Staying hydrated during Ramadan

Guest blogger Nosheen Hayat, an MPH graduate student at University of Michigan and former Research Associate for The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, shares her favorite tips for staying hydrated while fasting.
Guest blogger Nosheen Hayat, an MPH graduate student at University of Michigan and former Research Associate for The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, shares her favorite tips for staying hydrated while fasting.

Author: Nosheen Hayat, former Research Associate for CMBM, has a B.S. in dietetics and is currently a graduate student at University of Michigan working on her MPH in nutritional sciences.

Hydrating During Ramadan

Dehydration is probably the biggest challenge when fasting during the summer. Not only is it hot, but the fast is pretty long too–lasting more than 20 hours in some countries. Which means we could be dehydrated pretty early into our fast.

There is very little we can do to prevent our water from depleting during the day, other than avoiding activities that cause excessive sweating. But what is very important is that we hydrate well at and after iftar (breaking of the fast – the evening meal).

One of the beautiful challenges of Ramadan is not simply abstaining from food and water, but it also gives us a chance to change some of our negative dietary habits. This is because we now are limited in the amount of time we have to eat, combined with the limited space in our stomachs, we’re forced to make wiser choices in order to ensure we’re getting all the nutrients we need.

The hydrating process is not only important to replace loss of water, but also the loss of minerals. It’s important that you are drinking water throughout the night; some people even wake up in the middle of the night to drink a glass of water.

Here are some ways you can hydrate properly.

1. Date(s) & Water

It is traditional for Muslims to open their fast with a date and water – per the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This is a great way to kick start the hydrating process. Dates are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and some major and minor minerals such as calcium, potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, and folate.

2. Young Coconut Water

Coconut water is also an excellent tool to hydrate, especially if you are someone who is spending his/her time outside and sweating excessively. According to one research study, young coconut water worked just as well as sports drinks and regular water at hydrating subjects following a dehydrating exercise; the results showed that coconut water caused “less nausea, fullness, and no stomach upset and was easier to consume in a larger amount.” Coconut water is a pretty wholesome beverage; it contains different types of sugars, at least 9 different minerals, many amino acids (protein), and at least 7 different vitamins. It also is about 99% water. Given the sugar and mineral content, it is a great form of hydration.

3. Make Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

Lemons are also a great source of many different minerals and vitamins, such as calcium, potassium, copper, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, folate, choline, and vitamin A (if you keep the pulp). Combined with sea salt, which also contains major and minor minerals (iodine, iron, and zinc), and water, freshly squeezed lemonade makes for a great hydrating drink.

My recipe for lemonade is pretty simple:

  • 2 cups of water,
  • 1-2 tsp of sea salt,
  • 1-2 tsp raw brown sugar,
  • 1-2 squeezed lemons.

I try my best to cut the pulp out and leave it in the water as I don’t like to waste any part of the fruit. It tastes great and is so refreshing!

Make sure you don’t forget to drink water throughout the night after iftaar in order to hydrate properly.


Shoutouts to our FAM supporters & vendors

Food As Medicine (FAM) Minnesota was a great success, thanks in part to our supporters & vendors! We want to share a behind-the-scenes look at the people and products who help make FAM possible. Click here for more snapshots from FAM MN. Thank you to The University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing for your coordination and interdisciplinary commitment to whole body wellness!

Our Food As Medicine training is the nation’s leading introductory program in medical nutrition, providing a semester’s worth of nutrition care practices in just four days. We provide a curriculum for physicians, registered dietitians, and educators to bring back to their communities. The next FAM is September 18-22 2015 at Kripalu in Massachusetts.


Functional Formularies gave an inspiring lunchtime talk at FAM. Read about Functional Formularies founder Robin Gentry McGee’s personal journey and how her love for her father helped her create a better liquid feeding option: “This experience even further rooted my feeling that food has the innate power to both harm and heal. I deeply believe that from my father’s suffering he gave not only a great gift to me, but to the world. And I hope to share with as many people as possible.”


Dr. Elizabeth Klodas attended FAM in Baltimore and was eventually inspired to create Step One Foods, nutritional and flavorful foods that help build a solid foundation of health.



Experience Life Magazine has featured articles from Dr. James S. Gordon, CMBM’s Founder and Director, and Dr. Mark Hyman, FAM senior faculty. Subscribe online to get the best news, interviews, tips, and guidance on happier & healthier living.



Love at first bite? KIND snacks reps were super busy sharing tasty samples with participants. Follow their KIND blog to learn more about their community service and social good initiatives, and tag your pics with #Kindawesome.



Super Food Cards sold out of their simple, informative recipe cards (which are also waterproof)! Combine greens, vegetables, whole grains, beans, fruits, proteins, nuts & seeds, and homemade stock for inventive and clearly organized meals. Follow them on Twitter @NourishSchools.


Thank you Vital Choice for the beautiful wild salmon and halibut for our lunch meals. Their website has a special category for Paleo Eats, making your paleo diet protein choices easier than ever.

7 smart convenience foods blog

7 Smart Convenient Foods

Food As Medicine Education Director Kathie Swift, MS, RDN, LDN, shares these tidbits of wisdom to help you eat healthy in the simplest way possible. Visit Kathie’s blog to learn more great tips on a healthy lifestyle.

To create and maintain good gut health – and a happy microbiome, opt for whole foods and by whole I mean minimally processed, unadulterated and not created or “enhanced” in the lab. Meals made with simple, nutrient-dense ingredients, as close to the vine as possible will deliver the maximum benefit to your belly, brain, heart and just about every cell in your body. Your body deserves and will run a lot better on good fuel, so don’t settle for a so-so tasting, take-out dinner that’s loaded with unhealthy fats, salt and hidden sugar(s). Instead, head to the kitchen and whip up something that is delicious and nourishing.

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