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* Fasting during Ramadan, especially during the summers, can cause dehydration. Make sure you consume clean, drinking water after you break your fast (iftar) and during the period until the pre-dawn meal (suhoor), to keep your body well hydrated. Also, stay indoors where it’s cooler (or in the shade) during the hottest part of the day and limit your physical activity. This will conserve your energy and keep you comfortable.
* Lemonade and citrus juices are a healthy and refreshing complement to an iftar meal. Citrus juices, high in vitamin C, rejuvenate the body after a long day of fasting. Add a sprig of mint to the drink, as the herb alleviates nausea, aids digestion and is a natural stimulant to relieve fatigue.
* Dates are an integral part of meals during Ramadan and with good reason: they offer a host of nutrients such as fibre, vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, magnesium and copper. They provide nutrients that the body needs and may not receive consistently during a period of prolonged fasting. Eat them fresh or dried for a burst of energy at both iftar and suhoor.
* Don’t overindulge in heavy and fried meals at iftar, as this can cause indigestion and weight gain. Instead, opt for steamed, grilled, baked or shallow fried dishes. Make sure you eat a balanced meal, including carbohydrates, protein and good fats, which satiates your hunger, and is nutritious.
* Desserts are an important part of an iftar meal. However, overindulgence can lead to weight gain. Instead, eat fresh fruit, or dried fruit and nuts. Ensure that you store the fruit in a cool place during summer.
* For suhoor, eat meals that are rich in complex carbohydrates, protein and fiber, with a low glycemic index (if possible), as they will keep you feeling full for longer, and release the energy your body needs over a sustained period of time.
* Limit strenuous exercise during Ramadan especially if you are fasting. A 20-minute walk at a gentle pace, after your evening meal, will aid digestion and your general well-being.
* Yoga and meditation may help you deal with changes in your schedule, especially those linked to eating and sleeping patterns.
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