How To Stay Healthy And Hydrated During Ramadan
The holy month of Ramadan is upon us, and if you are going to be observing the Ramadan fast, you'd agree with us that staying hydrated during the fast is extremely challenging. Islamic year is based on the lunar calendar, and this year, Ramadan falls in the month of July. With scanty rains, and the days getting longer and longer, anyone who would be observing the fast should bear in mind that they need to keep themselves hydrated during Ramadan.
Take these tips to put up with the month-long fasting without putting your health at peril.
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Consult your family physician:
If you already suffer from any minor health concerns, make sure to visit your GP (general practitioner) about safety and/or consequences of fasting. Even if you're generally healthy, know that Ramadan may take a toll especially if your immunity levels are low. Start taking multi-vitamins to make your immune system stronger.
Hydrate the body:
Keeping from getting dehydrated is the most challenging during Ramadan, but it can easily be avoided. Humans generally need 3 litres of water a day, on an average. Try to space it out and consume as much water during, after and in between your meals after breaking your fast at dusk. Start your meal with a glass of water, and sip some after every meal. Keep a jug of water on your bedside so you can sip on some water if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night.
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Watch what you eat:
You must be careful about what you eat while breaking the fast itself. It's always advisable to have a light meal when breaking the fast. Water, fresh fruits, dates, almonds and soups are the best bet. Follow up with a meal after evening prayers, so that your body is prepared for the intake. It's important to take natural sugars instead of processed one, so swap sweets with naturally sweet fruits that are rich in iron and fast-acting carbohydrates; for instance, dates, and fresh fruits with water content like sweet lime, oranges, grapes and melons.
Count your blessings and your diet:
Make sure you eat a balanced diet during the month of Ramadan. While you fast, there are some foods that can help you go the entire day without eating and drinking. If you eat right, you may not even feel the hunger pangs during the day. Choose power foods like whole grains, legumes, lentils or beans, fresh produce like fruits, and edible raw vegetables like carrots. Carbohydrate rich potatoes also make you less hungry during the fast. Moreover, protein rich sources like lean meat, fish, eggs, milk, nuts and seeds help stabilize the blood sugar levels which curb the cravings and hunger. Let me reiterate, be sure to drink adequate water during your meals.
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Fit in a wholesome meal at suhoor (dawn):
Try to have your suhoor meal before sunrise instead of eating before sleeping. With the suhoor timed around 4:30 am and the dusk at 7:30 pm, the fasts will be as long as 14-15 hours. It is therefore important to take your first meal at a slow pace. Avoid having processed food during suhoor, and drink lots of water to last you through the day.
Avoid gorging on unhealthy food at dusk:
When you have starved your body for 15 hours, and suddenly eat a lot of food at dusk, you may experience uneasiness and pain in the stomach. Avoid fatty foods and stick to protein and iron rich foods for breaking your fast.
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Lastly, do not push yourself too much. It's a misconception that you must not break your fast at any cost. The Holy Quran says that ‘Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you.' So if you are not able to continue your fast for a valid reason, you must not push yourself too much and instead, make up for the days that you missed later on when you're fitter. However, in my opinion everybody must sincerely try fasting to find out how easy it is and what comfort our Lord brings to those who do. Indeed, the biggest comfort and happiness is in knowing how close it brings you to the Creator.