Health at Hand Doctor advice on how establish healthy habits post Ramadan Fasting

Doctor’s Advice: How to balance your body after Ramadan fasting

Fasting during the month of Ramadan brings many health benefits when done correctly, the daily fasts over the holy month will detoxify the body. Post-Ramadan, it is important not to reverse these positive changes. In today’s blog, Dr Zaib takes us through some top tips to get you back on track.

Fasting for 30 days has trained our bodies to eat and sleep during shorter time frames, from Iftar to Suhoor, and the body gets adapted to long hours of Ramadan fasting. We get used to less food at irregular times and post-Ramadan it may be difficult for the body to get back to “normal”.

When we fast, a variety of significant changes occur in our body. The Insulin hormone is regulated and used for the16 hours or more of fasting, and also our bowels get attuned to a shorter eating window.

Two very important hormonal changes occur to help us adapt to the fasting days. The first is the Anti-Diuretic Hormone, ADH,  which is produced in our pituitary gland and controls the excess loss of water through our kidneys as well as regulates our blood pressure.

The other is aldosterone, the hormone produced by our adrenal gland that regulates the electrolyte and fluid balance of our body. When we fast, the body adapts to low water content and low electrolyte balance and the kidneys retain fluid. Once out of the fast, it is very crucial to restore this delicate electrolyte balance gradually by slowly increasing fluid intake.

After Ramadan fasting, it is important to gradually increase our food intake. We should opt for 5 smaller meals, allowing our bodies to adapt to a new digestion pattern. This will ensure that our digestive system is not stressed and keeps us energized during the day. Focus on filling your plate with good quality proteins and leafy greens, fresh vegetables and good carbohydrates. Avoid eating foods that are high in sugar or fat, as this will slow down the metabolism and make it harder for you to get back on track after Ramadan.

As we are fasting during the warmer months, the heat and humidity can cause a loss of minerals through sweating. Try and reintroduce water slowly and regularly into the routine after a month long fast. This will not only flush out the kidneys and stop any water retention in the body, It will also regulate blood pressure and revive people who may be feeling dehydrated. The average need for an adult is to have at least 2.5 to three liters of water per day. People must try to have plain water or coconut water and rehydrate the body during the day, especially after Ramadan.

Since the body gets used to sleeping at late hours and getting up early morning for suhoor, it is important to restore the original sleeping rhythm after Ramadan. Try and get up early, have breakfast and then not go back to sleep. Re-establish an exercise routine and  try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity a few times per week. The readjustment of sleeping pattern will take a few days and during this time, it is important to avoid long siestas during the afternoon.

Health at Hand - How to adjust your body after Ramadan

Dr Zaib Shaikh

General Practitioner

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