A healthy fast

Tips from a doctor for an easy, healthy Yom Kippur fast.

Dr. Yitzhak Glick ,

Healthy food
Healthy food

The Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) fast is not always simple, and often presents a difficult challenge. Proper preparations for the fast, however, can make a difference and allow for easier

Here are some tips for an easy fast:

1. Be sure to eat properly prior to the fast.

Eat complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain bread, pasta, rice, couscous, oatmeal, or bulgur. Whole grains are rich in dietary fiber, and offer a slow release of glucose.

Eat vegetables: They are rich in dietary fiber and encourage the body to absorb the carbohydrates' glucose more slowly.

Do not consume salt or sugar, and avoid caffeine as much as possible. Coffee and instant coffee, cola, and energy drinks, all contain caffeine. Caffeine increases urination and dehydration, and is therefore detrimental to those wishing to fast.

Drink at least 12-15 cups of water the day before the fast. Do not drink them all at once.

Do not eat spicy or heavily spiced foods. Reduce consumption of proteins, and choose foods with healthy fat, such as tehina, avocado, and almonds.

Eat fish instead of meat. Fish digests more quickly than meat does, and will not cause a feeling of fullness.

2. During the meal just before the fast, do not eat too much food. Instead, eat just until you feel satisfied. Overeating can cause a feeling of hunger and thirst after a short period of time. Avoid sweet desserts.

3. Pregnant and nursing women, as well as those who take medication regularly or are weak, should speak with their doctor prior to the fast.

After the fast

After the fast ends, drink a cup of room-temperature water with a bit of sugar and lemon juice. A few minutes later, drink a cup of tea without caffeine, or with low caffeine. Eat a sandwich or piece of cake.

Note: Drinking caffeine immediately after the fast can cause dizziness and an increased heart rate.

Do not eat a heavy meal immediately after the fast. Instead, eat moderately and as necessary.

Dr. Yitzhak Glick is the founder and director of Efrat and Gush Etzion's Emergency Medical Center.