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Hydration is essential during Ramadan Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Assimilating fluids and maintaining a proper electrolyte balance, in other words hydrating oneself, is as important as maintaining good nutrition during Ramadan, say doctors.

The human body is made up off nearly 65 to 70 per cent water which plays a very vital role as major life source to the body. It is required to carry nutrients and oxygen into the cells, aid digestion, prevent constipation, maintain body temperature, sodium-potassium-calcium balance, normalise blood pressure and renal functions and stabilise heart beats.

How much water do we need on daily basis and how much while fasting?

Sushma Ghag

Sushma Ghag, clinical dietician with Aster Mankhool Hospital explained: “There is no specific rule for how much should we drink water a day, but as per standard studies women can consume 2.7 litres per day and men can have 3.7 litres per day of water. For children, water requirements are much more as they require more fluids for proper growth and development.”

Dehydration during fasting can cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney stones

While observing the fast it is important to maintain the fluid levels in your body, especially to avert impaired kidney functions, said Dr Sanjay Bhat, specialist urologist at Prime Hospital.

“As it is nearing summer, people staying in air –conditioned homes tend to be dehydrated and we receive many complains of kidney stones and UTIs. With the wrong choice of liquids and foods while ending the fast, people tend to aggravate their dehydration,” he said.

According to Dr Bhat, while ending the fast during Iftar people tend to choose carbonated drinks, coffee and tea which are all diruetics and go for large portions of red meat preparations, which are high in uric acid.

Dr Sanjay Bhat

“Normally a well hydrated person passes colourless urine. As the person gets dehydrated, urine gets concentrated and acquires a yellow hue. The darker the urine, the higher your level of dehydration is. Eventually the uric acid crystallises, when a person is unable to empty the bladder, the collected urine causes bladder infections and UTIs. My advice to people is to have plenty of water during suhour, have citrus fruits which alkanise the urine and avoid tea, coffee, carbonated drinks and reduce red meat portions during Iftaar. These tips will help one maintain good hydration during Ramadan and also smooth kidney and bladder functions,” he added.

Symptoms of dehydration

You will know you are dehydrated when:

  • You feel dizzy, tired, fatigued, have dry lips, little or no urine and very dark coloured urine. Extreme thirst, headache, confusion.
  • Your blood pressure can register a drop and you have hypotension ( low blood pressure), feel cold
  • In case if an individual faints, it is advisable to seek emergency help and give him a juice with salt and sugar added to correct the electrolyte balance.
  • Source: Sushma Ghag

How to prevent dehydration

  • Have at least two to three glasses of plain water during suhour
  • Choose large portions of fresh fruits rich in water content such as melons, citrus fruits that balance the PH levels of the body and coconut water.
  • Include some chia seeds or basil seeds in your food preparations as these seeds are rich in fibre and help store water in the body
  • Choose a dense carbohydrate like oatmeal that has the quality of retaining water and keeping one feel full and hydrated during the day. An ideal breakfast could be paratha/ kubuz with egg or chicken with smoothie or wholegrain cereals with nutseeds and berries on top with some grilled chicken or saute mushrooms.
  • Stay away from tea, coffee, caffeinated beverages, sugary and salty food items which can crave for water and leads you more thirsty.

During Iftar

  • End your fast with at least one cup of water and dates and have freshly squeezed citrus juice instead of the canned variety.
  • Start with dietary fluids which can be soup , stews, fresh fruit juice , laban up and some juicy fruits.
  • Avoid carbonated and caffeinated drinks that aggravate dehydration with their diuretic impact. Go for clear soups to replenish fluid levels
  • Avoid large portions of red meat that tend to increase uric acid levels in body. Have a modest portion and choose to have other variety such as chicken and fish
  • Avoid extra salt in meals that is hidden in packed sauces and soups and go for natural home made sauces and soups
  • Source: Dr Sanjay Bhat and Sushma Ghag, dietician