We look at five great ways to stay healthy during Ramadan, according to experts from Mediclinic.
7 April 2022| Last updated on 8 April 2022
The Holy Month of Ramadan is here.
Ramadan in the UAE has begun and for the next 30 days, Muslims around the world will use this time for prayer and fasting from sunup to sundown.
During this time, we tend to make delicious food that are no doubt high in fat and sugar content, therefore we should also make it a tradition to promote a healthier lifestyle during the Holy Month.
Here are some helpful tips to stay fit and healthy during Ramadan, according to a professional Dietitian and a Sports & Exercise Physician from Mediclinic Parkview Hospital.
1. Eat a balanced and healthy iftar and suhoor.
To recharge your energy after a long day of fasting, you should incorporate plenty of vegetables to provide vital vitamins and nutrients, along with reasonable portions of healthy protein and fiber.
In short, try to avoid fried and processed foods high in fat or sugar. Enjoy your meal and avoid overeating by eating slowly.
2. Stay hydrated.
Drink plenty of water between iftar and suhoor meals. High temperatures can also make you perspire more, so it is important to drink fluids to replace what you lose during the day (at least 10 glasses).
You can also increase water intake by eating hydrating foods. Try adding watermelon, yogurt, or homemade puddings to your suhoor meal.
3. NEVER skip suhoor.
Suhoor is the light meal before the beginning of the fast every day, so try to avoid skipping it.
This meal, which constitutes a light breakfast, should include vegetables, a serving of carbohydrates such as bread/bread roll made from whole wheat, protein-rich food, dairy products (not salty ones) and/or an egg. Keep it balanced and rich.
4. Get plenty of sleep.
Sleeping well during Ramadan is important to maintain our health and wellbeing. The recommended daily hours of sleep per night is 7-8 hours, but everyone has different needs.
When you are sleep-deprived, the appetite increases, making fasting during Ramadan even more difficult. Try to go to bed early, the same time every day before waking up ready for suhoor and morning prayers around 3 am. Make up for lost hours of sleep after suhoor or during the day.
5. Exercise regularly.
Regular exercise is known to be beneficial to health, and during Ramadan it is important to keep up regular physical activity. This should be a mixture of aerobic activity (such as walking, running, cycling or swimming) as well as stretching and some resistance or strength work.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises 150 minutes in total per week, and all physical activity counts, even short bursts of 10 minutes add to your weekly target.
You may need to adapt the intensity of exercise and prioritize more gentle workouts depending on energy levels.
Try different timings for exercise to find what works best for you, in general training late in the day (just before or after iftar) has been shown to have benefits in allowing for hydration and energy replacement with food after exercise, maximizing recovery and reducing injury during the holy month.
To consult with a Dietitian or Sports & Exercise Physician, simply get in touch below.
Left: Mona Joumaa, Dietitian at Mediclinic Parkview Hospital Dubai
Right: Dr. Kate Jordan, Sports & Exercise Medicine Physician at Mediclinic Parkview Hospital Dubai