Ramadan can be a time of endurance as well as spirituality and therefore it can affect your health in both mind and body. If you don’t respect your body during this holy time then you might find yourself suffering avoidable distress. To help, here are eight tips to help you stay healthy during Ramadan. However, if you are pregnant or are suffering an illness you should check with your doctor about what is best during the fasting month.
As well as remembering to always eat the first meal before dawn you should also think about what it is you are eating. Complex carbohydrates like oats, wheat, lentils and grain will help to steady your blood pressure and as a result help you feel full for most of the day. If you wish to focus on having energy during the day, eat protein-rich foods or food that are high in fibre due to their long digestive process.
When breaking your fast try and eat at least five servings of fruit to help rehydrate your body. Many fruits and also vegetables have a very high water content and can fill you up and replenish your water supply in one dish. Cucumbers, watermelon, melons and pumpkins are all excellent examples of these.
As you break your fast you’ll be tempted to indulge in some sugary delights as the thought of quick energy is just what you need after a long day of fasting. However, heavily processed and high-sugar content foods burn energy quickly and are low in the vital nutrients you need during the holy month.
After a long day of fasting you can be forgiven for overindulging but be careful as this does not give your body time to digest the food. Start with something like dates, which are an excellent way to get the digestion process started, and then some warm soup. Then you can move on to larger things such with more vegetables, fruit and protein.
As mentioned above soups should be a staple of your fasting diet. Soups provide the body with vitamins, minerals and obviously fluids. They are also an excellent way to include vegetables in to your menu while enjoying something both tasty and versatile.
Staying hydrated at the beginning and the end of your fasting day is key to staying healthy and fit. Try to stay away from the popular sugary Ramadan drinks such as tamarind and hibiscus as they will not effectively hydrate you. Also stay away from caffeinated drinks as they are diuretics and lead to water loss. Stick with lots of water or fresh fruit juices and try to consume at least eight to 12 glasses a day.
Fried food is a staple of the Indonesian streets, but it is not effective in maintaining a healthy body during fasting. If you must eat fried food, then try to use less oil by reducing one cup of oil or only half or a quarter. The best oils to use are sunflower, canola and corn oil due to their monounsaturated fats.
Needless to say, working out can be very difficult during Ramadan, but if you think you need to then you should postpone working out until you can remain hydrated. About 2 to 3 hours after you break your fast should be an optimal time to work out due to increased energy levels and the ability to maintain hydration levels throughout. This will also give your body enough time to digest your food.
See also: Eat This: 4 Superfoods to Fuel Your Ramadan Fasting