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How to remain fit and healthy while fasting during Ramadan in UAE despite COVID-19.
Suchitra Bajpai Chaudhary | Gulf News
Filed on 2021-04-15 | Last updated on 2021-04-15 04:24:03

Dubai: UAE doctors have cautioned patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to be mindful of their nutrition, hydration, sleep and physical fitness if they plan to observe the fast during Ramadan.
International medical journals and organsiations such as the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) have warned that even two to three months after recovery, long-haul patients of COVID-19 are likely to suffer from several symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, poor muscle tone, threats of blood clots and brain fogging among other side-effects.

Why is water intake so important for post-COVID patients?
Juliot Vinolia, clinical dietician and consultant nutritionist at Medeor Hospital elaborated: “Unlike the regular fasting diets, Ramadan fasting involves the withdrawal of both food and water, Therefore, dehydration risks should be mindfully managed. Post-COVID patients must take extra precaution in staying well-hydrated during Ramadan and at all times. “ She further explained: “Individuals who suffered from very serious impact of the virus experience a cytokine storm (where the body’s immune cells turn rouge and begin attacking the healthy cells). This increases the inflammatory and blood clotting factors in the body. Dehydration further complicates the side effects of the inflammatory response of an active virus or vaccine.
Dehydration makes you infection prone
“The eyes, nose, mouth and gut are the entry zones for viruses and other pathogens. Dehydration makes our body’s protective barriers like the mucosal lining very dry and it is easier for the pathogens to easily cling on to dry surface and travel deep into our body and multiply. This also is the reason behind increase in gastrointestinal infections among people eating more outside food during humid summers with heat-resistant thermophilic bacteria. Proper hydration outside fasting hours can keep our body’s first line of defence strong against the invasion of pathogens, while following good hygiene practices.”
Consume water and fibre-rich food
Vinolia explained. “While the dense carbs such as whole grains, legumes and pulses are a good source of micro and macro nutrition, water-rich berries, vegetables and fruit will add more water-content to the body. The fibre-rich, non-processed food items will help hold water in the body which will be of great help to post COVID-19 patients observing the fast.”
Keep up with your circadian rhythms
Circadian rhythms refer to the syncing of the human body and other living organisms to sunrise and sunset. When we keep awake during the night and sleep during the day, that disrupts the natural rhythm and affects the metabolism, hormonal impact on body’s processes and weakens our immunity. That is why Dr George advises post-COVID patients to catch up on their sleep. “In UAE, residents most sleep for five-seven hours day. I advise all COVID-19 patients in general, to sleep at least two hours more than this, to accelerate healing and rejuvenation. They can follow this sleeping pattern even during Ramadan and not stay awake through the night.”
Boost your immune system
Post-COVID patients who are fasting during Ramadan, need to follow the following guidelines: No matter what variant of the virus the efficacy of one’s immune system or the efficacy of a vaccine solely depends on the overall health status of an individual. The deleterious mortality effect of the immune response of post-COVID exposure is mainly due preexisting imbalances in our body that affect poor recovery and lowers longevity.
The most immune influencing factors:
1. Environment: We need to make our homes toxin free, have good aeration and healthy sunlight. These reduce our predisposition to disease.
2. Mental stress: Managing depression, loneliness, toxic impact of people should be managed and therapy taken as needed. Seeking help is a life saver and one should not hesitate.
3. Healthy sleep: A good circadian rhythm is the driving force of our body. Imbalance can lead to hormonal imbalances and poor regeneration of damaged tissue. Sleep plays a vital role in the formation of immune related enzymes.
4. Quality nutrition intake is also vital. While following a healthy fasting regimen, we should be mindful to take adequate nutrients our limited food intake and prevent any deficiencies. Deficiency of Vitamin D, Zinc, Vitamin C has shown poor immune response.
5. Toxin-free lifestyle: Our food, cosmetics, home-cleaning agents and other consumables should be as least in toxins as possible as these are latent stress-inducing factors apart from mental stress.
6. Keeping track of health status and nutritional status can keep us all on a safe journey through any pandemic.
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