Here are some important health tips for Ramadan.
1. Don’t overeat at iftaar time
“The son of Adam cannot fill a vessel worse than his stomach, as it is enough for him to take a few bites to straighten his back. If he cannot do it, then he may fill it with a third of his food, a third of his drink, and a third of his breath.” (Tirmidhi)
As we break our fast and prepare to eat delicious food, we naturally want to eat till we cannot eat anymore. This is an unhealthy and bad practice because eating too much food causes weight gain and associated health problems.
Doing so at such a short amount of time causes a spike in blood sugar levels because your body begins to overcompensate and produce more insulin than usual to keep blood sugar levels at a healthy range. As a result, you might even experience headaches, increased thirst, fatigue, or lethargy. It’s also possible that your body will store the excess blood sugar and calories, leading to weight gain.
Eat-in moderate and healthy amounts at both suhoor and iftar time.
2. Don’t miss suhoor
In Ramadan, it is important to eat suhoor and prepare your body for the fast ahead.
The food you eat will be providing you with the energy for the day ahead, so make sure to drink plenty of water for hydration and eat healthy foods filled with healthy nutrients and vitamins to keep you going throughout the day.
Oats, pasta, couscous, quinoa, fruity and starchy vegetables, and potatoes are great examples of slow-burning carbohydrates that will give you energy through the day.
3. Drink plenty of water
Water is, without a doubt, the single most essential component of the human body.
When you stop to think that more than two-thirds of your body is water, it’s obvious how important it is to stay well hydrated. Hydration is needed for digestion, for our heart and circulation, for temperature control and for our brain to work well.
Therefore, it is vital to drink plenty of water while you are not observing the fast. It is not necessary to drink lots at one given time but to drink frequently to avoid bloating and being hydrated.
4. Avoid eating fried foods, salty foods, and high-sugar foods
Fatty foods can delay stomach emptying and cause abdominal discomfort and bloating. Furthermore, deep-fried fatty foods such as chips contain rich amounts of sodium, which can further exacerbate gas and bloating. This will make acts of worship such as prayer uncomfortable.
Excessive consumption of unhealthy fats is also a major risk factor for heart disease and weight gain.
Instead of eating unhealthy foods, try incorporating foods from all the major food groups including fruit and vegetables, rice and alternatives, as well as meat and alternatives.
You can also consume fiber-rich foods during Ramadan which are ideal because they are digested slower than processed foods so you feel full longer.
5. Remember to brush and floss
Oral hygiene during Ramadan is very important.
Those observing fasts may experience bad breath and a dry mouth.
Many sources agree although it’s an uncertain area, so long as you don’t swallow the liquid, during the hours of fast you can rinse your mouth. Be sure to spit well. Saliva in the mouth is important for fighting bacteria.
You can tackle bad breath by remembering to brush your teeth (including before the fast begins) and using quality mouthwash. Bad breath is linked with the bacterial build-up caused by a dry mouth.
6. If you have diabetes
If you have diabetes, long fasts put you at higher risk of hypoglycemia and dehydration, which can then make you ill.
Ultimately, it is a personal choice whether or not to fast. But if you do choose to fast, then it is advised to consult your doctor or healthcare team before Ramadan, to make sure that you are able to look after yourself properly.
According to Islam, you must not act in a way that harms your body so it is essential to look after your own health. Seeking this information will reduce the risks of becoming ill during Ramadan if you decide to fast.