Ramadan is a holy month of fasting, prayer and reflection for millions of Muslims around the world. Ramadan is due to start on the 23rd of March this year, in South Africa. During this time Muslims abstain from food and drink during daylight hours, for 29-30 days. While Ramadan is a time for spiritual renewal and growth, it’s important to prioritise your health. Bloom encourages our Muslim members to take care of their physical, mental and emotional health during this time. Discover more about Ramadan wellness and get some tips for staying healthy and hydrated during Ramadan.
Understanding the significance of Ramadan
Ramadan is the holiest month of the year in the Islamic calendar. It’s a time dedicated to fasting, prayer and reflection. It’s also a time for spiritual and personal growth, community and charitable giving. Overall, it’s a time for Muslims to renew their faith, strengthen their connection to God and work towards becoming the best versions of themselves. The month is significant for several reasons, some of which include:
- It is the month when the holy Quran was first revealed. According to Islamic tradition, the Prophet Muhammed received the first revelation of the Quran during the month of Ramadan.
- It is a time for spiritual growth and renewal. Muslims focus on their relationship with God and seek to improve themselves spiritually. By fasting and abstaining from worldly desires during the day, one is able to focus on spiritual goals, and develop a greater sense of self-discipline and empathy for others.
- It is a time for community and charity. Muslims come together in prayer and break fast together. People may choose to donate to charities or take time out to help others during Ramadan.
- It is a time for reflection, self-improvement and introspection. Prayer and introspection allow one to gain a greater understanding of one’s actions. Many people set personal goals for themselves, which they work towards during the month.
Stay healthy with the Ramadan health guide
It’s important to prioritise your health during this time. Here are some tips from our Ramadan Health Guide for staying healthy and hydrated during Ramadan:
- Stay hydrated. Remember to drink plenty of water, milk, smoothies and natural juices before and after fasting. You can also eat water-rich foods, like fruit, to stay hydrated. Discover more about tips to stay hydrated.
- Choose a balanced diet. When you break fast, choose nutrient-rich foods, like fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Avoid processed foods, sugary foods and high-fat foods that offer little nutritional value. A balanced diet will help sustain your energy levels throughout the day while you are fasting. Dates and meat or protein-based broth are both good great choices for maintaining energy levels.
- Get quality sleep. Getting enough rest is important for overall physical and mental health.
- Get some exercise. Try to fit in some light exercise activities during Ramadan. Activities like walking or stretching during the day will help you maintain good health.
- Practice good hygiene. Avoid the spread of germs by practising food hygiene. Wash your hand frequently, and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Take care of your mental health. Ramadan is a deeply spiritual time. Seek support from friends, family, community and religious leaders.
Benefits of fasting
Muslims fast during Ramadan to worship and show devotion to God. Fasting during Ramadan is a means of achieving spiritual and personal growth. It’s also a way to show gratitude and humility. The main reason for fasting during Ramadan is to strengthen one’s relationship with God. Muslims can focus their thoughts and energies on prayer and reflection. Fasting is believed to promote greater self-discipline, self-control and empathy. There are also physical benefits to fasting, some of which include:
- Improved insulin sensitivity. Fasting is known to improve insulin sensitivity, which can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Weightloss. Fasting can help reduce overall caloric intake and promote fat burning.
- Improved cardiovascular health. Fasting can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and improve blood lipid profiles, all of which can contribute to improved cardiovascular health.
- Improved cognitive functioning. Fasting has been known to improve brain function by increasing one’s mental clarity.
- Reduced inflammation. Fasting can help reduce inflammation, which is an overall health benefit.
Ramadan Health Guide tips
Our Ramadan Health Guide advises on some frequently asked questions about staying healthy during fasting.
- What to do if you have flu during Ramadan?
It is always advisable to stay hydrated, particularly if you have the flu. Drink lots of fluids before and after fasting. Get plenty of rest and choose healthy foods that support and boost your immune system.
It’s important to manage your symptoms. While you can purchase over-the-counter medication, like pain relievers, decongestants and cough syrups, it’s advisable to check with your doctor before taking any medication while fasting. Likewise, some medications may break your fast, so it’s important to consult with your religious leader first. If your flu symptoms grow more severe, we recommend seeking professional medical advice.
- Can you have a blood test during Ramadan?
Yes, it is permissible to have a blood test during Ramadan. You can get routine medical tests as required. However, some people may choose to postpone non-essential medical procedures until the conclusion of Ramadan.
- What to do if you’re pregnant during Ramadan?
If you’re pregnant during Ramadan, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider so that your overall health and the baby’s health can be monitored. Otherwise, it’s important to stay hydrated. Rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat water-rich foods before and after fasting. Stick to a healthy diet and take prenatal vitamins after fasting to ensure that you and your baby get all the nutrients you need.
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