31st May 2016 | Author:

Healthy Living During Ramadan

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On Tuesday 6th June 2016, 2.7 million Muslims in the UK will be fasting during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan. Our blog will help you to further understand the meaning behind Ramadan and how to keep a healthy diet whilst fasting.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic year where Muslims across the world abstain from food, drink and other physical needs from dawn till dusk. Ramadan is also celebrated to commemorate the time when the prophet Muhammad received the first verses of the Quran.

Ramadan is the fourth of the five basic acts considered mandatory by believers of Islam. These five acts are:

  • Faith
  • Prayer
  • Giving
  • Fasting/ Self-Control
  • Pilgrimage

Whilst Ramadan is typically known as a time of fasting, this is a time where Muslims can worship, refocus their attention to God and concentrate on self-discipline and generosity. Muslims also use this time to strengthen their familial ties, make peace with people and curb bad habits such as smoking, swearing and procrastination.

Fasting at Work

Holding a traditional fast in a busy office and being surrounded by people who are not fasting can be very difficult. Firstly, you should communicate to your team and to your manager that you will be fasting for the holy month of Ramadan. You should explain that as you will not be eating or drinking all day, your energy levels and productivity will quickly drop by a considerable amount. If you know from experience that your mood changes when fasting, warn your colleagues beforehand so they can be prepared!

Spending time with your family and friends during Ramadan is not unusual, so if you wish to take annual leave from work, you should pre-book these days off. Ask your manager if there are any arrangements which can be made for you to have regular breaks for you to rest or pray during the day or to start and finish work early.

Hydration

A study conducted by Clinova indicates that 49% Muslims have identified hydration as their main health concern during Ramadan. As you may know, keeping hydrated is very important for your body as the body uses water in numerous processes, including:

  • Transporting nutrients and oxygen around your body
  • Getting rid of waste products
  • Controlling your temperature
  • The function of your digestive system

If you notice the following signs whilst you are fasting, you may be dehydrated:

  • Headaches
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Mood swings

To combat dehydration, Clinova have developed oral rehydration salts (O.R.S.) which help to replenish water and any body salts which have been depleted. These rehydration effervescent tablets are scientifically balanced to ensure that your body maintains a proper fluid balance.

TheHealthcounter offer two great flavours of lemon and blackcurrant O.R.S tablets. These tablets should be mixed into drinking water, and once dissolved; should be sipped slowly. You should encourage your friends and family who are also fasting to join you in having one O.R.S hydrating tablet with water during both Suhoor and Iftar. These tablets are also suitable for children and infants.

During Suhoor and Iftar you should consider limiting your intake in coffee and tea as these caffeinated drinks have a dehydrating effect to the body.

What to Eat

Once the sun has set and you are ready to break your fast, don’t give in to the temptation to eat large amounts of food. This is dangerous because your stomach has shrunk considerably during fasting, therefore large amounts of food can shock your body. It is safer to reintroduce food to your body in small, gradual amounts.

The Quran mentions that “healthy and wholesome” food are the best provisions when fasting, this is an ideal opportunity for you to choose a healthy lifestyle and make healthy changes to your diet. For  a delicious, well balanced meal, try one of these vegetarian recipes.

For a nutritionally balanced meal, you can use the eatwell plate which gives a guide to the proportions you should eat of each food type to make a healthy meal. Foods that you should try to avoid include fried food and food that is high in sugar or fat, as these foods will leave you feeling sluggish and tired which is not how you want to feel.

Have we missed any vital tips? Please share your Ramadan tips in the comments below to help and guide others who are observing the fast.

We at TheHealthcounter wish all those who are participating in the holy month of Ramadan a peaceful, blessed and joyous time with their family, friends and community!