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Do I Fast During the Coronavirus Pandemic? It’s an important question that might have popped into your minds with Ramadan coinciding with an exceptional global health crisis. There have been previous warnings about dehydration as it might cause a potential COVID-19 infection and all credible medical entities have agreed that strong immunity is essential during the time of this pandemic. This has led to a debate about the risks of fasting this year.
Resolving the controversy, here are the religious and medical opinions and some tips that could help us keep our bodies hydrated throughout the 16 hours of fasting and boost our immunities.
The religious side “Al Fatwa”
Both Egypt’s Dar Al Ifta and The Sheikhdom of Al Azhar Al Sharif issued a fatwa stated that fasting has nothing to do with coronavirus infection and that Muslims should not skip fasting during Ramadan as long as they don’t fall under the exempted category due to chronic diseases, special conditions, or old age.
As per WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, it has not been proven that drinking water is a preventative measure against COVID- 19 infections and that people can wet their mouths as long as it doesn’t reach their throats. Both entities issued this fatwa after discussing the manner with a medical committee.
The health side
In a previous study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information in 2017, results stated that fasting during Ramadan has been shown to only mildly influence the immune system, and the alterations are transient. The study also mentioned that this applies to healthy people with no chronic diseases or special medical conditions.
How to avoid dehydration and boost immunity during fasting?
According to WebMD, these are some tips for maintaining hydration and immunity:
- Drink plenty of water but not at once, because this way your body will flush it immediately. Divide it along the non-fasting hours.
- Lessen your diuretic drinks intake like tea and coffee.
- Avoid spicy and salty food as they increase your body’s need for water.
- Avoid heat exposure during fasting hours.
- Sleep well.
- Include lots of fresh, rather than frozen, vegetables and fruits, that are rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene in your Iftar and Suhoor meals like orange, broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kiwi, strawberry, tomato, sweet potato, carrot, watermelon, pumpkin, spinach, cabbage, and lettuce.
- Include foods that are rich in zinc in your meals like whole grains, nuts, seafood, red meat, and egg.
- Take a daily vitamin supplement.
Don’t forget to consult with your doctor if you have some concerns about fasting due to any health problems.
Further reading: 15 Suhoor Foods to Keep you Energized During Ramadan