COVID-19 is a relatively new disease and there is no strong clear evidence that fasting during Ramadan has any negative effects on healthy people during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, those at risk of developing health problems should refrain from fasting or should consult with their doctor first.
Many research on Ramadan’s impact on the immune system has shown that fasting can help the immune system recover. Fasting for consecutive days helps the body to begin forming new white blood cells, allowing the immune system to be rejuvenated and better able to combat infection. Number of white blood cells decreases when you are fasting long-term, so you have to make sure you are eating well to ensure your white blood cells return to normal count.
Here are several preventative recommendations for people who want to fast during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Make sure you are wearing masks at all times when you are stepping out from home, frequently wash your hands, and maintain a distance of at least one meter from others
- If a person is suffering from illness, the majority of religious scholars have often advised against fasting
- Avoid being in a crowded public space during your fast, such as a marketplace.
- Rest more during fasting
- Avoid going to mosques for prayer
Tips for better immunity during Ramadan:
- Don’t skip your sehri – your body will be exhausted due to long periods of hunger which will lower your immunity
- Lighter yet fulfilling foods that will help replenish all nutrients lost during the day
- Fruits can help boost your immune system, so eat lots of fruits and vegetables between iftar and sehri
- Don’t overeat as staying at a healthy weight is very important, especially during COVID-19. Being overweight puts you at risk for a variety of illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes, as well as in a COVID-19 high-risk group.
- Stay away from fried food and excessive sugar and fat.
- Avoid foods that make you thirsty
- Drink at least 1.5 – 2 liters of water every day
Supporting immune function and improving individual resistance have shown to be critical in combating COVID-19, and the most effective ways to improve and enhance personal immunity are to stop overeating high-calorie food and to engage in a proper exercise program.