The holy month of Ramadan is once again upon us and while we engage in a month-long process of introspection, repentance, and self-renewal, it’s also important that we don’t easily overlook our duty to keep ourselves healthy. In this trying times amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, make Ramadan more meaningful by checking in on ourselves daily when it comes to spiritual health, mental health and physical health. Here are 7 easy health tips for your mind, soul and body this holy season.
1. Get enough sleep
Sleep is undoubtedly important as it functions to regulate hormones in the body which control our appetite, a key component in fasting during Ramadan. With the lack of sleep, we can find ourselves tired and overwhelmed, and our emotions and spirit indirectly feel hampered and low.
We’re sure the sudden shift in waking up in the wee hours of dawn to prepare for Sahur will rock up our natural sleep cycle. So how do we ensure we can get enough sleep this season? Try to get the same amount of sleep as you would in a normal 24 hour period by sticking to a schedule. This could involve sleeping earlier than you normally would, or breaking up an 8 hour sleep into a block of 6 hours full sleep and a 2 hour nap after work before Iftar. Once you find a routine that works for YOU, stick to it and your body will respond well to the routine.
2. Go easy on sugary foods or drinks
It’s difficult to escape the tradition of a yummy delectable spread during Sahur, and even more difficult during Iftar so it’s easy to find many households today indulging in lots of sugary foods and beverages (you know what we’re talking about). While breakfast, or Sahur in particular, is extremely important this month, it’s also important to take a look at the types of nutrients we’re prepping our body with for the fasting hours.
Eating copious amounts of carbohydrates in the pre-dawn hours would no doubt offer a temporary burst of energy, but it would just as assuredly offer a crash after the spike in blood sugar wears off — which will all but ensure a lethargic fasting day. This explains why most of us feel lethargic during that dreadful 2:00 – 4:00PM time frame.
Instead, cut down on sugars (and eventually the sugar rush and crashes) by taking in some good healthy fats. This would not only help you last your fast by reducing the hunger cravings, but healthy fats have shown to also help in weight loss and boosting energy levels. Incorporating MCT C8 Oils into your diet is a good option to achieving this. It not only helps with that but supplies your body with a cleaner form of energy called ketones that can also be easily used by the brain. You can add this in your teas and coffees if you can’t stay away from your usual morning drink, making them bulletproof, or, mixing them into cooked foods or soups, thereby, fueling your body with instant clean energy and suppressing your appetite throughout the day.
3. Choosing high quality carbs
If you’re going to be taking carbs, make sure they’re good quality carbs. For example, we love our breads for breakfast but try opting for something multi-grain instead. Fill your daily diet with real food, that is, carbohydrates that look as if they actually came out of the earth. Eat whole corn kernels instead of corn flakes. Go for a whole orange instead of orange “vitamin water,” or even orange juice packet. Choose brown rice, not white rice. The less processed and refined a carb is, the healthier and better for your waistline, it tends to be.
Avoid the fake carbs. By fake, we mean food that is more a product of factories than of the soil. Fake carbs are foods that have been so overly processed that it would be something even our nenek moyang or our great-grandmothers won’t recognise.
4. Consider taking supplements
As we fast for the whole season, we can sometimes forget to take in some vital nutrients and vitamins that we often skip to accommodate our hunger. The shift from our normal schedules also make eating “filling” foods first a mindset that is hard to erase during Ramadan. This happens too often during this period and it can make our work performance or physical performance sub-par compared to other months. Missing out on these vital nutrients and vitamins can also have an impact on our immunity system.
While we battle Covid-19, it’s important to continue staying healthy by boosting our immunity. This can be greatly assisted by taking in multivitamins that specifically continue building our immunity blocks. A multivitamin that targets all aspects of general well-being, heart health, triglyceride levels and immunity levels such as ANH-VCO + Super Vitamin E + Lycopene Softgel is a great option to continuously maintain optimum bodily functions while boosting our immunity too. Consider taking a multivitamins that a whole family can share too, as it encourages every family member to take good care of each other (plus, there’s always someone in the family who is the designated family reminder).
5. Stay active and keep moving
Iftar is done and you’re now happy with a full stomach. Give yourself 1 hour’s rest before walking around (your house during this lockdown of course #DudukRumah) and keep moving. Many people make the mistake of making Ramadan an excuse to stop staying active. Staying active gets your blood circulation moving which is a great and easy way to prevent fatigue and general lethargy after consuming food.
If this is easy for you, consider doing some light exercises too. In fact, you won’t need to wait till after Iftar to start being active. You can even do some light exercises before you “buka puasa” or break fast in the evening. All this will not only increase good blood circulation, but it is proven that exercise can help to increase endorphin levels that keep you feeling good about yourself and keep you happy. So you’ll be keeping your physical health and mental health in check too.
There are plenty of online workouts with different intensities that you can join this lockdown period. Join our Stay Fit with COCOLAB workout series just before Iftar to get some blood flowing and endorphins running.
Ramadan is a great time to invest in taking care of your skin. The fasting state starves our body of bad toxins and is naturally a detox for us. This is the best time to not only eat healthy for your body but to feed your skin proper nutrients too. A body in a starved state acts like a sponge, and your skin is no different.
Drinking enough water is a good and necessary start, your lips are going to need it. Choosing the right skincare products which are free of chemicals is the next step. Remember, as much as you are fasting, your skin is fasting too. It’s important to not skip on giving the same amount of attention to your skin. It is, after all, the largest organ in your body.
Choosing a good skincare product like Trienol Vitamin E Face Serum locks in hydration and keeps your skin moisturised. It also protects your skin cells from breaking down which can cause microscopic indentations, or what we would see as wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots. And since fasting also means no water intake, consider using the Vitamin E Lip Balm to ensure we don’t come out of Ramadan with flaky or chapped lips (those can really hurt, ouch). This can also ensure that hydration will be locked into our lips throughout the day. Take Ramadan as a time to feed good and pure ingredients to your skin, as much as you would to your body.
7. Give yourself short breaks
We know how that migraine sets in during your fast or how we can just be depleted of energy in the afternoon. If you’re feeling drained, allow yourself breaks throughout the day and don’t feel bad about it. Take 20 minute power naps to help you get past the energy drop. Remember to set your alarm clock at 20 minutes though and don’t nap over that period.
If you can’t afford yourself a nap during your working hours, consider adding MCT C8 Powder in your drinks during Sahur. This gives you a sustained clean energy throughout the day and can improve your mental focus at work. The mental fatigue or brain fog we usually experience during the afternoon slump tremendously reduces with this clean ketone energy and it can even help to satiate your hunger for the day while boosting your metabolic rate. Take it in drinks such as milk, fresh juices, coffee, tea or even protein drinks to start your day.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the food prep and the general fatigue of Ramadan. We’ve been there too, trust us. We believe these simple steps will not only help you get through this holy month, but make full use of it so that you can fulfill your Ramadan duties and allow yourself to focus on making it a more meaningful one by doing deeds of compassion and generosity. If you can’t keep to these 7 steps straightaway, don’t stress over it. Take baby steps to achieve them.
Ramadan Kareem to all our Muslim brothers and sisters, and Selamat Berpuasa Sihat!