Fasting can restore your immune system during the Holy month of Ramadan

Sushma Ghag, Dietician, Aster Hospital Mankhool

Fasting is an important part of the Ramadan rituals followed during the Holy month by Muslims worldwide.

In the wake of the pandemic, the COVID - 19 virus has infected millions of people around the world and killed thousands, especially people with immunodeficiency. In dealing with COVID -19, maintaining good hygiene and a strong immune system are considered effective preventive measures. Modern exercise training and proper nutrition are the most important factors to support the immune function.

Fasting and immunity during Ramadan

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.

The immune system in the human body is an organization consisting of cells and molecules that play a role in defending against infections. Fasting for at least 3 days allows the body to start producing new white blood cells, which rejuvenates the immune system to fight infections.

Fasting tips to keep in mind during the month of Ramadan:

  • Sufficient intake of carbohydrates, protein substrates, polyphenols, minerals and vitamins may produce better outcomes in terms of exercise recovery and efficient immune function.
  • A well-balanced diet containing drinking water, carbohydrate-rich foods, grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables is necessary to maintain viral protection and reduce exercise-induced inflammation. Individuals who are fasting should consume these nutritional items by a pattern of small frequent meals from the Iftar to Suhoor
  • One must exercise at least 1 hour after the Iftar meal
  • With regard to pre-exercise nutrition, it is proposed that a light meal containing at least 1gm of carbohydrate per kilogram of body mass is suitable for the iftar meal to increase net carbohydrate availability during the subsequent exercise session

Exercise training has been known as a lifestyle factor that can maintain and even promote immune function and act like a vaccine against certain diseases/infections through producing physiological stress in the human body which lead to a series of adaptations occurring to overcome these stimuli

Reference: Front. Nutr., 13 January 2021 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2020.570235