Days when the holy month of Ramadan used to come in winter are now a distant memory. For years to come, get used to fasting through long days of summer, where the first concern is dehydration; it can leave you feeling tired, moody, trigger bouts of headaches, while affecting concentration and productivity.
Dr Maha Radamis, member of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians offers valuable advice to prevent robbing our bodies of moisture:
"Although fasting involves abstaining from food and drink , it is the latter that really affects our performance especially in hot weather as we continuously lose fluids across the hour through sweating, respiration and excretion, then we only have nine hours to replace those lost fluids, "says Dr Radamis.
The importance of water should never be underestimated. It makes up 70% of our bodies, 85% of our brains, and 75% of our muscles. It is vital for almost every important task our body performs including dispelling wastes, maintaining stable body temperature, facilitating digestion and transporting nutrients. Neglecting the replacement of those fluids is no laughing matter from the moment we break our fasting.
That being emphasised, we should note that taking into consideration water from food, drinking six to eight glasses a day from dusk till dawn is our target.
Radamis encourages indulging oneself in the delights of the beverages of Ramadan:
"The traditional drinks that Egyptians consume in Ramadan are not only a great way to replace the lost fluids through the day, but they also hold great nutritional value. For example, the hibiscus drink or karkade is rich in organic acids, especially glycosides, which help to reduce sodium concentration without modifying potassium levels. It is also renowned for its role in helping to reduce high blood pressure.
The liquorice drink or irqisous, it is packed with benefits: it regulates the heart beat, is rich in fibre, and is extremely beneficial for the immune system.
Another popular beverage in Ramadan is a tamarind drink or tamrhindi. This is very good for enhancing the metabolism and helps to reduce acidity in the stomach. Other common drinks that are popular in Ramadan include a drink made from crushed carob pods kharroub, and dried apricot juice amar eldin.
The former is rich in calcium and vitamin A, is a natural laxative and contains plenty of antioxidants; while the latter is a great source of fibre, vitamins C, A, B1, and B2 in addition to various minerals such as iron, magnesium, and potassium."
Apart from drinking the recommended amount of water and fluids after iftar, steering clear from the sun and extreme heat is one way to avoid dehydration. Abiding by the rule of eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is another way of ensuring you get as much water as possible from your food. In addition you should target types of food naturally loaded with fluids like water melon, lettuce, strawberries, broccoli, and citrus fruits.
Other tips include keeping record of how many glasses of water you consume by distributing them across the hour. For those who don’t fancy plain water, adding a flavour like a squeeze of lemon or mint could be a good idea.