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Ramadan 06 Apr 2021

3 Simple Tips to Stay Healthy During Ramadan

3 ways to fuel your body and stay fit while fasting

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During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk. It is important to get proper nourishment between iftar and suhoor in order to be prepared for the next day of fasting. Healthy habits during the holy month are also very important in order to avoid gaining weight. In this article, we outline a few simple tips to help you stay fit while fasting.

Stay hydrated

The amount of fluids a person needs depends on age, gender, climate and activity level.

  • Adults, on average, need 2-3 liters of water each day. So make sure to drink plenty of fluids before the start of the fasting hours. Unsweetened juices or milk are tasty, low calorie alternatives.
  • The caffeine in coffee, tea and soda causes increased urination, so it is best to limit these drinks during the non-fasting hours.
  • Start meals with broths, soups or stews. Fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, squash or spinach are mostly water and can also help to replace fluids.

Why is this important?

The human body is about 60% water. It is vital for bodily functions, including metabolizing and transporting nutrients throughout the body and removing waste. The amount of water in the body fluctuates – it is lost through urine and sweat and regained from food and drinks. It is not unusual to become periodically dehydrated while fasting. Dehydration can result in weight loss that is quickly regained when normal eating and drinking habits resume.

Choose healthy options

Hunger tempts us to indulge or eat fast, convenient foods. Highly processed foods are high in salt, sugar and unhealthy fats, which won’t last long and can increase thirst.

  • Try a handful of roasted nuts instead of ready-to-eat foods such as crackers or biscuits.
  • Choose whole grains instead of white bread, enriched pasta and sugary cereals. The energy of these simple carbohydrates is broken down and used too quickly.
  • If you cannot get fresh or frozen vegetables, find cans with “low sodium” labels.
  • Choose foods that have been grilled, baked or steamed instead of fried.
  • Enjoy traditional iftar desserts in small portions. Fruit is a healthy alternative – the natural sugars will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Why is this important?

The body’s ability to process carbohydrates and fats peaks at certain times of the day. Food eaten outside of this window isn’t broken down as efficiently, which can lead to weight gain. If you aren’t eating at the usual times, it is important to choose wisely.

Eat, rest and exercise strategically

Planning your activities and meals after breaking your fast will help to refuel you and prepare you for the next day of fasting.

  • Rest is important, but be sure to stay awake long enough to replenish the fluids and nutrients your body needs.
  • Eat balanced meals including: bread, cereals and other grains; fruits and vegetables; meat, fish and poultry; milk, yogurt or cheese; and healthy fats.
  • Focus on foods that are digested slowly and release energy over time. These include food that are high in fiber (e.g. whole grains, fruits and vegetables) and foods containing complex carbohydrates (wheat, beans, lentils, rice, etc.).
  • It is important to stay active too. Find time to take a walk or do some gentle stretching.

Why is this important?

Weight loss occurs when a person uses more energy than they consume. Some studies on weight loss/gain during Ramadan have shown that energy intake remains the same or increases, despite a decrease in meal frequency.

Follow these simple tips to ensure you stay as healthy as possible while fasting. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is here for you, day and night. Our extended outpatient evening hours are available throughout Holy Month to offer you the care and support you need.

Book your clinic appointment by calling our call center on 800 333 22 or via the online Health Portal or app.

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