It’s that time of year again, and the holy month of Ramadan is almost here. Ramadan brings with it a renewed spirituality and inner peace through our renewed focus on prayers and empathy for the less fortunate among us. At the same time, fasting from sun up to sunset not only teaches us discipline, but also brings with it the temptation to overindulge at those delicious Iftar meals when it’s time to break the fast. That’s why it’s important to adopt a healthy routine to maintain both a healthy body and mind. Following, is a Ramadan health guide to help you enjoy the month while maintaining a healthy lifestyle to cleanse your body, mind, and soul.
NAIL DOWN YOUR DIET & NUTRITION
While we wouldn’t think of suggesting you deprive yourself of your favorite Kunafa, we do advise moderation when it comes to Ramadan desserts! The same applies to Grandma’s finely rolled Stuffed Vine Leaves and other succulent savoury dishes. Here are a few other tips to help you cleanse your body from those unnecessary toxins while getting the right nutrition to keep up your energy while you fast.
- Water, Water, Water! We’re sure you already know how important it is to drink your water, but during this month more than ever, staying hydrated is a MUST! Drink your water bit by bit throughout the evening; don’t chug it all at once. Another tip: drink a glass of water as soon as you break your fast. It will keep you from eating like you’ve never seen food before!
- Portion Size. Do not go overboard when it comes to iftar. Your stomach can’t handle all this food at once. Stick to smaller portions, eat slowly, and remember that a balanced diet is a healthy diet. Make sure to include your veggies, proteins, healthy fats and whole grains in this important meal.
- Pre-Sunrise Meal. DON’T skip this meal! Your suhoor is what will keep you going the next day. Make sure you eat 40-50 minutes before Fajr prayer and try to include some of these elements in this meal:
– Whole grains – (whole grain cereal, whole grain bread, brown rice and/or oatmeal)
– Fresh fruits and/or vegetables
– Protein – (yogurt, eggs, low fat milk and/or nuts)
– Healthy Fats – Nuts and/or olives
HAVE FAITH IN FITNESS
- Workout only after iftar. Research shows that working out while fasting can literally cause up to 12% muscle damage. It’s best to wait at least 45 minutes after iftar to work out.
- Stick to Low-Intensity Cardio. When it comes to cardio, hold your horses! Too much cardio may cause a loss in muscles, since your food intake during
Ramadan is generally lower than usual. With that said, try to keep cardio at 40-70 minutes per week.
- Do moderate exercises for 30 minutes to an hour. Remember not to overwork yourself.
Work out at your own pace and have fun with it. Listening to your body and what it’s trying to tell you is extremely important.
DO SOME SOUL SEARCHING
Ramadan is the time to think of those less fortunate. You can help others, not just through donations, but by volunteering your time to worthy causes as well. There are many institutions that welcome a helping hand as they work to satisfy the needs of the poor and less fortunate. It’s also a wonderful time to teach your children to give and care for others.
- Ramadan is also a time to reconnect with family and friends. With Covid-19 still with us, it is advisable to limit those iftars and sohours this year to your immediate families and to hold them outdoors, whenever possible.
- Limit the time spent watching TV. Ramadan should be a month of prayer, reflection and purification.