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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

GP speaks on six potential health benefits to fasting during Ramadan

A GP from Bradford has explained some of the possible health benefits of fasting during Ramadan.

For Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a time of reflection, reading the Qur’an and dedication to God. The annual observance is one of the five pillars of Islam and lasts for twenty-nine to thirty days depending on the sighting of the moon.

For those who are able-bodied, the holy month is a time of fasting from Sunrise to Sunset, devoting themselves to their faith. It is a time of self-discipline and a time where Muslims can connect with those less fortunate.

Dr Ahmed has talked about the potential health benefits of fasting during Ramadan.

Pregnant women, those who are ill, and children do not have to fast during Ramadan.

Women who are menstruating have to make up for their missed fasts at a later date after Ramadan.

Fasting allows Muslims to attain piety. As humans we are susceptible to sins and fasting teaches devotees to refrain from worldly pleasures.

Fasting also allows Muslims to reap the benefit of the Night Power and to seek forgiveness for past mistakes.

Ramadan is also the time when most people pay Zakat, an obligatory donation from those with assets to those in need or charities, due to donations during the holy month significantly multiplying the divine rewards of one’s payment.

In Bradford, Ramadan began last Saturday and is expected to end on Monday 1 May, but it is always best to check with your Imam for the latest guidance.

In addition to the spiritual and religious benefits of Ramadan, fasting can also provide great physical and mental health benefits to those observing the religious month.

Ramadan is also a time for charity.

Dr Sohail Ahmed from Bradford who is a partner at a GP clinic in Halifax has spoken to Asian Standard about some of the potential health benefits of fasting during the month.

Dr Ahmed said: “If done in a balanced and planned manner, fasting offers these and many other benefits for health and wellbeing which are proven by the research done into intermittent fasting in recent years.

“It must, however, be noted, that Ramadan is a whole month of fasting, and the ability or advice to fast is dependent on individual health and activity levels.

“There are risks of dehydration, low blood pressure, or precipitating existing medical conditions, so if in doubt, please seek medical advice before deciding to fast.”

Here are some of the six potential health benefits of Ramadan, according to Dr Ahmed.

Weight management

The most obvious effect of fasting can be a reduction in weight for those wanting to manage their weight better.

With a balanced diet approach and avoiding binge eating (easier said than done!), it is possible to make a significant change in your weight during Ramadan.

Many benefits arise from having better weight control such as controlling or avoiding diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension.

Reducing insulin resistance for type 2 diabetics

Fasting can significantly help control diabetes but care must be taken as not everyone with diabetes has the same type or severity so you should check with your GP surgery and discuss whether it is safe for you to be fasting or not.

Reducing cholesterol

Fasting is proven to have a big part in regulating cholesterol production in the body.

High cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, so there are huge benefits to having lower cholesterol.

Reducing high blood pressure

Fasting can help keep blood pressure under control which can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and many other conditions related to high blood pressure.

Improving digestive health

can help with many digestive disorders such as Irritable bowel disease by allowing the digestive system to rest and recover for longer periods.

Increasing positive mental health and wellbeing

Fasting in Ramadan is a communal activity for many, a time for gatherings and socialising and also a time of reflection and contemplation.

These facets of Ramadan provide many benefits to support mental health and wellbeing.

If in doubt, please seek medical advice from a GP or pharmacist before deciding to fast.

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