Healthy Ramadan

Top tips to keep your health on track during this important time

A Healthy Ramadan

Ramadan, a holy month when Muslims across the globe avoid food and drink during daylight hours, for 29-30 days. Food and drink can be consumed before dawn and after sunset. Depending on the part of the world and the calendar month of Ramadan, this can mean fasting for up to 18 – 20 hours a day.

When your body goes through fasting, it uses up natural energy stores of carbohydrates (from muscles and the liver), fats (found in our fat mass throughout our body) and energy from food consumed before dawn and after sunset.

The lack of fluids consumed during daylight hours can result in mild dehydration, which can cause headaches, feeling of tiredness and distracted concentration, however consuming plenty of fluids and fluid rich foods during the hours of darkness can help to re-hydrate the body. If you have any medical conditions or concerns of dehydration then it is best to discuss with your doctor or health professional first.

1: Start with fluids

Include plenty of fluids as drinks and fluid rich foods (such as soups, stews, curries, fresh fruits and vegetables).

2: Eat slowly

Although temptation can be to eat quickly and regain energy and calories, after long periods of fasting it can be best for your body to start eating slowly with light meals, such as soup, each time fast is broken.

3: Avoid salty foods

Typically, salty foods stimulate thirst, so it’s best to avoid and limit intake of these.

4: Choose wholegrain and fibre boosters

The limited fluid intake and changes to eating habits can cause changes in our digestive system. But by including plenty of wholegrains, fibre rich foods and fluid based foods it can help to not only provide slow releasing energy but also support a healthy digestive system. Dates have historically been included when breaking a fast and they’re a great source of fibre, energy (from the naturally occurring sugars), as well as a range of minerals. Unpolished, wholegrain rice and mixed wholegrain chapattis are other good examples of slow releasing energy.

Plan your 'iftars' and 'suhoor' menus ahead of time to help ensure they are balanced, healthy and packed with nutrients your body needs