Thirst is a sign of dehydration, so if you are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated. And while drinking water is not an option in the long fasting days of Ramadan, thirst has become a usual companion throughout the days of the holy month, especially on the hotter ones.
Staying hydrated during Ramadan can be tricky due to changes in eating and sleeping habits combined with this year’s expected heat wave.
Losing water throughout the day in a variety of normal and vital functions and not replacing fluids can lead to dehydration, which presents another challenge during Ramadan.
So, in addition to limiting direct exposure to the sun and wearing cotton clothes as a way of keeping cool.
Here are ten tips to help you avoid thirst in Ramadan:
- Drink at least eight glasses of water during non-fasting hours, taking frequent sips. Water hydrates the body better than fizzy drinks and fruit juices, but don’t drink very large amounts in one go, as your body won’t be able to absorb it.
- Avoid drinking coffee, tea and soft drinks that contain caffeine due to their diuretic properties that cause the body to lose water quickly.
- Try to delay the Sohour meal until after midnight to be able to resist the feeling of thirst during the following day.
- Reduce your intake of Ramadan sweets: These can cause a higher degree of thirst because they contain a large proportion of sugars.
- Avoid high temperatures: It is better to sit in air-conditioned places and not to be exposed to sunlight directly.
- Eat water-rich, juicy fruits like watermelon, grapes, apples, oranges, kiwis or citrus fruits. You can also opt for vegetables that contain high amounts of water like green leafy vegetables, cucumbers, tomato salad, celery, cabbage and courgettes to help keep you hydrated.
- Don’t skip eating yoghurt for Sohour: This helps to soothe your stomach and prevent acidity, eventually preventing you from getting dehydrated. In general, opt for light and healthy Sohour meals with adequate amounts of water and fibre that reduce feelings of hunger and thirst.
- Drink Ramadan juices like hibiscus, carob or liquorice. These don’t contain artificial colours, protect the body from many diseases and compensate for the loss of fluids.
- Avoid salty and spicy food such as pickles, olives and salted fish, as well as those that contain large quantities of spices. These can increase the chances of stomach acidity and thus increase the need for the body to process liquids, also increasing the feeling of thirst.
- Limit the total intake of sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day as recommended by the American Heart Association.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 22 April, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly