The holy month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. During Ramadan fasting is observed from dawn until sunset. During this time, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking (including water).
This year, Ramadan is expected to begin today (Wednesday 16th May), and finish on the evening of Friday 15th June.
Fasting is intended to help teach self-discipline, self-restraint and generosity, but it’s important to make sure that if you are partaking in Ramadan, you are doing so safely.
Here are a few things to keep in mind….
Never skip Suhoor
Just as breakfast is the most important meal of the day, Suhoor (the meal eaten before dawn) is equally important during Ramadan. The pre-dawn meal helps your body stay hydrated and fuelled up on energy and nutrients until your next meal at Iftar. It also helps you avoid overeating when you break your fast at sunset.
Break your fast slowly
It is tempting to overindulge at Iftar after a day of food deprivation, remember that you should slow down.
Start with some water and a light meal, such as soup.
Avoid heavy oils and fats in your meal. Make sure you consume plenty of vegetables and a good portion of protein and enough carbohydrates.
Eat slowly and give time for your body to digest the food.
Drink at least eight – 12 cups of water from the period of Iftar to the time of Suhoor. Although juices, milk and soup are sources of fluids, water is the best choice to hydrate.
Avoid caffeinated drinks
Caffeine stimulates faster water loss, leading to dehydration, so try to avoid or moderate caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, and fizzy drinks.
Try to cut down on sugary and processed foods
Avoid heavily processed, fast-burning foods that contain refined carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour, as well as fatty foods like Ramadan desserts. They are high in fat and low in nutrients.
Avoid working out during fasting hours
To avoid dehydration, it’s best to postpone working out until after fasting hours. We suggest you work out at a time when energy levels are at their best, and you can drink lots of water, such as after Iftar.
Allow several hours after eating to begin any exercise.
Adapt fasting to your physical condition
Prior to Ramadan, Muslims, particularly seniors, should consult a doctor, as should pregnant women, children and people with diabetes taking medication to control their insulin levels.