Apart from breaking bad habits, fasting is also beneficial for human body—when it is done correctly of course. Moderate and intermittent fasting had shown positive results, for example: a better digestive system, clear mind and an increase in mental well-being. Since fast is broken in evening during Ramadan, you are not starving your body to the point where there is potential to damage vital organs and wear down muscle. However, with limited intake of water, 16 – 18 hours fast, and hot weather, it becomes even more critical that you have to eat right.
Make this Ramadan your healthiest yet with our list of tips below.
Do not skip Suhoor
If you already know you are not supposed to skip breakfast, then you definitely cannot skip suhoor! The pre-dawn meal is mandatory—both religiously and for your health—because it provides you with the fuel and energy you need to stay energized and be functional during the day. Stick to a balanced meal; a sufficient amount of protein, carbs, fat, and healthy sugar to beat hunger pangs.
Eat right between sunset and sunrise
It is very easy to devour everything on the table when it comes to breaking the fast in evening, but discipline and self-control are exactly what Ramadan is all about. Practice what you have built it all the day when it is time to eat by staying away from fried foods and meals made up of just one food group (fast foods). Control food portions and break your fast with a date (many already do this traditionally), a large cup of water or with fresh fruit juice, and follow with fresh fruits and a balanced meal of protein, carbs, and fat. Most of us follow the healthy tradition of breaking the fast with a light snack, praying, and then dinner. This practice will help you digest food and also prevents overeating.
Since you will only have four to five hours of “eating time” every day, it is critical to incorporate as much water as possible. Try to drink water immediately after breaking the fast and drink two to three cups per hour that you are up. This will also prevent overeating—and staying hydrated during dusk and pre-dawn hours will help beat dizziness, lethargy and dry mouth that you may have experienced during the day.
Cut workouts in half—but keep working out
Although you should not be going to your regular running or kickboxing classes during fasting hours, you should not stop working out completely though. To prevent a slump, cut regular workouts in half—to about 10 – 15 minutes—and incorporate strength training or yoga in each workout. Thirty days off can be a hindrance when you return to the normal exercise routine post-Ramadan, especially for those who are trying to build a regular exercise habit. So it is wise to try to move as much as you did before and squeeze in workouts in the pre-dawn hours or at night, after you have eaten and are fully hydrated.
Give your vitamins a boost
If you already take a multivitamin tablets, consider adding high-quality Omega-3s, or fish oil, to help improve metabolism, muscle building, and intake of essential/good fats. For those who take no supplements, consider adding a high-quality multivitamin to prevent any deficiencies due to fasting.
It does not matter, you are working 9 – 5 or you go to school, sitting at home and thinking about food; that is not going to make Ramadan easier. Since you will have a lot more free time from not eating, try to set up small goals or projects during day time. Tasks like cleaning out drawers, organizing, or even finishing a book will keep you active, both physically and mentally—both of which are important to staying fit and healthy.
Ramadan is about reflection and is a great chance to wean you off, of bad eatinghabits. Whether its sugar addiction, smoking or too much caffeine, take this opportunity to battle what you have been struggling with all year long.