We are quickly approaching mid-Ramadan, and though many of us got over our caffeine withdrawal symptoms and are feeling lighter and more at peace, I believe that many more are feeling groggy and tired and are probably suffering from concentration issues that are exacerbated with the interrupted sleep. So how do we strike the right balance? How can we know if we’re meeting all our nutritional needs during the 8 hours that we can eat, knowing that many of us sleep through half of these hours…Read below for CIIN’s 7 tips for a healthy fast this Ramadan.
1 || Load on Vitamin C
The essential vitamin that we so desperately need to up our immune system can sometimes be missing from Ramadan’s menu. Fight illnesses by replacing your Ramadan dessert with fresh fruits. Though you definitely can’t resist that piece of qatayef or harisseh after Iftar, but you have to be aware that you aren’t getting your vitamins anywhere else so aim for at least two servings of vitamin c -rich fruits daily. You will also need to cover your daily requirements from vitamins B-complex, zinc, E, and A, so if you feel you aren’t having enough vegetables, berries, and fresh fruit you might consider having a supplement while fasting.
2 || Arabic Sweets
Ever wondered why you get such a craving for Arabic sweets during Ramadan? Could it be the sugar content? Arabic sweets are generally higher in their sugar content than their Western counterparts what with the amount of Qater (sugar syrup) that they are mostly drenched in. Try your best to replace your dessert with fruit or dates or try to have dessert every other day if you can’t cut it out completely. Processed sugar robs your body from the very necessary minerals and vitamins that we are losing this month. So even if you’re fasting for these long hours, this does not give you the excuse to over indulge your sweet tooth thinking that you earned it.
3 || Water
An obvious point but such an over-looked one! Don’t wait to feel the thirst ….you have to keep on drinking water after Iftar to replace lost fluids. If you are not properly hydrated then you are probably still experiencing some headaches, fatigue, irritability, and lack of concentration. If you are confused as to how much water your body needs, do the calculation by following this simple formula:
Your body weight in pounds/2= The amount of water you need to drink in a day. For example if you weigh 180 pounds/2= 90 ounces of water are required per day as a minimum amount. Additionally try to cut back on caffeine since coffee is a diuretic that will cause you to lose even more body fluids.
4 || Fiber
Keep an eye out for fiber-rich foods as you don’t want to cut them out unknowingly. Steer clear from starchy and creamy soups and focus on having soups made of clear broths and raw vegetables as a source of fluid and fiber. At suhour try having oatmeal or oats mixed with yoghurt as a meal that is slow-digesting and doesn’t make you thirsty the following day.
5 || What To Avoid
Your stomach will be sensitive from fasting so don’t indulge in spicy foods during Ifar as they might cause gas and heartburn. Fried foods are another obvious no no during this month, but we know how much you love your samboosak. But before you put another kibbeh on your plate just remember that your liver cannot process the fats loaded in these foods. Whenever possible aim to oven-bake these treats or invest in an air-fryer.
6 || Workout
Though many fitness enthusiasts take the opportunity of Ramadan to workout prior to Iftar but sorry to tell you that you have to cut down on your workouts, or scale them down in such a way that they don’t take their toll on your body. Fasting around 15 hours a day for 30 days will affect the person physically in terms of the nutrients lost, so in order not to weaken your body in the long run try to respect your body and workout sensibly during Ramadan.
7 || Sleep
Ever wonder why waking up for suhour gets more difficult as Ramadan progresses? True…waking up nightly will take its toll but what you may be unaware of is that your system is getting tired from having to process all the fatty foods you’re consuming. What’s worse is that lack of proper sleep in itself will cause weight gain as it will cause hormonal imbalances. Break this cycle by cutting down on fatty and sodium-rich foods, drink enough water, and go to bed early to be able to sleep enough hours before suhour.