Ramadan is a period of fasting that is observed by muslims all over the world. Whilst this fasting period is an extremely important period in the Muslim faith, we know from science that irregular meals can cause digestive symptoms to flare up.
This article outlines 5 ways in which you can help your digestive health this Ramadan.
Table of Contents
1. Staying Hydrated
Fluid is one of the most important factors in gut health and dehydration can lead to constipation and bloating.
Adults need anywhere between 1.5 – 3L of fluid each day which may be difficult during shorter periods of time. Please note that if you live in a hotter climate, you may require more fluid due to increased losses through sweating.
Try to keep track of your fluid intake during Ramadan by purchasing a water bottle or tracking fluids on an app such as My Fitness Pal.
The best fluid to drink is water – other fluids such as caffeine, fizzy drinks, sugar free cordials and fruit juice may aggravate digestive symptoms.
Also consider fluid foods e.g. fruit custards, yoghurt and soups – these all count towards that total fluid requirement.
Lack of fibre can lead to constipation, diarrhoea and bloating.
If you are only having 2 meals each day, meeting your 30g / day fibre needs is going to be difficult and your gut may suffer.
Sticking to traditional meals for Iftar is a great way to up your fibre intake and prevent any issues. Meals such as Harira, Mawmenye and lentil soup all contain good amounts of fibre.
Traditional foods at Suhoor are also naturally high in fibre which means that for most, just a few adjustments are needed.
Again, tracking your intake can help.
If you are still struggling with your fibre intake during Ramadan, a fibre supplement such as Psyllium may help.
Regular exercise is key to getting the gut moving, but during Ramadan you may find it it difficult to exercise due to lack of regular fluid and food.
Depending on what your body is used to, gentle exercise such as walking or swimming should be tolerated by most. However, try to do this activities during times where you are able to drink fluid.
Probiotics can benefit those with IBS and are an easy addition to your diet during Ramadan.
5. Get Enough Sleep
This period of time is often quite a social time for many and with meals not being eaten till quite late at night, a lack of sleep may become an issue.
Lack of sleep is linked to digestive health problems. We need around 7-9 hours sleep ideally each night. However, if this is not possible, try to plan in an afternoon nap each day.
You will also find that getting outside each day will help your quality of sleep. As will avoiding caffeine after mid-day.
Want Further Support?
If you would like further, 121 help during this period then please book in with one of my specialist gut-health dietitians. They can work with you via video link to assess your gut-health problems. The will then guide you through the process of gaining symptom control and enjoying your special Ramadan time.
To book for a complimentary call. Please click here.
Kirsten Jackson is a UK registered Consultant Gastroenterology Dietitian and founder of The Food Treatment Clinic. She has undergone many qualifications to get where she is today, including a UK BSc Honours Degree in Dietetics and Post-Graduate Certificate in Advanced Dietetics. In addition to this, she has FODMAP Training from Kings College London University. Kirsten set up The Food Treatment Clinic in 2015 after first experiencing digestive problems herself. She felt that the NHS was unable to provide the support individuals needed and went on to specialise in this area before opening a bespoke IBS service. Kirsten also participates in charity work as an Expert Advisor for the IBS Network. In addition, she can be seen in publications such as Cosmopolitan and The Telegraph discussing IBS as an Official Media Spokesperson to the IBS Network.