In the world of dieting and healthy eating, intermittent fasting has been taking the industry by storm. Science has proven the countless benefits that you can reap from fasting for several hours. Interestingly, Muslims have been doing this for centuries now; they fast in Ramadan for a whole month. And, while they do it for religious purposes, their health benefits are undeniable.
Ramadan is the most sacred time of the year in Islamic cultures. It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and its beginning and ending rely on lunar sightings every year. According to Muslims, Ramadan is the month when the Quran was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. It’s one of the five major fundamentals of being a Muslim.
While Ramadan fasting and intermittent fasting share many aspects, there is one major difference between both of them. Unlike intermittent fasting, in Ramadan, you abstain from consuming all forms of drinks, including water. That’s why you are at great risk of dehydration during Ramadan, especially during the hot months of the year.
Dehydration can be devastating for your energy levels. It also contributes to severe headaches and dizziness. That’s not something that anyone wants or needs. For that very reason, we have gathered for you an appetizing food option to have during Suhoor to keep your body well-hydrated from dawn until the sunset.
Have a Plate of Green Salad – Plus Tomatoes
Many green vegetables are known for being nutritious as well as yummy. Cucumbers on top of the vegetable list have a high water content that exceeds any other solid food. They are also delicious, especially when paired with tomatoes, which are also rich in water. Having a nice, colorful bowl of cucumbers and tomatoes is sufficient to keep your body hydrated through the next day. Plus, this mix is light to have at suhoor yet very satisfying.
Fill Up on Buttermilk – Rayeb Milk
After fasting for several hours, your energy and water levels are quite depleted. One way to reduce the side effects of dehydration during Ramadan is to fill up on milk during suhoor. All kinds of milk seem to have great hydrating power, yet buttermilk wins the race. It’s commonly known as Rayeb in the Arab world.
Rayeb is a popular item to have after suhoor; it also has little fat which makes it even more hydrating than full-fat milk. Not to mention that the reduced fat content is essential to cut down on calories and avoid gaining weight during Ramadan.
Opt for Foods Rich in Fiber
Fiber is an essential nutrient that keeps your body in a balanced state throughout the day. Moreover, fiber-rich food is slowly digested, which helps in keeping you satiated and full for longer. This includes oatmeal, lentils, fava beans, apples, and whole grains. Nuts are also a great option to snack on after having your Iftar meal.
Always Choose Fava Beans
If you are ever to choose between fava beans and any other food, go for the fava beans. This dish is quite popular across the Arab world, especially in Egypt. It is a staple dish in every suhoor meal throughout Ramadan. Those grounded beans have powerful hydrating properties, not to mention that they will keep your stomach happy till dusk.
Add Eggs to Your Suhoor Meal
Eggs are quite generous when it comes to protein and other essential nutrients. Its high levels of protein pair perfectly with water-rich food, creating one more hydrating addition to your meal. Hard-boiled eggs are your best option to banish dehydration. Pair a couple of boiled eggs with a bowl of salad or dish or fava beans to boost your water daily intake.
Quench Your Thirst with Watermelon
Filling up on fruits through Ramadan is a perfect way to stay hydrated as well as healthy, as long as you don’t overdo it. Fruits are known for their water-rich content that helps in refreshing your body, especially during summer. Watermelons, among all the other fruits, are the most water-rich. This summer delight can help you make it through your active days in Ramadan in addition to being nutrient-dense.
Go for Soups
Liquid-based food is definitely a great idea to rehydrate your body while getting some essential nutrients in. Soups are deliciously satisfying and many of them are packed with nutrients. They are also an Iftar staple throughout Ramadan.
Many studies have proven that soups are a great way to hydrate as well as cut on calories when eaten before the main course. Thus, opt for a nutritious soup option before having your main dish during Iftar. Not only will you rehydrate your body, but you will also help maintain your body weight through Ramadan.
Don’t Forget to Have Your Yoghurt before the Fasting Window
Apparently, dairy does more good than harm when it comes to its consumption during Ramadan. As long as you don’t binge eat them, you will reap their full benefits. Yogurt is no exception. It is an essential snack to have post-suhoor to ensure being energetic and hydrated the next day. Yogurts were proven to have amazing hydrating properties.
Plain yogurts are the best since they don’t contain the additional sugar that flavored yogurts do. Besides, it happens to be a great source of protein as well as being rich in calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Whether in Ramadan or not, consuming plain yogurt on a regular basis can greatly aid in your health journey.
Go Easy on the Sambusa Plate
One of the delights that make an appearance every Ramadan is the deliciously crispy triangle that is Sambusa. This triangle-shaped dough is either filled with minced meat or cheese and arugula before it’s deep fried. You can definitely have a couple of those delicious pastries on Iftar, but make sure you’re not throwing off your calories intake.
Moreover, deep-fried foods are not great options during Ramadan. Not only for being unhealthy, but also for being high in sodium and fat, which may cause water retention and not the good kind. Sambusa is also of no assistance when it comes to hydration. If you find yourself fatigued through the day, it may be a sign of overconsumption of oily food, so indulge in moderation.
Snack on Dates
Having dates to break your fast is a popular ritual among Muslims, following in the steps of the Prophet Muhammad. In fact, dates were proven to have many benefits, especially during Ramadan. Dates are high in sugar, fiber, iron, minerals, as well as some protein and fats. Their nutrient-packed nature makes them an ideal choice for a snack during Ramadan.
Besides, they help the body regulate its blood glucose levels after a long day of fasting. Dates are high in antioxidants and great energy boosters. They help you feel full and maintain the fluid balance of your body, which is another great option in Ramadan to prevent dehydration.
Avoid Overconsumption of Caffeine
Coffee and other caffeinated drinks are better be avoided during Ramadan. While having its own health benefits, caffeine is known to be a diuretic, producing more urine. This can lead the body to lose fluids and salts, paving the way to dehydration. Which is something that you have no need of throughout Ramadan. Keep your caffeine consumption at minimum to also avoid headaches throughout the day.
Stay Away from Salty and Spicy Food
Most beef and smoked meats are laden with salt, which is a good reason why you don’t see them on many tables during Ramadan. On suhoor, it may be tempting to grab a couple of olives or pickles with your meal. However, we are urging you not to, for you will definitely regret it the next morning. These types of food are also smart to be avoided during the holy month of Ramadan.
Sugary and spicy food happens to have the same effect as salty ones. They leave your body depleted of energy and water, resulting in extreme fatigue and, in some cases, severe headaches. To stay away from such lousy mornings, make sure you manage your cravings and reach out for healthier options that are rich in both water and nutrients.
Drink Water, Obviously
Nothing is going to keep you hydrated as much as water. Mornings in Ramadan can be really challenging, especially in summer, as you refrain from consuming water. Many people make the mistake of gulping down gallons of water before dawn or during Iftar. This sudden consumption may be needed but won’t keep you hydrated for long.
Make sure you consume enough water throughout the day, instead of slugging down a whole bottle. Consuming enough water along with eating healthy food with hydrating properties is your best bet to stay active throughout the day.
Ramadan is a spiritual time for Muslims around the world. It’s a holy month where they put their religious teachings to best use. In fact, Ramadan is not just about refraining from food, but it’s also about practicing patience and self-control. It is important to watch what you get into your body and make sure you always keep it healthy and hydrated.