How to stay hydrated during Ramadan and foods to avoid
During Ramadan, staying hydrated is one of the most important considerations for people who are fasting.
About 60 to 70 percent of the human body is made up of water, which carries oxygen and vital nutrients to our cells. This also helps regulate body temperature, among other things, which is important for those living in hot climates like the United Arab Emirates.
“Staying hydrated during Ramadan can be difficult, especially with the long days and rising temperatures that accompany the holy month as it falls into summer,” says Dr. Thamir Alkasab, Specialist in Urology at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai.
We all lose water throughout the day through breathing, sweating and going to the bathroom and not replacing these fluids can lead to dehydration, which is a challenge during Ramadan. However, there are measures you can take to mitigate the loss.
“You can protect yourself from dehydration in two ways: first, by staying hydrated before sunrise and after sunset, and second, by limiting the amount of water you lose during the day,” says Alkasab.
“Drink plenty of water in frequent sips outside of fasting periods. Water hydrates the body better than carbonated drinks and fruit juices. Don’t drink too much water at once because your body can’t absorb it all. Avoid drinking coffee, tea, and caffeinated soft drinks, as these make you go to the bathroom more often and lead to dehydration,” he says.
dr Mona Mobarak, a nutritionist who works closely with Abu Dhabi 360, also suggests eating water-rich foods during iftar and suhoor. “Try to eat fluid-rich fruits and vegetables like apples, watermelons, cucumbers, blueberries, tomatoes and spinach,” she says. “They help keep hydration levels high during the day, which helps with energy levels.”
She also suggests limiting salt intake whenever possible. “Salt can have an immediate effect on thirst when eaten in excess,” she says. “When cooking, swap out salt for herbs, spices, lemon, and lime to add flavor.”
Being outside in warm temperatures leads to further fluid loss through sweating and faster breathing, says Alkasab. Therefore, it is better for staying hydrated to opt for a lighter form of exercise, such as walking. B. Walking or cycling at cooler times of the day.
“Just because you’re not thirsty doesn’t mean you’re not dehydrated,” he says. “Look out for warning signs like yellow urine, decreased frequency or volume of urine, and feeling faint or dizzy. Brown urine is a sign that you are severely dehydrated and should see a doctor.”
Alkasab also offers advice for those with children who may be fasting for the first time this Ramadan. “Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, after breaking your fast and before bed – children aged 9 to 13 need an average of two liters of water during the day, while older children, especially boys, need around 2.5 litres to stay properly hydrated.”
He also says sugary foods should be kept to a minimum as they can leave children very thirsty the next day, while eating whole grains, dried fruit and high-fiber foods will help them with important bathroom visits.
Encouraging kids to wash their faces and necks throughout the day will keep them cool and avoid excessive sweating, Alkasab says, and suggests limiting exercise or playing outside during the hottest parts of the day.
A version of this story first appeared on The National in May 2020
Updated March 24, 2023 7:08 am