Ramadan 2020 has come and Muslims have begun keeping fast. As coronavirus prevails throughout the country, several people frequently ask questions about how to stay active and how to boost immunity during this month. A strong immunity can prevent one from contracting coronavirus.
Zeina Younes, Clinical Dietitian at the Dubai Diabetes Centre, said, “Our immune system is the innate defense ability of our body to fight back infections that may come from viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other environmental toxins. We have some innate strengths and some are supplemented by the right nutrition.”
“While several studies have indicated that fasting or cutting back on calories can enhance the activity of our T-cells and boost our immunity, it is important to get adequate nutrition when ending the fast.”
“If those who fast during Ramadan consume diets that are high in bad fats and sugar at suhoor and iftar, they are most likely to deprive their body of balanced nutrition.”
To boost immunity, your diet must contain an adequate amount of nutrients.
Archana Biju, a clinical dietician at Burjeel Hospital Abu Dhabi, said, “In a recommended balanced diet, the proportions are well laid out. About 55 percent of nutrition comes from carbohydrates, 25 percent from proteins, and 20 percent from fats. When fasting, we need to keep the same proportion in mind and also focus on the quality and source of nutrition. For instance, a donut and a plate of mixed stir fry vegetables with quinoa or brown rice might give you the same calories. But a donut is fried and high in sugar and poor in nutrition, has a very high glycaemic index (GI is the rate at which the glucose is absorbed in the body), and is very small in portion size. It will make you feel hungry again. Whereas a plate of complex, whole grain carbohydrates with vegetables which has a low glycaemic index and rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber will keep the blood sugar steady for longer, provide far greater nutrition and boost one’s immune system. Therefore it is important to select the right kinds of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in your diet.”
“Proteins are important for repair and regeneration of tissue and cells and while we focus on animal sources of protein, it is essential to include legumes, lentils, and pulses in your diet and have one portion of plant-based protein in your diet at least once. Besides, in the case of plant-based proteins, one usually mixes them with a nutrient-dense carbohydrate like rice or whole-grain bread and vegetables. So one gets a balance of nutrition in one dish. In the case of animal protein, choose lean protein such as eggs, dairy, fish, or chicken and have it grilled, pan-fried, or baked. Too much oil can destroy the nutritional element,” she added.
Tips to increase immunity in Ramadan
- Add fresh nutrients to your diet during Ramadan. Take a variety of lentils, fruits, vegetables, grain, milk, and meat.
- Avoid packaged or can food, as they contain a lot of sugar and artificial flavors.
- Consume more fruits and vegetables that contain more Vitamin B, C, A, and D.
- Avoid fried items and heavy desserts in Ramadan, especially in Iftar
- Add lemon, garlic, mints, and other spices. Try adding less salt and sugar in cooking.
- Consume meat that contains less or no fat.
- Do not overcook vegetables, as they can lose their nutritional values.
- Drink sufficient water to cover water deficiency in Ramadan.
- Be physically active; do a light workout, go for a walk, or do light home chores.