As this sacred time of year is approaching, we should take the opportunity to acquire a healthy lifestyle and practice sound eating habits. Unfortunately, if fasting is not given extra consideration, the holy month of Ramadan may end up becoming an everyday feast after dusk, which definitely doesn't help the practice of spirituality, especially given that in Islam overeating is frowned upon.
Overeating, however, is not the only challenge of this month. I am sure that all of you are familiar with the headaches, the indigestion and the constipation that accompaniess the fasting days. Here are some of our tips to help you avoid them or at least minimize them when possible and allow you to focus on practicing spirituality.
Who can live without their morning coffee? Well, once the fasting starts that is exactly what you will do. Make it easier by cutting down on coffee and other caffeinated beverages gradually before the beginning of Ramadan. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, cola beverages and many energy drinks. So if you typically drink three cups a day, start by making it two and gradually bring it down to one or none before the start of the holy month.
Hydration is the key to preventing headaches, so make sure you drink plenty of water after iftar to stay hydrated. It also helps to stay away from the caffeinated beverages, as they are diuretics and will make you lose water. Another great tip is to cut down on salt, which when consumed in excess makes you thirsty. Drinking enough water also helps prevent constipation during fasting.
Fruits & Vegetables
Not only are they tasty and can be part of many traditional recipes and desserts, but fruits and vegetables are also nutrient powerhouses. Full of vitamins, minerals, fibers and water, they help replenish your body's nutrients after a long fasting day.
Hunger is one of the main culprits of headaches during Ramadan. The best way to minimize this is to consume whole grains, particularly at suhoor. Whole grains and beans such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat grain, freekeh, fava beans, lentils and chickpeas help slow the absorption of sugar in food. This allows for some sugar to go into the blood even during the first few hours of fasting, which helps to curb hunger.
Abstaining from cigarettes and shisha is one of the main causes of headaches. So, if you are smoker, this may actually be the best time for you to quit! But regardless, cutting down gradually before starting your fast is a great tip to keep those headaches away.
Wishing everyone a month full of faith and spirituality! Ramadan Kareem