UAE Ramadan 2021: Fasting can restore immunity during the Holy Month

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Dubai - Modern exercise training and proper nutrition are also the most important factors to support the immune function.


Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Sat 3 Apr 2021, 8:38 PM

Last updated: Sun 4 Apr 2021, 6:16 AM

Fasting can restore your immune system during the Holy month of Ramadan, said UAE dieticians. However, in case an individual is tested positive for Covid-19, it is highly recommended they break their fast to avoid health complications.

“The Covid-19 virus has infected millions of people around the world and killed thousands, especially people with immunodeficiency. Maintaining good hygiene and a strong immune system are considered effective preventive measures to fight the virus. Modern exercise training and proper nutrition are the most important factors to support the immune function,” said Sushma Ghag, a dietician at Aster Hospital Mankhool.

Dr Haris Chundiyan Moochi, general practitioner, Aster Clinic, Abu Shagarah, said: “The Covid-19 vaccine can be taken while fasting because it will not break the fast as it’s been given intramuscularly.”

However, if one develops a fever or any other symptoms after vaccination during the time of fasting, they should break the fast and immediately consult a physician and get the needful attention and treatment.

“It is better to stay away from observing fasting while you’re detected positive for Covid-19 and symptomatic as the patient might need to take medicines for treating their symptoms. If one is asymptomatic Covid-19 positive, they can continue to observe fasting,” added Dr Moochi.

“There have been many studies on the effect of Ramadan fasting on the immune system, which have shown that fasting can restore the immune system,” explained Sushma. “The immune system in the human body is an organisation consisting of cells and molecules that play a role in defending against infections,” she added. Fasting for at least three days allows the body to start producing new white blood cells, which rejuvenates the immune system to fight infections.

Studies have shown plenty of benefits to fasting, especially that intermittent fasting has been on the top list of most common and followed dietary patterns, said Danya Al Atrash, a clinical dietitian at Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery, Dubai. “The difference is that in Ramadan, people abstain from consuming water and food from dusk to dawn for a period of 30 days. When seized well, Ramadan is a great time to kick start your fitness goals and to improve your dietary habits,” she explained.

“Considering the Covid-19 pandemic we should keep our immune system strong during fasting. So, ensuring enough calories during the permitted eating hours is very important. We should include enough macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats), and micronutrients ((Vitamin C, Iron, zinc, etc.),” said Danya.

Tips for a healthy Ramadan

1. Consume an adequate amount of lean protein for satiety and maintaining muscle mass

2. Eat a variety of food, including lots of different coloured vegetables, fruits, pulses, and legumes.

3. Fill up on fibre for good digestion.

4. Limit the intake of desserts and opt for fruits or healthy dessert choices

5. Exercise regularly and choose the timing that suits your fitness goals and energy levels

6. We should include a well-balanced distribution of macronutrients.

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