Hydration is the #1 recommended step in maintaining a healthy urinary tract which helps in the prevention of UTIs. During challenging times on the body such as fasting, it is not possible to stay well hydrated throughout the day so following certain lifestyle modifications can be very helpful. Let’s learn about staying healthy when fasting during a time like Ramadan.
Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year for Muslims. It’s a beautiful time of spiritual reflection, prayer, community, and discipline. During Ramadan, adult Muslims who observe the fast are not to eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. Some people are also exempt from fasting, like children, the elderly, those whose health is likely to be compromised by abstaining from food and drink, and menstruating and pregnant women. However those that are fasting could be prone to dehydration that could trigger health complications, like urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
Here’s the good news: there are so many ways to keep your body hydrated, healthy, and UTI-free during those long hours of fasting. This blog will break it all down.
How does dehydration cause UTIs?
Water makes up over half of our body weight. About 20% of our fluid intake comes from food we eat, while the other 80% comes from drinking water, milk, and other beverages.
Clearly, water plays a big role in how your body functions. That’s why any reduction in your water intake can have an impact on how well your body’s cells and nerves work.
Dehydration can cause constipation, infection, headache, dizziness, tiredness, and dry skin. In severe cases, you might develop more serious complications, like kidney problems. Case in point: it’s essential to compensate for water loss, especially during Ramadan.
But how exactly does dehydration cause UTIs, in particular? When you urinate, bacteria naturally flushes out of our body through your pee. If your body is dehydrated, you won’t urinate as often, which gives bacteria time to attach to the lining of your urinary tract and cause infection
Since Ramadan often happens during the warmer months of the year, the heat and humidity can make it even easier for bacteria to spread. Plus, staying hydrated is key for a strong immune system. The healthier your immune system is, the better it will be at fighting off infections, like UTIs.
That’s why it’s vital to drink lots of water and pee whenever you have the urge to, especially if you’re prone to frequent UTIs.
How can you avoid dehydration (and UTIs) during Ramadan? Here are a few simple and effective tips to help you feel prepared and in control of your health.
- Drink water before and after fasting
Preparation comes in handy for a full day of fasting. As soon as sunset hits, try to drink a cup or two of water (at least) every hour. Do the same thing in the morning, if you’re awake before sunrise. The ultimate goal is to drink at least three liters of water per day, especially to offset the traditional sugary drinks enjoyed during Ramadan.
Upping your water intake during non-fasting hours will give your body a boost of hydration, so it can retain water and use it gradually throughout the day.
Studies have shown that drinking more water reduces the risk of recurrent UTIs. In one Harvard study, women who drank an extra 1.5 liters of water per day experienced 50% fewer UTIs. If you suffer from painful UTIs that just keep coming back, drinking more water could be a simple remedy over time.
Do you struggle to remember to drink water? Here’s a hot tip: make it a habit to drink a gulp of water every time you get a notification on your phone. Keep water nearby at all times and take a reusable water bottle with you if you’re leaving the house for the night.
- Adjust your workouts
Just because it’s Ramadan doesn’t mean you have to skip the gym. Exercise is a must for our overall health, but it can also cause a lot of water loss through sweat. Making adjustments to your workout routine during Ramadan can help you avoid dehydration.
Try not to work out during fasting hours because you won’t be able to immediately rehydrate your body. Instead, stick to post-fasting exercise, paired with lots of water and nourishing food to refuel your body.
If you can, try to keep workouts light and not overly strenuous. Activities like walking, swimming, and yoga can help you move your body without losing too much water or energy.
- Choose fashion with a function
Ramadan typically happens during warmer months, which is prime time for dehydration. Certain types of clothing can make you sweat more on hot days. This can deplete your body’s water smack dab in the middle of fasting. That’s why your fashion choices are extra important throughout the month.
When you’re indoors, a light-coloured shirt can help keep your body temperature low. If you’re spending the day outside, darker clothes can help protect you from the sun. Just avoid anything black — it often attracts and retains heat.
If you’re trying to prevent UTIs during Ramadan, wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes. Tight-fitting clothes can encourage bacteria growth and spreading, especially during warm weather.
- Eat to hydrate
Hydration isn’t just about drinking water. Certain foods and beverages are packed with extra water, while others actually cause more dehydration — like sugary sweets and coffee. Here are a few dietary tips to stay hydrated during Ramadan.
Try to steer clear of spicy and salty foods. They can deplete your body’s water while impacting the pH levels of your urine, which could potentially lead to a painful urinary tract infection.
Enjoy your first cup of water at iftar with 3 dates, just like Prophet Muhammed did. Dates are a great source of potassium and vital minerals, plus natural sugars to revitalize you after fasting.
Replace traditional sugary drinks with coconut water. This incredible beverage is made up of 94% water. It’s also packed with a powerful combination of potassium, carbohydrates, and electrolytes to restore your energy at iftar or prepare for the day at suhoor. In fact, coconut water has similar hydrating abilities to sports drinks.
Consider enjoying a green juice before your iftar feast. After a day of fasting, your body isn’t ready to immediately digest solid or heavy foods. A green juice can restore the fluids and nutrients your body lost throughout the day, while preparing your digestive system for a more substantial meal. We suggest waiting about 30 minutes after your green juice before digging into your nighttime meal.
Lastly, think about starting and finishing your fast with foods and juices that are great sources of water, such as:
- Soups (a fantastic source of fluids, with a boost of tasty nutrition)
All of these foods are overflowing with natural vitamins and nutrients to keep your immune system strong, healthy, and UTI-free during Ramadan.
- Lower your body temperature
One of the most common signs of dehydration is a higher body temperature. You might start to feel an increased pulse, dizziness, weakness, or difficulty breathing. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time to cool down your body.
Take a cold shower or hold the base of your head under cool, running water for about 5 to 10 minutes. If you aren’t able to do that, apply a cold compress to your forehead, chest, or base of your neck.
Lowering your body temperature can help you avoid excess sweating and relieve the symptoms of dehydration until you finally reach Iftar.
- Take preventative vitamins and supplements
The secret to a healthy Ramadan is good preparation. Taking the right supplements can help offset the nutrients you’re missing out on during fasting hours, while preventing any fasting-related complications (like UTIs).
Vitamins C, D, A, and B-complex are powerful antioxidants and immune-boosters. They can help your body feel its best, fight off infections, and reduce symptoms of fasting, like dehydration.
For extra UTI prevention during Ramadan, take a cranberry supplement with at least 36mg of PACs per dose. PACs are micronutrients that are extracted from cranberries. They stop bacteria from sticking to your urinary tract lining and causing infection.
The best cranberry supplement for UTIs is Utiva Cranberry PACs. These powerful, all-natural pills are bursting with 9x the amount of PACs found in other cranberry supplements. Just one dose per day is clinically proven to flush harmful bacteria out of your system, especially when dehydration poses a big UTI threat. Plus, it’s halal, vegan, antibiotic-free, and doctor-recommended.
Ramadan is a time for celebration and spiritual growth. It’s also a challenging time as Muslims undertake the trial of fasting for the month. If you choose to try the Ramadan fast, it will be an experience to remember. Always be safe and check with your doctor if you have any concerns. Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy, and hydrated Ramadan.