Fasting from dawn to sunset can seem difficult to many so here are my 10 top tips to help you develop a healthier lifestyle this Ramadhan.
Before Ramadhan starts, try to wean yourself off the caffeine! Whether it’s tea, coffee or fizzy drinks, you’re likely to experience headaches when fasting. A week before Ramadhan starts, reduce your caffeine intake to prevent this from happening.
You might find it helpful to adapt your sleep schedule slightly for the month of Ramadhan. You can wake up slightly later in the morning or you might want to have a nap later on in the day if you stayed up after dawn. A good sleep is extremely helpful to aid with energy levels during the day.
Stay hydrated as much as you can by drinking 7-8 cups of water in the hours between sunset and dawn. Have a bottle of water nearby and sip it slowly and regularly to hydrate your body. Also, eat foods with a high-water content like fruits and vegetables such as cucumber, lettuce or oranges.
When it is time to break your fast, it can be very easy to swallow everything quickly without you realising and probably end up bloated or full. Try to have your iftar (when you break your fast) meal slowly. Chew your food thoroughly and allow your body the time to digest it.
When having meals or snacks, make sure they are varied and balanced foods. Aim to get fruits and vegetables, dairy, protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates in there. That is the best way to nourish your body, give you the vitamin and minerals needed to function well and continue to fuel you during the day.
Suhoor is basically an early breakfast. And we know breakfast is an important meal for many reasons. During fasting, this meal becomes even more important, but it can be very easy to miss as you might be asleep. Even having a snack or a fruit and a big glass of water can go a long way. A breakfast smoothie, oats or eggs are all great options too.
Fibre is helpful to keep you full during the day, especially if you have it in your pre-dawn meal. Whole-grain or whole-wheat carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, oats, beans and lentils are all great sources of fibre to include in your meals or snacks.
Some people find it useful to alter their exercise routine when fasting, as vigorous exercise is not recommended. But slow strength-based exercises can be helpful instead, like yoga or Pilates. If you want to participate in more vigorous activity, do so after you break your fast on a light meal or snack and drink extra water that day.
If you are used to taking medication, please talk to your doctor about this before fasting. You might also want to consider taking any supplements such as Vitamin D when you break your fast.
The spirit of Ramadhan is all about sharing with other people. You might want to consider dropping a meal at your neighbour’s house or having a chat with someone that may have questions about fasting. Alternatively, you can share these top tips with someone who you know is fasting this year.