Millions around the world are celebrating Ramadan this month, which is marked by refraining, during daylight hours, from eating and drinking (yes, even water).
One challenging aspect about Ramadan is abstaining from substances like caffeine — quitting coffee cold turkey can bring about symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and mood swings.
We spoke to Muslim dietitians Nazima Qureshi and Nour Zibdeh to get their thoughts on how to control caffeine intake for the month of Ramadan.
1. First of all, if you haven’t already, it’s not too late to completely wean yourself off caffeine for the month of Ramadan (or indefinitely).
2. If you do want to keep drinking caffeine, though, drink it as early in your iftar as possible.
3. But keep in mind that caffeine of any quantity could affect your quality of sleep.
4. Your caffeine intake shouldn’t be dehydrating you. And if you feel like it is, it’s probably because you’re not drinking enough water at suhoor or iftar, not because of your cup of joe.
5. If you’re getting headaches, remember that it could very well be a result of sleep deprivation in general…
6. …or it could be a result of dehydration.
Qureshi and Zibdeh also have a few general notes on maintaining good energy levels without the help of caffeine:
7. Try and eat a balanced amount of food at suhoor and iftar.
8. For suhoor, aim for a plate filled with whole grain carbs, a source of protein, and healthy fats to help you feel full and provide energy for longer.
9. Drink at least eight cups of water, aiming for four glasses at suhoor and four more at iftar.
10. And be mindful of what you eat for iftar, making sure half your plate is filled with vegetables (cooked or in salad form), a quarter with protein (like chicken, lentils, or chickpeas), and the last quarter with full-grain carbs.
11. Go easy on the sugar.
12. And remember that one of the smallest ways you can help your energy levels is to chew your food.