Fasting for the entire day and that too, continuously for a month, can take a toll on the health of anyone.
The holy month of Ramadan or Ramzan began on Monday (June 6) with most of 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide observing dawn-to-dusk fast, while praying and doing as much charity as possible till July 5.
According to Sunnah.com, the founder of Islam, Prophet Muhammad said: “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.”
The ninth month in the Islamic calendar is so observed to mark the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad and is considered as one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which are Shahada (Faith), Salat (Prayer), Zakāt (Charity), Sawm (Fasting) and Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca).
Now, keeping the religious sentiments aside, there is no denying fact that fasting for the entire day and that too, continuously for a month, can take a toll on the health of Muslims who are at a go.
Today’s fast lifestyle and work pressure are among many factors that you can’t compromise on, even during Ramzan.
Here are 10 tips that will help you stay healthy even when you are fasting and yet attending long hours at office:
1. Fix your date with dates:
Dates should be the first thing on your platter as you try to fill yourself before sunrise and after sunset.
Dates are rich in sugar, magnesium and potassium and will help you maintain your energy for long hours. It also has fibers and hence will take care of your bowel movements as a sudden change in routine can constipate you.
2. Drink adequate water:
Drink enough water post breaking your fast for the day so that you don’t get dehydrated. Make sure to consume at least 8 glasses of water throughout the night so that you remain hydrated the next day during fast.
3. Avoid salt, spices and pickles:
The more you eat salted, processed, canned and spicy food, the thirstier you feel as sodium is a natural thirst booster. Binge more on fruits and vegetables.
4. Go slow while breaking fast:
No matter how hungry you feel, don’t shock your body with suddenly filling it with all available delicacies. Eat a date or two to begin with, followed by a glass of water.
Have a bowl of warm soup and some salad and then go to the main course. Don’t overeat.
This way you can avoid bloat and related gastrointestinal discomforts, as that will be the last thing you would want to have to mar your Ramadan.
5. Get a balanced diet:
Your Iftar (evening meal) should have a balance of carbohydrates like rice, pasta, potatoes or burghul; animal protein like beef, chicken or fish; cooked vegetables and olive oil or flaxseed oil.
6. Cut down fat intake:
Forget traditional Iftar meals, forget all things fried, greasy and “too” sweet on your plate. Limit your fat intake to cut down the risk of cardiovascular disease during Ramadan.
7. Don’t skip Suhur (pre-dawn meal):
No matter how sleepy you feel, remember, if you skip this meal, you have to go without food till sunset.
Acidity, flatulence, chest pain, headaches, nausea, fainting, dehydration, drop in blood sugar level and upset stomach are some common effects of continuous fasting. And, you can’t pray at peace with an unhealthy body. Period.
8. Go for a stroll after Iftar:
Take a casual walk around your locality after Iftar to aid in digestion. Also, the fresh air will rejuvenate your mind before Tarawih (night prayers).
9. Take a nap:
A 15-minute power nap will help you make up for the lost sleep you had to undergo for Suhur. Choose lunch-time for your afternoon siesta as it will have another advantage – you won’t be distracted by your colleagues’ lunchboxes!
10. Avoid coffee:
According to American health portal WebMD, coffee consumption causes headaches and sleepiness. So, try staying off it during Ramadan.
(Sources: Emirates 24|7, Nestle, UK-based National Health Service, Chicago-based SoundVision.com)