a simple breakfast for sahur. But the benefits are huge.”
Dr. Ayça Kaya stated that the imbalanced sugar balance in the body also causes irritability and intolerance. Kaya said the two biggest mistakes made in sahur are to include sweet foods and consume iftar foods, Kaya noted, “If we want the food we eat to be good for us, we have to choose it like a medicine.”