A Healthy Way to Prepare for Ramadan – By Dr. Shakeel Ahmad, Specialist Internal Medicine, iCARE Multi-specialty Clinics

dr-shakeelThe Holy Month of Ramadan is the month of fasting and prayers, where people fast from dawn to dusk. During the fast, the body rejuvenates itself and helps us detoxify by removing toxins from stomach, intestines and also boosts our immune system.

With the scorching summer heat and a daily fasting period of about 15 hours, adapting to the changes in eating habits and daily routine affect different people in different ways. Many think we will suddenly be ready for a fasting routine of Ramadan as it begins, but planning and preparation will make the transition a lot easier and help you have a better and healthier fast rather then drain and exhaust your body. Here are a few healthy ways to prepare yourself and your body for the routine of Ramadan.

Food consumption: Begin reducing your meals to only moderate quantities. Having large meals will increase your appetite and make it more difficult to fast.

Early breakfast: During Ramadan, we wake up early for Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal before the fast begins. It is important not to skip this. Start having an early breakfast from now to help your body get used to the earlier hours, especially if you are not much of a breakfast eater.

Avoid snacking: Stick to only having three main meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – and avoiding snacking in between.

Quit smoking during the day: To avoid irritability, anger, restlessness, impatience, and difficulty concentrating during fasting hours, reduce smoking during the day to mimic your routine when you fast. For those trying to quit smoking, Ramadan is a great time to quit bad habits such as smoking.

Reduce coffee intake: If you are a coffee-lover and do not want to have a pounding headache during the first few days of Ramadan, start reducing your caffeine intake now. Switch to decaf, one coffee at a time, until you are only drinking decaffeinated coffee.

Regulate sleep: If you normally sleep late and wake up late, start regulating your sleep from now, because during Ramadan you will be waking up early for Suhoor. You might also be sleeping earlier as a result. Alternatively, have an afternoon nap and sleep a little later. Whatever sleeping habit you choose, start to mimic it from now.

Consult a doctor: If you have concerns over your ability to fast for whatever reason, be it diabetes, high blood pressure or reflux, schedule an appointment with a doctor who will tell you if fasting is safe for your health.

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