We spoke with a number of health professionals and nutritionists who gave us their top tips to stay healthy during the holy month.
Drink plenty of fluids especially in the heat of Dubai mid July. You may think you have drank enough but it most likely never is. You should aim for around 2-3 Litres of water in your Suhour (morning breakfast). Water is the number one issue for many muslims, with an increase reporting of calcium stones and aching kidneys due to lack of water intake. Try and spread the water intake out from the time of your Taraweeh prayer through to Suhour.
Take plenty of fruits and vegetables during your Iftar and Suhour. Make sure you DO have enough water as the excess fibre can make you really constipated! Not nice! (Doctors state an increase in bowel problems after Ramadan either due to increase in fibre intake without enough water, or too much oily substances lining the gut)
The best thing to do is to NOT eat any oily foods during your Iftar or Suhour. We spoke with Dr. Ramzan Malik of the NHS in the UK who told us:
“Eating oily foods slows the metabolism down to such an extent that the absorption of proper nutrients becomes a problem. Our bodies are built for raw foods after a long time of rest”.
In the heat of Dubai and especially in June and July it can be very tempting to go for samosas, fried chicken and fish as well as oil based snacks at Iftar. It is very important to allow your body to gain the maximum from the short time available for Iftar and allowing enough time for digestion after. If you want to keep your weight in check and keep your body healthy this ramadan, stick to these rules.
Eat complex carbs during your Iftar and Suhour such as wheat, oats, barley which release energy slowly. Avoid Sugar and White Flour.
Tea and Coffee should be drunk minimally during your fast as they act as a natural thirst maker! Whilst caffeine in Tea and Coffee may sound like a way to boost your energy during Ramadan it will only cause energy lapses as the boost will be shortlived. Sugar levels will also be spiked by the excess put in Teas and Coffees which is what you want to avoid during Iftar.
During Suhour you should have a light meal, with some complex carbohydrates and something to replenish your vitamins from the day before. The compound loss of vitamins can cause problems in people who are vitamin deficient outside the fasting period.
Maintain an exercise regime of at least 30 minutes of walking a day during the daytime if you can. In this heat it can be especially hard, but a light walk where you break out in a mild sweat can help lower cholesterol and keep your weight in check. When we sit on chairs all day in offices and go to sleep after our Iftar it can cause the weight to pile on no matter what we have eaten. Try to maintain a healthy balance of keeping active during the day and leaving time for eating.
Muslims will find that prayers are a much needed respite from any hunger they face. Contemplate the reasons of the fast during this time and understand the spiritual development that can be had from the holy month.
If you get time during the day take a short walk somewhere, even in one of the Malls which will relax your body and keep your muscles from staying tense if you are in a busy office job.
In conclusion, you must keep a healthy balance of diet and excercise which is not unlike your life outside of Ramadan. Do not neglect your body during Ramadan as it will need the fuel give it during Suhour during the day.