Tips for a Healthier Ramadan

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., ACCESS Media Relations Specialist
June 23, 2015

People of many faiths, ethnic groups and cultures are fasting during Ramadan, which is a period of time—usually between 29 and 30 days —when they purify themselves physically, mentally and spiritually.

Ramadan is more than just fasting. There also is time set aside for prayers and Taraweeh, which is reciting the Koran nightly. This year's Ramadan ends the evening of July 17, 2015. Someone observing Ramadan is not to eat any foods between the hours of sunrise and sunset. 

We asked Tariq Butt, M.D., ACCESS' Vice President of Health Affairs, about healthy ways to fast during this time.

What is the most important health tip to remember if you are fasting?

  • You should consult a physician if you have any medical conditions to determine if you are able to fast in a healthy way. 
  • A person cannot fast if their prescription requires them to take medications on a regular basis with food. 
     
  • People who are fasting should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

What is the most important health tip to remember as a person comes to the end of fasting?

  • It would be good after the fasting period is over if a person can start eating regularly, but take that discipline from the fast to continue to eat healthy and also incorporate exercise.
  • It is best to start with liquids and to eat slowly and adjust your eating habits appropriately.
  • Don't overeat, because you may feel drained. 
  • ​After the fasting period, however, there is a "feast of breaking the fast" called Eid al-Fitr, where people visit each other's homes to eat; children receive money and gifts, etc. This is similar to a Christmas feast and lasts nearly three days.