Stay energized and healthy with these expert fasting tips.
(Medically reviewed by Grant Tinsley, PhD — Written by Azra Chatur on April 9, 2021)
The holy month of Ramadan is a special month of the year for Muslims around the world. This is a time when Muslims connect more deeply with their religion, reflect on themselves, and give back to their community.
There are different kinds of Muslims and different traditions within the religion. When it comes to Ramadan, fasting is a ritual shared by nearly all.
Fasting during Ramadan involves not eating food or drinking water between sunrise and sunset for the entire month.
Ramadan provides the reward of self-growth and the opportunity to learn more about our religion and ourselves. These spiritual rewards require hard work and dedication to praying, a commitment to charity, and willpower when fasting.
Muslims follow a calendar based on the motion of the moon. Every year, Ramadan falls 15 days earlier than the last. Depending on where you live in the world, the days may be short or long.
The month often begins with an optimistic energy, and practitioners may set many spiritual goals. However, it can be easy to falter as you try to maintain your health while fasting and balancing your regular day-to-day responsibilities.
Here are some practical tips and tricks to support a safe, successful fast during Ramadan.
1. Don’t skip your morning meal
There are only two opportunities to eat during Ramadan: in the early morning before sunrise (Suhoor) and after sunset in the evening (Iftar).
The morning meal can be easy to skip, as it’s difficult to have an appetite so early in the morning.
However, Nazima Qureshi, RD, MPH and author of The Healthy Ramadan Guide, explains that it’s extremely important that you don’t skip this meal. The food choices you make will affect your energy throughout the day.
“A lot of times people will turn to simple carbohydrates for the morning meal,” says Qureshi. “But simple carbohydrates will not provide long-term energy.”
Instead, she recommends eating whole grains paired with healthy fats and proteins as well as fruits and veggies. These include dishes such as: savory oatmeal
power pancakes, strawberry-chocolate overnight oats
Drinking water is vitally important and has many health benefits.
Not drinking enough water can result in poor mood and increased tiredness. This can affect energy levels and memory.
Maintaining water intake can also help manage chronic health conditions and has a role in preventing and treating headaches, migraines, kidney stonesTrusted Source, and constipation, as well as maintaining blood pressureTrusted Source.
There’s also some evidence that staying hydrated lowers appetite. This is especially useful when you can’t eat for the entire day!
But how do you stay hydrated when you can’t drink water between sunrise and sunset?
Use the time before sunrise and after sunset as an opportunity to rehydrate and meet the recommended water intake. Keep a water bottle close throughout the night and drink whenever possible.
It can also be helpful to pay attention to the foods you’re eating. While sweets during Ramadan can be very tempting, try to choose foods with high water content instead.
Qureshi recommends integrating water-filled fruits and vegetables into your evening meal, such as: