At the moment, millions of Muslims around the world are taking part in Ramadan, and this year as the holy month falls close to summer, the fasting hours are longer in most countries, including the UK. And with warmer weather to contend with too, it makes the fasting hours seem even longer still. This month of sawm can not only be good for the mind and soul, but for the body too if carried out with your health in mind. Keeping the importance of a healthy body and healthy eating habits in mind, we have some top tips to help you stay fit and healthy through Ramadan.
Don’t Skip Suhour
Just like the saying “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, the same goes for “Suhour” in Ramadan. The Suhour is the pre-dawn meal that helps you fuel up on energy, keep hydrated and stock up on nutrients until the Iftar, the breaking of the fast at sunset. A well balanced Suhour should include foods rich in protein such as eggs, cheese, meat or yoghurt, high fibre foods such as bran, seeds, fruit and veg and complex carbs such as lentils grains or oats. These can help give bursts of energy throughout the day and keep your body hydrated.
More than 5 a Day?
We all know that the recommended servings of fruits and veg is 5 a day, but whilst you are fasting through Ramadan, you should aim to try and eat at least 7 servings every day. Many fruit and vegetables such as melon, or pumpkin have high water content, which can help you keep hydrated after fasting hours.
Hydration is Key
Make sure you drink plenty of fluids from the time between the beginning of Iftar and the end of Suhour. Instead of consuming sugary drinks, opt for 8-12 cups of water to keep hydration and energy levels up. Try avoiding drinks with high caffeine intake such as coffee and energy drinks as these stimulate faster water loss. If you do crave coffee or tea, drink in moderation.
Avoid Working Out
It may be the best idea to postpone any work outs until after fasting hours. If you like to hit the gym, we suggest you work out when energy levels are at their best, such as after Iftar. Allow a few hours after eating though, as this gives your body enough time to digest the food properly and release the energy accordingly. And don’t forget about drinking plenty of water, especially post work out, to get back the mineral losses from sweating.
By including soups in your Iftar meal, it can be an effortless way to provide your body with the much-needed fluids, minerals, vitamins and vegetables, as well as being easy on your stomach and quick to make. By using vegetables such as bell peppers, spinach and tomato and adding herbs you can have a nutritious and delicious meal.
Say No to the Fryer
Fried foods are usually prepared with substantial amounts of oil. When cooking, avoid frying if possible, and if you can’t avoid using oil try using ghee instead or monounsaturated fats such as sunflower or corn oil. Oil in food does the opposite of fresh fruit and vegetables and doesn’t help with the bodies nutrition and hydration. Similar to this, avoid any sugary or processed foods, as they are higher in fat and lower in nutrients. They will not give you the nutrients you will need through fasting.
A balanced diet and fluid intake during fasting periods are crucial, and to prevent any muscle breakdown, foods must contain balanced levels of energy. Salaamah Solomon, a registered dietitian at Tygerberg Academic Hospital in Cape Town, said ““In the end, the focus shouldn’t be entirely on body weight, but rather on being mindful of how you fast and how you break your fast,”
At Hajj and Umra Express we only want the best for our customers, and try to provide the best possible advice for you. If you would like to know any more about our Ramadan packages, or any other packages we provide, get in touch and we can provide more information, and find the perfect trip for you.