Ramadan is the holiest month for Muslims as it is regarded to be the month that the holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad on the night of Laylat al-Qadr, one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan. It is a month of self-discipline and empathy for those living in poverty. It is common to experience unusual fatigue and dehydration when fasting.
Here are 7 tips on how to stay hydrated and retain optimal energy while fasting as the holy month of Ramadan marks its start.
1. Water, water and more water during night-time hours
Experts advise drinking as much water as possible during Iftar (breaking of fast) and Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) times, especially if hot weather is expected during the day. Make sure you have at least two litres of water during night-time hours.
2. Learn the importance of balance
When fasting, your body is deprived of nutrients that your system needs. The experts emphasize that it is so important to make sure that when you can eat, you keep your meals balanced so that you feed your system enough nutrients from each group.
3. Think about the alternatives
Swap deep frying for grilling, baking or shallow frying and swap heavier foods for lighter alternatives. For example, swap cake and chocolate for fruit and yoghurt.
4. Fitness and fasting can work together
Gym enthusiasts can stick to their routine of working out everyday. Light exercises are great to keep blood flowing and the system working. Cardio exercises are also fine to do when fasting as long as you don’t overdo it.
5. Lots of protein and avoid salt for Suhoor
For the pre-dawn meal, experts recommend eating foods that will provide the body with enough energy to last a good few hours. It’s important to focus on slow-digesting foods like high protein and high fibre. Some great examples of these are oats, and whole wheat foods like barley, brown rice, buckwheat and whole wheat bread or pasta.
6. Iftar time is for water, dates and well-balanced meals
It is traditional for Muslims to break their fast with a date, which has scientific benefits. Energy-rich foods with natural sugars are a great way to provide fast-releasing energy to the system. Things like raw fruit, particularly dates and even fruit juices, are perfect for this.
When it comes to meals it is really important that they consist of a good balance of starchy carbohydrates, like potatoes, rice and bread, along with a good intake of vegetables, proteins such as meat or fish, and dairy for the natural fats.
7. Keep energised without water or snacks
Experts advise that there are small things you can try each day to keep you alert and maintain your energy. Things like taking small breaks from revision or work and going on small walks, writing daily to-do lists or listing what you’re finding difficult and working on combatting these, and planning meals to make sure you’re eating the right things to get good energy levels can all have a bit impact.