How to deal with thirst during Ramadan
Dubai - We bring you some expert advice on how you can avoid getting too thirsty.
One of the most difficult part of fasting during summers is dealing with the thirst. We bring you some expert advie 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 fiber 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 specially 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.
Q7- Is the amount of sugar/sugary foods consumed related to experiencing thirst pangs during Ramadan?
Yes. Because the presence of high amounts of sugar in the intestines causes more water to be drawn into the intestine, resulting in increasing the water needs.
Information provided by May Al Joudeh - Dietitian, Medeor 24x7 International Hospital - A Unit of VPS