Water is the essence of nature and life. You can survive without food for weeks but that’s not the case with water. It is the most important fluid that can replenish your thirst during the holy month of Ramadan. Unfortunately, though, most people do not realize that as they only drink water to break their fast at Iftar then ignore it until the next day!
WHY DO WE NEED WATER?
Did you know that water makes up60%-70% of your body? It does! That’s why any reduction in your water intake can affect your body’s cells and nerves from functioning properly. It is absolutely essential to compensate the loss of water in your body, especially during Ramadan. Dehydration can cause undesirable side effects such as: constipation, headache, dizziness, tiredness and dry skin. In severe cases of dehydration, you might get more serious complications like kidney problems and seizures which means you’ll have to break your fast if you are that dehydrated.
WHY IS WATER THE BEST FOR THIRST INSTEAD OF OTHER RAMADAN DRINKS?
Water is absolutely the best drink to deal with thirst during Ramadan, and this is because:
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Unlike water, other drinks contain a lot of sugar and can result in you consuming extra unnecessary calories;
Drinking too much of the Ramadan drinks and other soft drinks will fill up your stomach and may delay your digestion process resulting in a lot of problems including gas, bloating, stomach pain, and weight gain.
GOOD TO REMEMBER
Water plays a significant role in weight loss and maintenance because it helps to get rid of toxins and reduce the feeling of hunger. This is why it is important to drink small quantities of water throughout the night.
HOW TO PREVENT GETTING THIRSTY DURING RAMADAN
If you are worried about thirst and dehydration, we have for you a few tips that will help you stay hydratedduring Ramadanand control your thirst duringfasting. You should also know that that the food that you eat plays a major role in controlling your thirst while you are fasting:
Drink at least eight glasses of water every day. If you are exercising in hot weather, you lose more fluids,So make sure you drink more water.
Avoid hot and spicy dishes as it increases thirst
Do not add too much salt to salads and other dishes. Also avoid eating salty foods as well like salted fish and pickles because they increase the body’s need for water as they cause water retention
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables because they are rich in water and fibre. They stay in the intestines for a long time and reduce thirst.
Drink fresh fruit juices rather than sweetened juices
Try not to drink large quantities of water all at once or a lot during a meal. Instead, drink water between your meals and throughout the day.
GOOD TO KNOW
Drinking iced water to break your fast does not replenish your thirst but can cause your blood vessels to contract and cause indigestion. For this reason, it is recommended that you drink water at room temperature or slightly coldif you prefer to.
Expert advice on how you can avoid getting too thirsty this Ramadan
Q1- Are there any particular foods to avoid eating to avoid thirst pangs during Ramadan?
Yes, any food containing simple sugar or added sugar with no or little dietary fibre content, such as: sweets, deserts with sugar syrup, sugary drinks, soft drinks, white bread, and pastries made with sugar and white flour, white pasta should not be consumed. Such foods are better avoided especially during Suhoor.
Q2- How much water should be consumed at Suhoor and Iftar?
Actually, it is advisable to avoid drinking a lot of water during Suhoor and Iftar. This is because having a lot of water during meals may dissolve the digestive enzymes resulting in indigestion, slowing of the bowel movement and increase in bloating and flatulence. It is better to drink small amounts of water throughout Iftar to Suhoor time to ensure sufficient hydration.
Q3- Are there any fruits and vegetables that improve the body's hydration levels for those observing a fast during Ramadan?
In general, all fruits and vegetables are great for hydration because they contain water and minerals that help the body in maintaining the balance of water and minerals inside resulting in better hydration levels. However, fruits and vegetables with higher water and potassium content also help in maintaining better hydration levels. These fruits and vegetables include banana, citrus fruits, watermelon, melon, cucumber, mango, pineapple, apple, zucchini, sweet potato, apricot, spinach, and lettuce.
Q4- In what way should tea and coffee be consumed during to avoid dehydration during Ramadan?
Caffeine-containing food and drinks should be consumed in moderation because they can cause dehydration. Examples include: coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate and dark chocolate. 2-3 cups (200 ml cup) of caffeinated drinks or 1-2 oz. of caffeinated food per day are good enough. However, what is important regarding consuming caffeine is to remember to increase water intake whenever caffeine is consumed to reduce dehydration.
Q5-Can fresh juices, yoghurt-based drinks be consumed instead of water?
Yes, such drinks are good for hydration and add to the amount of water to be consumed per day. However, such drinks contain high energy from sugar and sometimes fat. These drinks contribute towards weight gain and as mentioned above due to the contained sugar content, they increase hunger. So water is and will always be the best option for hydration.
Q6-What amount and kind of exercise should be done to avoid feeling thirsty when observing a fast during Ramadan?
When observing a fast during Ramadan the risk for lean muscle loss is increased, and so maintaining the muscle tone should be the priority. Weight resentence and muscle toning exercises are good options during Ramadan. Aerobic exercises increase the risk of dehydration due to the resultant sweating. That being said, no matter what type of exercise a person may choose or prefer, it is better to do the exercises in the night after Iftar, to be able to drink sufficient amounts of water to prevent dehydration and be able to eat food to help avoid muscle breakdown.
Information provided by May Al Joudeh - Dietitian, Medeor 24x7 International Hospital - A Unit of VPS