7 Ways to Stay Hydrated and Nourished
The first week of Ramadan has flown by and you must be feeling tired but getting into the groove of fasting. Maybe you are feeling extra hungry or thirsty because you are not eating the proper food and drink to keep you nourished during the day. Don’t fret just yet because the rest of your Ramadan is going to be different, this year Salaam Nutritionals is by your side where we set you up for a more successful, less onerous fast. We are going to provide you with a list of the most nutritious satiating foods and hydrating drinks that you won’t even remember you are fasting. Just don’t sit in the break room during your lunch.
Water. Staying hydrated is what’s going to prevent your body from feeling exhausted and your organs from going haywire. Our bodies are made up of ~ 70% water so if we don’t “water” it, our cells and organs will not work properly. The amount of water everyone drinks will vary but generally, you want to ensure your urine is clear to a pale yellow color if its dark yellow then that’s a sign of dehydration. Dehydration leads to common complaints such as headaches, exhaustion, and lightheadedness all things most people contribute to fasting but in reality, it’s not the fast that’s causing these issues, its lack of water. If you don’t enjoy plain water you can spruce it up by adding fresh mint leaves, slices of cucumbers, or a thin wedge of lemon. Depending on your age, weight, and medical condition try to drink between two to three liters of water a day.
Watermelon Juice. Watermelon is incredibly hydrating and you retain up to 92% of the liquid from the watermelon that you drink! If that wasn’t enough reason for you to take out your blender, watermelon also contains high amounts of electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus that maintain your fluid balance. It’s carotenoid (it’s what gives watermelon its iconic red color) content also protects your cells from damage and cardiovascular effects so you really get the most bang for your buck.
Coconut Water. Coconut Water has been touted as the latest “super food” because of its hydration effects largely due to its electrolyte profile. At 95% water content it’s a sure way to keep hydrated in these long spring days. Consuming drinks with a high electrolyte profile will be easily be absorbed at the cellular level resulting in more efficient hydration because your body is getting multiple nutrients it needs from all the electrolytes.
Fats/Avocado. This is a personal favorite of mine. These bad boys are loaded with monounsaturated fats which means they will keep you full for hours. They are high in calories so 1/4th or half an avocado with eggs at suhoor should be enough to keep you full until midday. Olive oil and coconut oil are another great type of fat that you could drizzle over your food to help keep you full.
Eggs/Protein. These little guys are packed with protein, in fact, one large egg has six grams of protein and it only takes minutes for them to cook. Getting adequate protein is important to stay full and to prevent muscle loss. Having some boiled eggs with a protein shake is a sure fire way to feeling full all day. If you are not a breakfast food’s person be sure to get your protein from your leftover dinner by eating chicken, fish, or lean meats with a healthy carbohydrate such as sweet potatoes.
Fiber. Fiber deserves a category on its own since there are so many fiber-rich foods. Fiber is going to be extremely important for everyone because it keeps you full, promotes a healthy digestive tract, and it slows the rate that sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. When you eat foods high in fiber the sugars in those foods are absorbed slower which prevents your blood sugar from rising too fast. This is good because when blood sugars spike, insulin is released and you get that “crash” feeling which makes you tired and wants to eat again. Fiber-rich foods include cruciferous vegetables, lentils, whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice, etc.
Greek Yogurt. You want to stick with greek yogurt over regular yogurt because there is less sugar and more protein. Removing the whey from the yogurt produces a thicker creamier yogurt with a tart taste. Having a rich nutrient dense base is a great way to add other toppings such as nuts and honey for a filling breakfast. Stay away from any yogurt that is pre-packed with fruit or fruit filling as its usually loaded with extra sugar. A healthier alternative is you adding your choice of fresh fruit to your serving so you can control the sugar content.
Some general tips on what types of ingredients to avoid. Try to avoid spicy and salty foods as they make you thirsty and increase your need for water, instead use fresh herbs to make your food more flavorful. As much as we hate to be the bearer of bad news but you must limit your coffee and tea intake because they act like diuretics which means they make you pee more which will lead to increased water needs. And finally, try not to chug your water before suhoor [pre-dawn meal] or after iftar [breaking of fast], because you will flush it out soon after so it’s better to spread it out. Take a bottle of water with you to night-prayers, drink water after your dinner, and before suhoor. You can add some flavor to your water by adding fresh mint leaves and cucumber slices. If you don’t like plain water you can drink coconut water which is loaded with electrolytes or make some refreshing watermelon juice to keep you hydrated.