Ramadan refresher: How to combat thirst and hydrate in the heat
Water is the most important fluid to replenish your thirst, unfortunately, most people forget to drink enough and have only small amounts at Iftar
The abstinence of drinking water between sunset and sunrise might be the biggest challenge of performing the fast this Ramadan. Because Ramadan falls again during the hot summer months, fluid replenishment should be your top priority this year.
Water is the most important fluid to replenish your thirst, unfortunately, most people forget to drink enough and have only small amounts at Iftar and then very little before bed!
Why do we need water?
60 –70% of your body is made of water which means you need to put effort to maintain that level, especially during Ramadan. Any reduction in your water intake can affect your body’s cells from performing their daily functions. If you do not compensate the loss of water when fasting, you’ll find yourself dehydrated and exposed to undesirable effects experienced often in Ramadan such as constipation, headache, dizziness, fatigue and dry skin.
How can you ensure proper hydration this Ramadan?
People who fast should be extra alert to avoid dehydration during the month of Ramadan. We’ve created a list of tips to follow during the weeks to come.
Attain your water needs: Make sure you hydrate properly when you break the fast. You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. If you need additional hydration, then drink both water and coconut water. Coconut water produces similar hydrating abilities when compared to sports drinks because they also contain a combination of carbohydrates, electrolytes, and fluid.
Choose water: Water is your best source of hydration over Ramadan drinks, juice, and soda. Unlike water, these fluids contain a lot of sugar and contain a lot of calories. Drinking too much of these drinks will fill you up and delay your digestion process
Herbal infusion make a great alternative: Green tea, mint tea, and chamomile make a great alternative to water may help you reach your fluid requirements. At the same time, these drinks may aid your digestion process. Have them without sugar as to avoid adding un-necessary calories.
Avoid certain ingredients: When breaking your fast, avoid hot and spicy dishes as they increase thirst and make fasting more difficult the next day. Don’t add too much salt to your dishes and avoid eating salty items like olives, mustard, za’atar and pickles as they increase the body’s need for water.
Focus on water-rich foods: Fruit and vegetables can be hydrating, so during Ramadan, try to get more than five portions a day. Great water rich options include watermelon, grapefruit, apples, tomatoes, cucumber, squash, zucchini and lettuce. Because they are rich in both water and fiber. They stay in the intestines for a long time and reduce thirst. Soups, yogurt, and oatmeal can also contribute to your fluid intake because they naturally contain water so incorporate them in your meals.
Drink wisely: Try not to drink large quantities of water all at once or during a meal. Instead drink water between your meals and in small quantities throughout the night.
Avoid caffeinated drinks: Keep in mind that drinks like coffee or black tea do not count as water. It would be best to avoid these drinks all together as they are diuretic and can increase your water needs.
Try to keep cool: Take cold showers, stay in cool areas, avoid the sun and wear loose clothing to maintain your body’s water levels as much as possible.
Listen to your doctor’s advice: If you have an existing medical condition, then you should consult with your local doctor if you wish to fast and get his/her approval. There are exemptions to fasting for the medically ill, some children, pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Limit physical activity: Although it’s important to exercise during Ramadan, you need to make a few modifications. Avoid strenuous exercise when fasting, because the body must get proper hydration. It’s best to exercise for at least 30 min 2 hours after iftar. Make sure you’ve had at least 2 cups of water before engaging in any exercise to replenish the water lost when fasting.