In Ramadan month, Muslims across the world will fast during the hours of daylight and can not eat or drink until the sun sets. Fasting can be challenging since our body does not get any food and fluid intake for around 13 hours. During fasting, the body uses carbohydrate that is stored up in liver and muscles (1,2). Once all has been used up, it uses fat as an energy source (3). Meals must contain adequate carbohydrate and fat to prevent muscle breakdown. Hence, balanced diet is very important. There are some things to consider so that you will be in a good condition during fasting and worship remains smooth.
Most people who are fasting during Ramadan will experience mild dehydration that can cause headache, tiredness, and difficulty on concentrating (2). To prevent feeling thirsty during fasting, you can divide your fluid intake into: 1 glass after wake up before sahur, 1 glass after sahur, 1 glass after fast break, 1 glass after Magrib prayer, 1 glass after diner, 1 glass after Isya’ prayer, 1 glass after Tarawih prayer, and 1 glass before going to bed.
In addition, it is better to avoid drinking tea or coffee as they contain caffeine which is diuretic and stimulates faster water loss. Eating fluid-rich food such as fruits and vegetables is also recommended since those also contain minerals for your body.
2.Eat moderately and choose well-balanced diet
Eating mindfully and slowly will make you more satisfied since it gives your brain time to register what you are eating (1). Having just enough portion size and well-balanced diet are also important. Your body needs good nourishment to compensate the stress during fasting. There must be good-quality carbohydrate, protein, and fat (ideally unsaturated fat) on the plate. You can choose high fibre starchy carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, oatmeal, rice, potato, pasta, and cereals to keep you feel full longer and reduce cravings for simple carbohydrates such as biscuit, chocolate, and cake (4). Put extra effort into including foods from five groups (such as breads, cereals; fruit and vegetables; meat, fish, and poultry; milk, cheese, yogurt; and unsaturated fat) to ensure your body is well-nourished.
3.Do light exercise
Although fasting can be physically exhausting, it is still important not to be too sedentary. During fasting we naturally become less active as the reduced energy we are getting from food. Therefore rather than doing high impact exercise, try to do small walks, doing errands, or a few stretches which places less stress on your body but still keep it actives. If you need to work out at gym, consider exercising after iftar.
- British Nutrition Foundation (2022). A Healthy Ramadan. [online] Available at: https://www.nutrition.org.uk [Accessed 18 Mar. 2022].
- Khuraaki (2022). A Guide on Healthy Eating and Hydration During Ramadan. [online] Available at: https://khuraaki.co.uk/ [Accessed 18 Mar. 2022].
- Shadman Z, Akhoundan M, Poorsoltan N (2016). Nutritional Education Needs in Relation to Ramadan Fasting and Its Complications in Tehran, Iran. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 18(8):e26130.
- UCLA Health (2019). Healthy Tips for Ramadan. [online]. Available at: https://connect.uclahealth.org/2019/05/01/healthy-tips-for-ramadan/ [Accessed 18 Mar. 2022].