Many of us like to start our day with a warm cup of coffee or tea. However, in Ramadan do we have to give up our caffeine fix? Can we drink coffee in Ramadan? Will consuming caffeine cause dehydration? How do I avoid headaches while fasting? But let’s first take a look at what caffeine does to our bodies.
Caffeine stimulates our central nervous system and helps us feel more alert and feel less drowsy. On the other hand, excess caffeine consumption can cause restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, rapid heart rate, and irritability ,. So should we be consuming coffee in Ramadan?
Does coffee cause dehydration?
You may have heard that caffeine is a diuretic – it causes the need to urinate. However, for those who regularly consume caffeine, it doesn’t seem to cause dehydration or an extra loss of fluid .
But data is inconsistent on whether high caffeine intake causes fluid loss. And one study found that 360mg of caffeine (or 4 cups of coffee) caused subjects to make more urine. While other data suggests only 180mg / day .
Although some studies suggest that caffeine has a mild diuretic effect, it seems to be temporary and unlikely for those who habitually have caffeine. So even, the Institute of Medicine concluded that caffeinated beverages can count towards your daily water intake .
So how much caffeine is too much?
It’s considered safe to have a moderate amount of caffeine daily. So healthy adults should limit their caffeine intake to 400mg (~4 cups of coffee or 8 cups of black tea) a day ,,. This is the amount that’s considered safe without dangerous effects (according to Health Canada, US FDA, and the European Food Safety Authority).
What does 400mg of caffeine look like?
Use the following images to familiarize yourself with sources of caffeine to ensure you are below the limit.
*Pregnant and breastfeeding women should limit their caffeine intake to <300mg/day and should avoid certain herbal teas .
Coffee/Caffeine & Headaches in Ramadan
Some of us are more sensitive to caffeine than others. Caffeine increases adrenaline (fight or flight hormone) and dopamine (associated with pleasure). And the association with dopamine is thought to be why caffeine can be addictive. Although those who consume caffeine regularly tend to build a tolerance to its effects. They are however more prone to caffeine withdrawal when they suddenly stop.
So sudden eliminating caffeine can cause symptoms such as headache, fatigue, irritability and depressed mood .
To avoid these effects while fasting, gradually lower your caffeine intake ahead of Ramadan. And others have noted that having their regular morning cup of coffee or tea at suhoor can also help with lessening headaches later while fasting. Although it may disrupt sleep after fajr.
Tips on lowering your coffee & caffeine intake before Ramadan
- Start using a smaller cup.
- If you have multiple cups of coffee/tea a day, start by cutting back half a cup, then a full cup, and so on.
- Go decaf or mix your regular caffeinated beverage with half decaf.
- Brew your tea or coffee for less time.
- Try beverages with little to no caffeine ex. green teas, herbal teas, etc.
- Alternate between days with and without caffeine. So gradually increase to have more days without caffeine for ex. 2 days on and 2 days off.
In sha Allah these tips will help you have your best Ramadan yet.
Looking for some tips on how you can stay fit during the month of Ramadan, click here.
Sadaf Shaikh, PMDip, RD
*Please be aware that these are general guidelines. Nutrition and intake vary by age, sex, height, activity, being pregnant or breastfeeding, and medical conditions. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sadafshaikh.ca.