A strategy to combat thirst in Ramadan
The feeling of thirst in the month of Ramadan becomes intense when it falls in summer so how can we help our bodies maintain water, resist the feeling of thirst, and reduce its intensity?
The feeling of thirst in the month of Ramadan becomes intense in summer because the period of fasting may extend to more than 14 hours a day. The body continues to lose water throughout these hours. At the time of Iftaar (the fast-breaking meal), one is in urgent need of prompt and adequate compensation for the liquids it lost. However, it is possible to help our bodies maintain water, resist the feeling of thirst, and reduce its intensity by following the principles of healthy nutrition during the month of fasting. Therefore, exerting some effort to avoid thirst would be easier than bearing the suffering.
Our allies against thirst
Water: is the best of drinks and cannot be compensated for by any other drink. Experts recommend drinking one liter and a half of water daily, preferably containing mineral, salts in order to compensate the salts that the body loses, especially while sweating. The following tips should be taken into account when dealing with water:
- Do not leave the bottle of water for a long time after opening it and drinking it without use because the bacteria which are present in the mouth and the environment around us can be active in it and are a source of infection.
- Wash the bottle and its lid with hot water and soap when refilling it along with changing it from time to time.
- You can add some healthy elements to the glass of water you drink, such as slices of lemon, fresh mint leaves or grated ginger.
- To get rid of the taste of chlorine pour the water into a large bowl and leave it for about one hour before drinking it.
Liquids of all types: particularly hydrating beverages and natural fruit juices which contain minerals. It is advisable to avoid juices containing unnatural substances and colors, which contain large amounts of sugar. These substances damage health and cause allergies.
Fresh fruits and vegetables: it is preferable to eat fresh vegetables and fruits at night and in the Suhoor (pre-dawn) meal. This is because they contain considerable amounts of water and fiber that remain for a long time in the intestines. This actually reduces the feeling of hunger and thirst. Cucumber is one of the most popular vegetables that combat thirst because it soothes the thirst and cools the body. It also helps to alleviate neurological disorders, and it contains nutritious cellulose fibers which facilitate the process of digestion, expel toxins, and cleanse the intestines
Delaying the Suhoor meal: the Sunnah recommends that the Muslim to delay his Suhoor meal. Therefore, it is preferable to have this meal after midnight, so that the fasting person will be able to resist thirst, especially in the first days of fasting. The Suhoor meal should preferably be a light meal.
Thieves stealing water from the body
Salt: salty foods increase the body's need for water; therefore, it is advisable to avoid adding a lot of salt on the food and stay away from foods with high salinity, such as salted fish and pickles. It is preferable to replace the salt with drops of lemon in salad as they adjust the taste just as well.
Spices and seasonings: meals and foods containing a large proportion of spices and condiments require drinking large quantities of water following ingestion. That is because these foods absorb water as they are taken, from the pharynx mouth and stomach causing dryness in the body, and thus the feeling of thirst. So, the fasting person should avoid eating spicy foods which contain a lot of seasoning, especially in the Suhoor meal.
Stimulants: It is recommended that the fasting person reduces the amount of stimulants like tea and coffee because they contain caffeine, which increases the activity of the kidneys and enhances its role in the excretion of urine. Thus, stimulants increase the process of losing water from the body. It should also be noted that tea and coffee cannot be considered alternatives to water; because their hot nature does not allow the fasting person to drink a large amount of them.
Soda drinks: they contain carbon which causes flatulence and a feeling of fullness and prevents the body from using liquids. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid soda drinks during the Iftaar meal.
Direct sunlight: the fasting person should avoid direct exposure to sunlight for long periods of time. The ways of mitigating the heat of the sun and thus avoiding thirst are as follows:
- Taking frequent showers with warm water to cool the body and using soap to get rid of body oils that may block the pores.
- Blocking out the sun from entering the house in the afternoon as much as possible by closing the blinds or curtains.
- Wearing light-colored and loose clothes preferably made of cotton to absorb sweat.
- Resting to the extent which is commensurate with the effort done in order to renew the body's dynamic energy.
6 myths to overcome thirst in Ramadan
1- Drinking adequate amounts of liquids with a high concentration of sugar hydrates the body and repels thirst.
Fact: Liquids with a high concentration of sugar urge the body to increase the flow of urine and increase the feeling of thirst. Therefore, it is recommended that the fasting person eats sweets moderately in Ramadan as well as only drinking small amounts of drinks with high sugar concentration.
2- Drinking plenty of water at the Suhoor meal protects from thirst during the fast.
Fact: the kidneys expel the extra water which is not needed by the body after a few hours, leading to disturbance of the fasting person during sleep because he needs to go to the bathroom. This causes fatigue during the day.
3- Drinking very cold or iced water at the start of the Iftaar quenches thirst.
Fact: Drinking iced water at the beginning of the Iftaar severely affects the stomach, reducing the efficiency of digestion and leading to the constriction of the capillaries thus causing some digestive disorders. Therefore, the water temperature should be average or only mildly cool, and the fasting person should drink it slowly, not all at once.
4- Drinking water while eating food provides a greater opportunity for good digestion.
Fact: Drinking water while eating disrupts the flow of saliva on the food such that the food does not mix well with the saliva in the mouth, and thus it is difficult to digest and the body scarcely benefits from it. Therefore, doctors advise people not to drink water while eating except for very little to help swallow the food.
5- Drinking plenty of water after the completion of the food directly helps in the process of digestion and extinguishes thirst.
Fact: Drinking plenty of water after eating directly in fact hampers the digestion process and prevents the digestive system from completing its function properly. That is, drinking an abundance of water prevents the secretion of gastric juices. The correct way is that the person should drink just a little water after the Iftaar to quench his thirst. The best time to drink plenty of water is about two hours after Iftaar, and it is preferable that the fasting person drinks small amounts of water at intervals during the night throughout the period between the Iftaar and Suhoor meals and not wait to feel thirsty before drinking water.
6- Frequent drinking of water leads to obesity
Fact: Recent studies have shown that water plays an important role in losing weight because water helps increase the secretion of the hormone Noradrenaline which increases the activity of the nervous system and increases the burning of fat, and thus helps to get rid of excess weight.