It has been quite some time now, where the holy month of Ramadan synergizes with summer challenging persons fasting in every single aspect of their lives.
As tailoring and personalizing one’s nutrition/supplement program and training regimen according to the aspired target are the basic rules to be applied in constructing a successful plan, Ramadan does not mark any difference from other periods of the year, in terms of planning ahead.
Staying properly hydrated is among the most important commandments a person has to stick to in order to avoid thermal stress and severely diminished mental and physical performance.
In Ramadan, a lot of people face the controversy of combining their passion and benefits of drinking caffeine and the fear of becoming dehydrated.
Many studies show caffeine reduces response times and error rates in simple reaction time tasks, choice reaction time, and visual vigilance.In greater quantities (greater than 2 grams), insomnia, agitation, tremors, and rapid breathing begin to appear. Caffeine stimulates the heart, increasing blood pressure, causes bronchial relaxation (can be used as an antiasthmatic drug), increases gastric acid production, and boosts the metabolic rate. Caffeine also fits the definition of an addictive substance, with withdrawal symptoms, an increase in tolerance over time, and physical cravings. But in order for caffeine to exert a claimed and feared diuretic action, mega doses way above 300 mg must be ingested in one single dose, which is very unrealistic. Also the status of hydration of the person in question-besides the environmental circumstances- play a significant role in the effect of caffeine on the water content of the person examined. You can ingest their preferred caffeine drink in moderation and preferably closer to the Iftar time (breakfast) rather than the Sohour meal, as ingesting caffeine closer to the latter may negatively impact sleep and levels of melatonin circulating in the blood stream.
As people fasting for Ramadan go without water throughout their fasts, they do often end up somewhat dehydrated. That’s why Ramadan Iftar traditionally begins with fruit, soups, and other hydrating foods. These foods also help decrease the urge to binge on other, less-nutritious foods and empty calorie food. You must focus on eating fruits and vegetables rich in water. These so-called “water dispensers have numerous advantages, especially during the coming hot summer. The higher the water content in the blood vessels, the lower the dehydration possibility and possible reduction in blood viscosity, and the greater the mental and physical performance of the person in question, as long as electrolytes are present in the required concentration.
A closer look should also be given to the relation between blood viscosity and the speed of delivering nutrients/removing cell toxins from and to target cells and their respective organs.
Therefore all meals and snacks including Iftar and Sohour should be full of water rich fruits and vegetables which are also low in glycemic index/glycemic load, to supply the body with macronutrients, minerals, fibers, vitamins etc. while at the same time preventing any fluctuations in the blood sugar level, which may cause hunger pangs.
Best strategy for having a healthy Iftar and Sohour
It is advisable to break the fasting period immediately at sun set by having a small portion of dates (very rich in nutrients) and a glass of skimmed or reduced fat milk to stimulate the digestive system and to give a signal to the brain that food is slowly coming in. During the prayer time following the dates and the milk, dates and milk will slowly stimulate the insulin secretion in the human body and prepare it for the following nutrients, by slowly stimulating the digestive enzymes. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) prayed after having some dates and fluids before sitting down to have his Iftar meal. This strategy will also prevent any occurrence of indigestion, which takes place when the digestive system is overwhelmed by horrendous amounts of food floods entering the body, withdrawing the blood carrying oxygen from the vital organs to aid in the complicated digestion process, thus giving the feeling of dizziness and lightheadedness.
The scientific explanation can be understood from the following study:
The UK’s Blood Pressure Association published results of a Japanese study in which researchers found that eating quickly increased odds of being overweight by 84 percent for men and more than 50 percent for women. Scientists are unsure why slow chewing seems to yield positive weight loss results. According to the Blood Pressure Association, one possible explanation is that the body’s natural signals for fullness tend to react on a somewhat delayed schedule and, as a consequence, it can sometimes take 15 or 20 minutes after eating for a person to begin to feel full. People who eat quickly and wait until the fullness signal kicks in might end up consuming more calories than those who chew slowly and stop short of becoming completely full.
In order to keep the metabolism on high revs, people who fast are advised to go for 3 meals composed of Iftar, a light but nutritionally balanced and complete snack and Sohour. One should endeavor to guarantee a constant time span between successive meals, to prevent hunger attacks due to the sudden drop in blood sugar. This will also minimize the possibility of indigestion and fat storage, as the calories to be taken in are equally spread over a long period of time.
There are however food items that should be minimized or preferably completely removed from the Ramadan menus, which are:
Salty food in general, as they cause severe water retention. People and seniors who suffer from high blood pressure are especially advised to refrain from ingesting high sodium food, as this kind of food may augment the already high blood pressure and put more strain on the heart.
Pickles, infinite amounts of sweets, foods rich in fat.
Generally things that should be avoided during the whole year should definitely be avoided during Ramadan. As a matter of fact, one should always opt for the fat free, low carb option.
Now, and by implementing the above-mentioned tips, our readers will not have one single reason to avoid going to the gym or following their structured training and detailed fitness program to reach their aspired dream. And the energizing sun rays will not be a reason to keep our readers at home, piling on pounds of fats, thus destroying their hard-earned bodies.