The holy month of Ramadan is arriving and that too in extreme weather conditions!
Ramadan is just around the corner, the most awaited time of the year for millions of Muslims around the globe. However, in this post pandemic world, the experience will be a bit different. Apart from following the rituals, maintaining a healthy routine during Ramadan may be more challenging this year.
A Healthy Ramadan- What Actually Matters?
When it comes to staying healthy during Ramadan, maintaining a balanced diet is a national issue (something we are really good at). What we often forget is the importance of hydration or staying hydrated during the month of Ramadan, which is equally as important as eating right.
No matter in which region you are practising Sawm (fast), we all experience some massive changes in our daily routines. From changing our sleeping routines to altering our eating habits, we enjoy several physical, psychological and social benefits of fasting. Here, we are particularly talking about the health benefits that are advocated by many scientific studies in the past.
You may already know these, but let’s quickly go through the health benefits of fasting!
Health Benefits of Ramadan
Some of the health benefits of fasting are;
- Fasting improves our digestion by fastening up the metabolic rate.
- It can positively impact our brain health by inducing hormonal changes as well as reducing the stress level in the body.
- Fasting can help to lower the cholesterol levels in our body that is ultimately good for our cardiac health.
- While fasting we refrain from eating for longer periods and in the limited eating window we try to consume healthy foods to prepare ourselves for the next day fast, which reduces toxins intake in our body.
- Fasting for 15 or 16 hours let us have better control over our appetite that can significantly aid in body weight management.
- Fasting is also known to strengthen our body’s immune system and can reset the defensive system of our body.
Why do some people get more benefits from Ramdan?
Despite the fact that Ramadan and fasting bring ample health benefits, the outcomes can vary from person to person. So, how is it different for all of us? Let me tell you. It’s not only fasting, that is beneficial but the way you fast is responsible for the actual outcomes.
As previously discussed, two basic things can affect the physiological results of fasting: that is what you eat and how much you consume. Talking about the food, there is countless information on Ramadan diet charts and healthy foods for Ramadan over the internet.
How to plan for a healthy Ramadan?
Considering all this available information, you can plan your Ramadan meals accordingly, but when it comes to staying hydrated in Ramadan we are quite clueless. Here in this article, we are going to discuss the ways that can help us to prevent dehydration in Ramadan.
Before we discuss the way to stay hydrated in Ramadan, let’s discuss why hydration during Ramadan is important for us.
Dehydration can result in;
- Headache or fatigue
- Sleepiness and tiredness
- Flushed or dry skin
- Change in urine colouration
- Dryness of mucosal membrane
- Added pressure on the kidneys
How to stay hydrated in Ramadan?
Here are a few things you can try to prevent dehydration during Ramadan. For your convenience, let me split healthy hydration practices for Ramadan into two sections, including;
How to stay hydrated in Ramadan during the eating window?
1- Drink plenty of water
One of the best things you can do to prevent dehydration is increasing your water consumption before and after fasting. There is no set limit to define water consumption but you can consume as much as possible. Remember not to consume too much fluid at once as it can lead to bloating and interfere with the digestion process of our body.
2- Eating right
A person’s eating choices determine how he will be fasting tomorrow. Well, there are clear reasons behind it. Some foods are rich in water content while others tend to affect the way our body processes water. You can consume fruits and vegetables that are not only rich in healthy nutrients but also provide water to your body.
For healthy Ramadan food suggestions, check out these healthy drinks and foods during Ramadan.
3- Avoid water draining foods
While there are foods that help to keep your body hydrated, several others can make your body dehydrated. These include fried food, sugary foods and caffeine.
- Fried foods are rich in salt content which let you cross the daily salt consumption resulting in dehydration.
- A lot of people consume sugary drinks and fresh juices during iftar time but consumption can lead to severe dehydration as the body needs more water to balance the higher sugar levels in the blood.
- Similarly, caffeine consumption is also linked with dehydration because of the diuretic nature of caffeine. Caffeine increases the production of more urine ultimately leading to dehydration.
Although it seems that physical activity is causing dehydration in the body due to sweating. But as a matter of fact, the workout can help to release the potentially harmful toxins from your body which is leading to dehydration. It is advisable to choose the right workout schedule and counterbalance the water loss (through sweating) by increasing water intake in the eating and drinking window.
How to stay hydrated while fasting?
When you are fasting, you refrain from eating and drinking, but your routine activities go as usual. Here are a few tips that you can try to outsmart the dehydration problem. These are;
5- Limit your outdoor exposure
You can avoid unnecessary outdoor visits and I feel that the COVID-19 pandemic was out preparation for this. You can buy stuff online and conserve a lot of energy and of course, water!
6- Your fashion choices matter!
When it comes to hydration, your fashion choices play a major role. Wearing light colour clothes can reduce the absorption of sun rays which are a particular cause of dehydration.
7- Mange your sleep schedule
You can follow a proper sleep routine to ensure that you don’t feel fatigued or dehydrated while fasting. Some studies support the fact that people who sleep less than 8 hours are prone to dehydration.
8- Wisely make cooking choices
Apart from these, you can opt for easy to cook meals to reduce your exposure to stove heat. Through meal preparations increase your heat exposure time leading to fatigue as well as dehydration.
Ramadan is the month of blessing and can positively impact our health in one or several ways. However, opting for the right eating and drinking choices can help to take maximum benefit of it.