How to stay hydrated during Ramadan
Quench your thirst
It means we’re all fasting, right? Yeah! So close the kitchen door and nap till 2pm because we are refraining from all things food and drink this month (as long as the sun is up, anyway).
Ramadan is set to fall from the evening of the 23 April to the evening of the 23 May this year. It's a wonderful month of self-reflection and spirituality; a time for heightened religious devotion and self-discipline. That said, fasting can be gruelling for some, especially those who don’t adequately prepare themselves for it. It’s easy to forget the rules of nutrition when your diet is restricted to the wee hours of the night, so dehydration is a pretty common phenomenon among Muslims at this time of year.
So, to save you a headache (literally), we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to help you stay hydrated during this Holy Month.
Make sure you’re drinking enough throughout the day
There’s a simple equation that will help you figure out how many ounces of water you should be drinking every day: simply take your weight in pounds and divide it by two. So, for someone who weighs 120 pounds, they’ll need to be drinking around 60 ounces of water a day which is roughly two litres!
Don’t chug water—sip it gradually
We can’t stress this enough: If you chug two litres just before you head back to bed, you’re going to throw up (Writer's note: this is definitely from personal experience). Instead, start sipping on water regularly from the moment the adhan for Maghrib sounds up until you go to bed, then again throughout your morning meal. It’s a much better way to keep all the food you ate down while staying hydrated. In fact, you should aim to drink around 500ml of water during Sahur to keep you going throughout the day, and drinking the remaining 1.5L of your daily intake in the evening.
If it helps, keep a bottle of water on your person or your nightstand so you have easy access to it throughout the night. Plus, if you’re usually forgetful when it comes to drinking water, mark the bottle with goals to keep yourself on track!
Buka puasa with two glasses of water and some dates
Speaking of breaking fast—doing so with dates has been a tradition since the times of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), and for good reason! Dates help your cells to store fluids as they are a natural source of glucose, which helps to increase the uptake of sodium and, therefore, water in the intestines. Once you’ve broken fast, pray Maghrib to allow the water-date concoction to work its magic then sit down for your meal (with another glass of water to chase it down).
Avoid sugary drinks
Ending Sahur with a glass of Coke or breaking fast with some Ribena will do you far more harm than good. When you drink lots of sugary drinks, your urine becomes more concentrated with sugar. Your kidneys then work to dilute it, so you end up losing more water content from your body. This is what leaves you feeling so sluggish—not the act of fasting itself. In addition to that, caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it makes you go to the loo more; whether this leaves you more dehydrated than before is still unknown, but you’ll certainly feel that way psychologically after your fourth trip to the loo.
In fact, there was a study done in 2016 that showed that trying to rehydrate your body with sugary drinks (such as after a long day of fasting) worsened the dehydration, and potentially exacerbated dehydration-associated kidney damage. So, yeah. Let's just stick to water.
Avoid salty food
Like with sugary drinks, too high a salt intake can also cause you to lose more water through your kidney filtration system, so your best bet is to avoid super salty foods during the day. At the very least, try to avoid them specifically during Sahur, lest you spend the rest of the day delirious and dizzy. If you simply must have your salty fix (because let's be real—salt is so tasty), eating it for Iftar instead of Sahur gives you the whole night to make up for it with lots and lots of water.
Load up on fruits and veggies
Instead of salty and sugary grub, choose foods with a high water content such as vegetables like cucumbers, spinach or tomatoes and fruits such as watermelons, strawberries or apples. They’re a tasty treat and a great way to sneak more hydration into your diet. Plus, there are so many ways to eat them—try a salad or a smoothie!
Don’t sweat it
This one is a little more difficult to avoid if your job is based outdoors, but lucky for you it's looking like the MCO may just go on forever (hopefully not). Seize the opportunities the indoors hold and use isolation as an excuse to avoid sweating yourself to dehydration. Keep to cooler, drier rooms and go easy on the workouts.