Ramadan is, first and foremost, a time for spirituality. During the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims fast from sunrise until sunset. But is it possible to stay healthy during a sustained fast?

It certainly is possible. Good nutrition habits during Ramadan can help you avoid dizziness or dehydration and provide the energy needed to get you through the day. Here are three tips for a healthy Ramadan.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water is crucial to staying healthy. Liquid intake enables transportation of nutrients, elimination of waste products, regulation and maintenance of body temperature, maintenance of circulation and blood pressure, lubrication of joints and body tissues and facilitation of digestion.

The European Food Safety Authority recommended intake of water is 2.5 liters for men and 2.0 liters for women per day.

Chose Simple, Nutrient Dense Options

Even though you may be craving high-sugar and high-fat foods for breaking your daily fast, this is not the best choice. Those types of foods are not only full of empty calories, but might tempt you to overindulge.

Instead, try to incorporate nutrient-dense foods; that is, meals that provide an abundance of nutrients (proteins, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates) relative to their calorie cost.

During fasting, you want to make sure you get as much nutrition as possible per calorie consumed.

Include Fiber and Protein in Your Diet

Make the most of your pre-dawn meal (Suhoor) and dusk meal (Iftar) by including fiber and protein.

Foods high in fiber are digested slowly and they add bulk to your meal, helping you to get a feeling of fullness. They can also help with regular bowel movements and avoiding constipation. Chose cereals, dates, figs, whole grains, seeds, vegetables, and fruit.

Protein-rich foods – like soy, eggs, cheese, legumes, poultry, fish and yogurt – help replenish your energy and will make you feel full for a longer period.

Making sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs is essential on an everyday basis, but particularly during Ramadan. Good nutrition can have positive effects on our bodies and minds.

Disclaimer: the purpose of this article is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with your physician regarding fasting or consuming any particular foods before doing so.

Susan Bowerman

Susan BowermanM.S., R.D., CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training

Susan Bowerman is the senior director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife. She also serves as the Vice Chair of the Dietetic Advisory Board (DAB). As a registered dietitian, she educates distributors about our global nutrition philosophy and is responsible for developing nutrition education and training materials. Bowerman earned a B.S. in Biology with distinction from the University of Colorado and an M.S. in Food Science and Nutrition from Colorado State University. She is a fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and holds two board certifications as a specialist in Sports Dietetics and in Obesity and Weight Management. When she is not busy teaching and writing, Susan enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and gardening. Her favorite Herbalife products include Simply Probiotic and Herbalife Formula 1 Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix Banana Caramel.