Dubai: Have you been paying attention to hydration over the last three weeks of Ramadan? Along with balanced nutrition, it is important to be well-hydrated while observing fast, say nutritionists.
As temperatures rise, one tends to lose body heat and moisture during the day while fasting and one must include enough water-rich fruits and vegetables at suhour and iftar to replenish the electrolytes lost during the day.
Dr Juliot Vinolia, clinical dietician and consultant nutritionist at Medeor24/7 Hospital, pointed out that hydration was not just about feeling thirsty and replenishing with water. “Our body has to have the correct potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium balance and these together form our electrolyte balance. Lack of fluids causes dehydration and leeching of these essential salts causes dizziness and fainting spells.”
After ending a fast, make sure to have water, coconut juice and fresh potassium-rich juice of water melon during major meals to replenish your electrolyte balance, she added.
Mitun de Sarkar, nutritionist and dietician, seconded the advice.
“Food gives you energy, your fuel and calories to function but water gives you much more than that. You can live without food for a long period of time but without water there is no chance.”
Emphasising on the importance of proper hydration, De Sarkar said: “Fifty to 60 per cent of your total body weight is water and it mainly constitutes your blood. So water helps in transporting oxygen from the blood to various parts and organs of the body, regulates your body temperature and hormones and transports the necessary electrolytes and nutrients to various parts of the body including your bones and joints.
“It supports our digestive system, helps the process of elimination, controls the liver and kidney function and prevents dryness of your eyes, nose, mouth and various parts of your body. If you don’t drink your minimum recommendation of water, it does affect your cells and your functioning,” she added.
On an average, every individual should drink about 2 to 2.5 litres of water per day but this measurement may increase in volume depending on the climatic conditions and activity levels. If you do strenuous exercise, after iftar and tend to sweat a lot, or if an individual weighs more than 90kg to 100kg, they need to drink more water.
And this is not the same as drinking fruit juices or sugared drinks either during iftar or suhour.
De Sarkar said: “Fruit juice from a carton or bottle, be it organic or not, is as bad as soda.”
Fruit juices squeezed freshly from organic, pesticide-free fruits and consumed immediately are an excellent source of quick nutrients and vitamins but you can’t have too many of them either as they are also a concentrated source of sugar and calories. Fructose, like it or not, is also sugar.
A glass of juice, for example, requires eight to 10 oranges. Let’s say one orange is roughly 50 to 60 calories, so do your math. And yes, even the fibre goes missing when fruits are juiced, and fibre, as experts have always reminded us, helps keep away diabetes, cholesterol and a whole bunch of other health problems.
The other good way to stay hydrated apart from drinking water is to consume fruits and vegetables with a high water content such as melons, celery, squash, cucumbers, berries and coconut water, added De Sarkar.
If you don’t like the flavour of plain water, try infusing it with lemon, mint, ginger, cucumbers, raspberries.
When it comes to meal times, have clear vegetable soups, thin yoghurt drinks, vegetable smoothies or even lettuce-based salads during iftar and suhour.
While ending your fast, try to have a glass of tender coconut juice along with a couple of dates. Desist from sweetened fizzy drinks.
Symptoms of dehydration
Dizziness, nausea and headaches
Check the colour of your urine. It should be pale yellow. If it’s dark and concentrated, then you are dehydrated.