Ramadan is knocking at the door. The one month per year where Muslims fast, abstain from pleasures and pray from dawn until sunset each day provides a chance for Muslims to “cleanse” their lifestyle. Since the time for eating is limited and sleep schedules may be disrupted, it is especially important to stay healthy and fit during this month.
These tips can help you stay fit and healthy during Ramadan:
Wake up for Suhour
Suhour, the meal eaten before dawn, is the most important meal of the day in Ramadan, just as breakfast is a must in your normal daily routine. This pre-dawn meal helps you to stay hydrated and boosts your energy throughout the day, until the Iftar meal.
Break your fast slowly without overindulging
It is tempting to overeat at Iftar and having fasted all day, but it’s important for you to eat slowly and give your body time to digest your food, without overindulging. Start with water and a date, before calmly starting the main meal.
To ensure that you receive adequate nutrients, be sure to include the following in your meals:
- Foods rich in complex carbohydrates such as beans and lentils, quinoa, couscous, whole wheat bread or pasta, brown rice, oats, sweet potatoes are slow-releasing carbs that help maintain steady blood sugar levels and leave you feeling full for a good part of the day. Avocados, nuts, and seeds are high in both complex carbohydrates and good fats.
- Fiber-rich foods help you to feel full, promote good blood sugar levels, relieve constipation, and neutralize stomach acid. Be sure to include foods such as artichokes, beets, broccoli, carrots, eggplant, dates, figs, cereals, grains, seeds, potatoes, Swiss chard, and kale and remember to increase your fluid intake to avoid gas.
- High protein foods like eggs, yogurt, cheese, or meat should also be included as they can help boost your energy levels throughout the day.
- Include plenty of fruits and vegetables. They make a great snack between meals and are a far healthier option than sweets and pastries. Certain fruits and vegetables naturally have high water content, particularly cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, and squash, and can help keep you hydrated.
and to beware of the following foods:
- Avoid sugary, processed, overly salty, and fried foods which are high in fat and low in nutrients.
- Beware of consuming a lot of sugary Ramadan drinks such as Tamarind and Hibiscus.
- Minimize your intake of caffeinated drinks which can have a diuretic effect and lead to dehydration.
In addition, to including plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet, aim to drink 250 – 500 ml of water per hour during the hours you’re not fasting.
The best time to exercise during Ramadan is 2-3 hours after breaking your fast. This will allow your body to digest properly and to ensure that your body uses external fuel sources rather than breaking down protein and muscle. Drink water both during and after your workout to remain hydrated.
Get enough sleep
It’s essential that you get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep so that your body does not get exhausted and you are able to function well during the day.
Follow these tips to make the most of the blessed month of Ramadan and please share your experiences and tips in the comments section below. Ramadan Kareem!