Heba Nassar, Head of the Health Education Department at Qatar Cancer Society (QCS) – the holy month of Ramadan gives the opportunity to adopt a healthy lifestyle that helps in losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight and regulates blood sugar.
During Ramadan people can reconsider unhealthy food habits, such as eating too much fatty food. Therefore, fasting helps in renewing and activating body system and organs to get rid of accumulated body waste.
To maintain a healthy diet, it is preferred to start your meal with dates and water then having soup which helps in controlling the quantity of food you consume. It is important to eat food slowly and wisely, not too fast. As well as, it is recommended to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration because water maintains the balance of the human body which is necessary for the absorption of many nutrients. It is very important to drink 2.7 litres – 3.7 litres of water per day.
Heba Nassar advised that you should avoid eating fried and fatty food such as fried potato and samosa as these foods contain high levels of the daily recommended fat and salt intake; so eating them frequently may increase the impact of fatigue and exhaustion, in addition, foods that contain high amounts of salt such as pickles, can dehydrate the body and affect the ability to absorb fluids.
She also advised that precautions and proper guidelines should be followed when working out before Iftar. Exercising just before Iftar should be limited and for no longer than 60 minutes, preferably in an air-conditioned location. After you break the fast, drink sufficient amounts of fluids and water to replenish salts and minerals lost by the body, and have good rest. As it is advisable to perform physical activity three hours after you break the fast as by then the body has completed the digestion process in an air-conditioned place.
“Due to the spread of coronavirus which is an infectious disease that affects the respiratory system, this holy month can be used to enhance human immunity and resists contagious diseases. As we must be aware of the preventive measures to avoid the disease, such as washing your hands regularly with alcohol-based sanitizer or with soap, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and try to maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing,” she said.
An American research has found that fasting for a short period of time (for 3 days) renews the whole immune system and stimulates stem cells to renew white blood cells that resist infections. Another study has shown that fasting for a long period of time forces the human body to use glucose and fats storage which destroys most of the white blood cells. So, these changes lead to renewing the immune system cells by stem cells. Also, they found that prolonged fasting reduces the ageing enzymes responsible for increasing the risk of tumours and cancer. Therefore, prolonged fasting increases body resistance to infections and diseases. Also, decreases the risk of developing cancers and tumours, Nassar added .