Maintaining normal fluid levels plays an important role in staying healthy during Ramadan, according to Ashwak Muhamad, a dietitian at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).

Muhamad said:

Water is one of the most important components of the human body, representing between 60% to 70% of the human body weight. It plays an important role in maintaining the performance of body systems and organs. Water maintains the balance of electrolytes within the body and it is necessary for the absorption of many nutrients. Water also provides a suitable environment for many of the body’s chemical reactions.’

According to the new recommendations by the United States-based Institute of Medicine, men and women should drink 3.7 litres and 2.7 litres of water respectively per day.

Muhamad added:

During the holy month of Ramadan, it is important to drink plenty of fluids, especially water because of the long period of fasting together with the high temperatures. Water, juices and soups as well as vegetables and fruits are good sources of fluids for the body.’

She added that a fasting person should drink more water than any other drink because water contains no calories and can compensate for the loss of body’s fluids due to fasting.

Muhamad said:

Other calorie-rich drinks can cause weight gain and stimulant drinks such as coffee and tea can increase fluid loss because they are diuretics. Some vegetables such as watercress and fruits like watermelon which are known for their high water content are recommended as a rich source of liquids.’

Eating food which is high in salt and hot spices can make people who are fasting feel even thirstier than usual, increasing the body’s need for water. Eating such foods is therefore not recommended at Suhoor as they can cause people to feel extremely thirsty when fasting.

She noted:

It is also better to drink lukewarm water instead of cold water especially at Iftar as this aids digestion. In order to encourage more water to be drunk, lemon slices or mint can be added to give it a sweet flavour and make it tastier to drink. Water is vital to life and without it the body may not perform some of its vital functions efficiently.’

Hamad Medical Corporation in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and the Primary Health Care Corporation has launched a website dedicated to helping the people of Qatar stay healthy during the holy month of Ramadan.

For important information on healthy eating as well as other strategies for staying safe and well this Ramadan, visit hamad.qa/ramadanhealth.


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