Five Basic but Effective Tips for Staying Healthy During Ramadan
Ramadan is finally here with its colorful street decorations, hanging lanterns of all shapes and sizes, the canons in Cairo’s main squares and charity fetar tables set up in the streets. But amidst the spiritual sentiments that surround the the Holy Month, many of us compensate the long fasting hours with unhealthy eating habits which make fasting all the more hard. For all those who enjoy a hefty fetar meal, here are some tips that will not only keep you going through the daytime, but will also ensure that your body gest all the nutrition it needs to stay healthy.
Fetar should be a meal that contains all food groups…
A fetar table with a generous amount of dishes doesn’t necessarily mean that the body is compensating for all the nutrients it lost during fasting hours. Breaking the fast with a soup is a great way for the body to replenish the fluids it has lost. Your main meal should then contain a considerable amount of nutrients from grains, proteins, vegetables, fruits and healthy oils such as olive oil.
Bonus Tip: Take your time with eating to avoid stomach pain and to prepare the digestive system.
Adjust your workout strategy and exercise routine…
Working out during Ramadan can be challenging, but doable nonetheless. If you plan to exercise during fasting hours, avoid exercising in the sun, lower the intensity of your workout, eat proteins in the predawn meal and make sure you drink lots of fluids from fetar till sohour.
Bonus Tip: Low intensity workouts prior to fetar are recommended since the body will be recharged shortly.
Combat dehydration with water, fresh fruits and vegetables…
Dehydration is a common issue in Ramadan especially that this year summer is hitting hard. After fetar, it is essential load up on fresh fruits and vegetables which contain a great amount of water like cantaloupe, watermelon and cucumbers, have some fresh juices and drink at least eight glasses of water.
Bonus Tip: Avoid caffeine as it induces urine and decreases the body’s chances in preserving fluids as well as salty foods and soda drinks.
Load up on nuts…
Infused with heart-healthy fats, nuts should be one of your essential go-to snacks in Ramadan. Nuts including almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and pistachios are full of nutrients and rich with fiber, vitamin E, Omega 3 and healthy fats.
Bonus Tip: Avoid salted nuts.
When it comes to sohour, it’s the quality of the food that matters, not the quantity…
Many people – including yours truly – think that the more we eat during the pre-dawn meal, the less hungry we will feel during fasting hours which most likely result in never ending thirst the next day. Health experts recommend eating complex carbohydrates like potatoes, beans, lentils and whole-grain breads as they boost the energy, prevent our tissues from breaking down and keep us full for a long period of time.
Bonus Tip: Have a light sohour preferably a couple of hours before dawn to keep your thirst during fasting hours to a minimum.
Happy Ramadan, Cairo!