With the month of Ramadan beginning this week many of you will be fasting and as such self-restraint and patience are requisites. However, fasting should not be undertaken in such a way that it jeopardises your well-being.
The core goals of Health and Safety do not end with the workplace, extending into our own lives to ensure we remain well under all circumstances. As such finding a dietary balance and establishing planned day and night routines is essential to keeping yourself healthy and avoiding a hazardous build-up of fatigue.
With this in mind SHEilds have gathered some of our best Ramadan health tips to ensure that you are fasting safely for the duration of Ramadan.
10 Top Tips for a Healthy Ramadan
Without further ado, here are our 10 Top Tips for a healthy Ramadan:
1. Don’t miss out on Suhoor or Iftar – When you are limited to a meal prior to dawn (suhoor) and after sunset (iftar) then both count a great deal towards sustaining your energy throughout the day. In the case of suhoor a preference to sleep longer might result in you missing it altogether, but the chances are you will feel the cost of this later during daylight. Establishing and maintaining this pattern will make it easier to adjust your habits and is more likely to ease initial discomfort as your body adapts to the new routine.
2. Eat dinner slowly and mind your limits – Particularly in the first week of Ramadan you may have the urge to overcompensate during iftar, eating quickly and to excess after long days of fasting. Savouring the food slowly will ultimately make you more appreciative and avoid a shock reaction from your body such as stomach ache and generally poor digestion.
3. Limit or avoid unhealthy foods rich in salt and sugars – For the same reasons one might be compelled to eat to excess following a day’s fast, they might also feel compelled to feast on junk food that has been fried or is rich in sugars and salt. Unfortunately, while these might offer an immediate satisfaction to a hungry belly the gains are short-term; you will likely feel more serious hunger cravings and thirst during the ensuing day alongside long-term weight gain.
4. Establish a balanced, healthy diet – With limited hours in which to eat it is more essential than ever that your diet supports you with a healthy balance of food types. Vegetable soup followed by salad during iftar can do a great deal in helping your body adapt to the new schedule and its needs. Foods rich in fibre are generally a good go-to thanks to their slower rate of digestion, creating a longer-term satisfaction.
5. Include fruit within your diet – Offering a broad range of vitamins and minerals, fruit can go a long way to sustaining your diet through the month. Benefits include feeling full for longer and better digestion with a reduced chance of constipation.
6. Slow-release carbohydrates make for a strong Suhoor – As the meal which will set you up for the day Suhoor counts for a lot. Everyone will have their own preferences but if you are looking for ideas potatoes, sweet potatoes, breads, rice, pasta and oats may be worth a try.
7. Stay hydrated – A simple point that is always worth a reminder due to its importance in good fasting health. Between your evening iftar and morning suhoor you should maintain a steady intake of water, estimated at roughly eight typical glasses during the course of the night. This will carry you through the day, reducing your chances of becoming dehydrated.
8. Beware of caffeine – While a nice coffee, tea or perhaps a can of cola might seem like just the ticket to perk you up when you feel low on energy keep in mind it could complicate matters more than you anticipate. Due to the diuretic side-effects of caffeine you will find yourself losing fluids more quickly and thus more prone to dehydration during the day. Limit or outright cut your intake to be safe.
9. Try mild exercise – Many find that exercising just prior to breaking fast for evening iftar, going to bed and/or in the morning can result in a particularly satisfying routine. While intense workouts may be a stretch due to the likely dehydration a mild workout you feel comfortable with could be beneficial to your health. It might be as simple as an extended walk or something more rigorous, just be sure to remain mindful of doing so in hotter temperatures and your limits.
10. Be mindful of medical conditions – There are some unfortunate myths circulated that no medication may be taken during Ramadan. This is not strictly true as exceptions can and should be made as needed to avoid serious health risks. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has issued a statement emphasising that injections, patches, ear and eye drops do not constitute a break of fast. Exemption from fasting is also recommended in the case of medical conditions that require careful management; sufferers of type 1 diabetes, chronic migraines, high/low blood pressure, receivers of blood transfusions or any other ongoing illness should consult a doctor for a professional opinion on whether fasting is safe.
As outlined techniques and exact diet may vary, but it is important is to remain mindful of risk and find a sensible balance for your fast. Sticking to a healthy diet and building up a manageable routine is a good starting point either way.
A happy, healthy and safe Ramadan to all from SHEilds.