The holy month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and a time when many Muslims across the world fast during daylight hours for 29-30 days. The Islamic calendar is lunar and so Ramadan falls at a slightly earlier time in the year each year. In 2020 it is expected to start on 23 April.
Muslims taking part in Ramadan do not eat or drink anything during daylight hours, eating one meal (the ‘suhoor’ or ‘sehri’) just before dawn and another (the ‘iftar’) after sunset. The end of Ramadan is marked by ‘Eid-ul-Fitr’, the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast. A special celebratory meal is eaten during the festival, the first daytime meal for a month.
Livewell advisor, Rania has created these helpful tips to help Muslims feel healthy and well during Ramadan.
- Eat a healthier breakfast (Suhur) filled with high fibre which gives you slow releasing energy throughout the day. Try adding seeds such as chia seeds for healthy fats and black cumin to boost your immune system.
- Use the Eat Well Guide to get a balance of healthier more sustained foods from across the different food groups.
- Try to include hydrating fruits and vegetables such as melon, strawberries, and oranges and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
- Don’t over eat when you open fast, this can slow you down and can make you feel sluggish after.
- Drink plenty of water ideally 2-3 litres at Iftar (opening the fast) to Suhur (breakfast) and make sure you drink slowly and gradually throughout the night.
- Avoid fried and high sugar appetisers, make a habit of opening the fast with fruit salads or healthier soups instead.
- Lower salt in your diet, salt can make you thirsty, which will make the fast harder during the day.
- Make sure you fit in physical activity, even just a small bout of 10 minutes – for example, stretches after fajr (Morning Prayer) or 10 minutes’ walk before opening the fast. Livewell’s Facebook page is a great source of home workouts.
- Exercising before opening the fast will reduce your appetite and craving for unhealthier fatty and sugary foods.
- Look after your mental health by practising mindfulness through spirituality and meditation.
- Make sure you have plenty of rest.