RamadanGreeting_InnerFasting is an important part of Ramadan, and is often a very rigorous practice. Here are a few tips to ensure that your health remains uncompromised during this season:

1. Plan your meal schedule ahead of time. Carefully plan what food you will be taking during suhoor and especially at iftar to ensure you get the right nutrients and hydration you need.

For suhoor: Eat suhoor just prior to dawn and focus on food that is rich in complex carbohydrates and protein, as well as fruits or vegetables, and plenty of water. Avoid fried and spicy foods as they may cause heartburn and indigestion. Also avoid drinking too much tea as tea causes a person to urinate more frequently, taking with it valuable mineral salts that your body would need throughout the day.

At iftar: Break your fast with something nutritious, like dates or fresh juice. Consuming dates, in particular, has become a traditional way to start iftar because they are high in natural sugars, vitamins and minerals which make them great for an immediate energy boost. It is also good to have a protein source such as nuts to help avoid a post sugar slump.

Do not overeat: This is something that most people tend to do, especially at iftar. But a large heavy meal that is difficult to digest is the last thing your body needs after a day of not consuming anything. Doing so would only make you feel bloated and sluggish or even cause indigestion.

Instead, break your fast as suggested above, or have a light meal such as soup or a salad. Then wait an hour or until you are hungry again for you to eat a heavier, high quality and high calorie meal. You can also split this heavy meal into smaller portions, the rest of which you can finish later.

Remember to eat slowly, chew your food thoroughly and drink enough fluids afterwards.

2. Schedule a period for resting. Make sure you get enough sleep at night. During the hottest part of the day, stay indoors or under a shade and limit your physical activity. If you have time to nap during the afternoon, do so.

3. Don’t give up on exercise and personal hygiene. You can engage in light exercise for about 15-20 minutes after breaking a fast or anytime during the evening so that you can refuel and avoid dehydration during your workout. Also remember that fasting does not mean you should also give up bathing or cleaning your teeth. You may do so at any time of the day during Ramadan.

4. Use this opportunity to get rid of bad habits. On regular days, people often have difficulty staying away from habits such as smoking. However, during Ramadan many smokers find they are able to refrain from smoking until they break their fast. Avoiding these bad habits during Ramadan could be your first step in leading a healthier lifestyle.

5. Consult a doctor about the safety of fasting in individual health circumstances. If you have an existing medical condition or are unfit, speak to your doctor about how fasting will affect your health. Your doctor can provide advice on how to prepare and what should do during the time that you have to fast. Consider asking your doctor to recommend an appropriate multivitamin.