Support your gut this Ramadan

Written by Sandra Mikhail, Founder and Director of Nutrition A-Z

As millions around the world observe Ramadan, a month of fasting, it would be wise to keep your gut in mind to ensure a comfortable and fulfilling experience. Fasting during Ramadan can impact digestion, making it crucial to adopt practices that support gut health.

Fasting during Ramadan can present unique challenges to digestive health. With altered meal times and changes in dietary habits, it's not uncommon for individuals to experience digestive discomfort, such as bloating, constipation, or indigestion. However, with mindful eating and proper nutrition, these challenges can be minimised, allowing for a more comfortable fasting experience.

Our top suggestions for looking after your gut this Ramadan are:

Hydrate Wisely: Staying hydrated is essential for digestive health, especially when it comes to preventing constipation. Your fluid target should be no less that 2litres so make sure you include enough water during your non-fasting hours by consuming 1-2 glasses of water with each meal and sipping enough throughout the evening. If you struggle with bloating, avoid sparkling water and other fizzy drinks. Also, consume produce with a high water content such as cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, rockmelon or honeydew melon, oranges and berries (e.g. blueberries, strawberries, raspberries) for the extra boost of hydration.

Fibre-Rich Foods: Incorporate fibre-rich foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts into your meals. Fibre diversity is crucial here so include salads or vegetable based soups, add nuts and seeds to salads and incorporate legumes into some meals. You can also add psyllium husk to the mix but ask your dietitian about the how and quantities!

Natural sources of probiotics: Include probiotic-rich foods such as yoghurt, kefir, miso, tempeh and fermented vegetables in your diet. Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria, support digestion, and strengthen the immune system.

Balanced and Structured Meals: As unflattering as "balance" may sound, we encourage our clients to make sure that their meal structure somehow resembles their normal mealtime routine. For example, you can follow the following structure:
  • Iftar
  • Light meal / dinner
  • Suhoor

Aim for balanced plates that include a variety of nutrients, including complex carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and fibre. Balanced meals help regulate blood sugar levels, promote satiety, and support overall digestive health.
For example at Iftar:
  • Alternate between a salad and a soup as a starter at Iftar. Soups can add the additional fluid you need instead of drinking a large amount of water then.
  • Your main can then resemble a "balanced" plate which we walk our clients through thoroughly - think 1/2 your plate to include at least 2-3 different vegetables, 1/4 of your plate to be complex, high fibre carbohydrates and the final 1/4 to include protein.

Practice mindful eating: Remember that digestion starts in the mouth so make sure to thoroughly chew each mouthful, as this aids in the mixing of food with digestive enzymes present in our saliva. This preparation process primes the food for digestion in the stomach, ultimately reducing the likelihood of excessive burping, bloating, and discomfort.

Regular movement: You can definitely engage in your movement of choice but depending on intensity, be strategic with when you decide to train! If you do choose to train before Iftar, then make sure you do so, 45 - 60minutes before Iftar to ensure that you can rehydrate and refuel straight after. Walking or gentle stretching after 1-2 hours after Iftar can also be an option.

Strategic supplementation: If you're constipated, you can discuss supplement options such as magnesium or psyllium husk with your health professional. If your meals tend to be unbalanced, you may to a suitable multivitamin to take with your first meal throughout the holy month to ensure you're providing your body with anything that you may be missing out on.

Wishing the Muslim world and all our Muslim followers and clients a Ramadan Kareem from
all of us at Nutrition A-Z!

Looking for dietary support this Ramadan to keep your gut in check?

Book an appointment with us today!

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