How much salt is good for your health during Ramadan?
Over-consumption of sodium mainly comes from food and preserved items such as ready-to-eat meals, frozen meals, deli meats, cooking stocks and other food items.
Is sodium or salt good for your health when fasting during Ramadan?
Nutritionist Riham Shamseddine, clinical dietitian and nutrition consultant at Right Bite, believes so. She tells Khaleej Times "that it is completely safe and healthy to consume a moderate (again, take note: moderate) amount of sodium to maintain a well-balanced diet."
"Sodium is one of the vital components of water and an important electrolyte in the body that helps in the normal functions of the muscles and nerves and is required for osmotic balance - or water and salt balance," she explains.
She adds that the over-consumption of sodium mainly comes from food and preserved items such as ready-to-eat meals, frozen meals, deli meats, cooking stocks and other food items.
According to Shamseddine, restricting the sodium intake by severe amounts could potentially lead to hypernatremia or low sodium level, which causes symptoms such as muscle cramps, headaches, fatigue, nausea and even more serious conditions such as confusion, hallucinations and decreased consciousness.
However, a 500ml bottle of natural water from an underground source contains only 10 mg of sodium and accounts for only 2.6 per cent of the 2300 mg of sodium recommended for a healthy adult, taking into consideration an intake of 2-3 litres of water per day
"It is highly essential to consume an adequate amount of bottled water during Ramadan to prevent common side effects such as constipation, headaches, dizziness and dry skin," Shamseddine underlines.
She recommends a balanced dietary intake, which includes an adequate amount of water, and not consuming excessively processed foods.
Here are her tips:
1. Ensure adequate consumption of fluids from the time of breaking the fast until Suhoor
2. Divide your water intake from Iftar to Suhoor instead of consuming it all at once
3. Consume fruits and vegetables that contain high amounts of water like green leafy vegetables, celery, cabbage, zucchini, cucumber, watermelon, sweet melon, oranges and citrus fruits.
4. Limit the total intake of sodium to less than 2300 mg per day as recommended by the American Heart Association
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