Ramadan fasting is one of the commands in Islam that must be carried out by every Muslim. The children are also accustomed to fasting even though it was not full for a day. The duration of Ramadan fasting ranges from 13-18 hours depending on climate and place, while in Indonesia the average fasting for Ramadan is 13-14 hours. Fasting is carried out by Muslim from dawn to sunset, and eating and drinking are not allowed while fasting.

Ramadan fasting in 2021 is the second year of fasting during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the second year of this pandemic, the number of Covid-19 cases has begun to decline in Indonesia along with the increasing compliance of the community to implement the 5M Health Protocols (using masks, washing hands, maintaining distance, avoiding crowds and limiting mobilization) and vaccination in Indonesia has begun. Of course this will bring a different atmosphere from the previous year. However we still have a concern since Covid-19 pandemic has not yet been completed, so we have to be vigilant especially in the month of Ramadan when praying activities are increased.

Will Ramadan fasting be beneficial for health?

Research conducted by experts has found that Ramadan fasting provides various health benefits include: improving blood sugar levels through a mechanism to increase insulin sensitivity, improving blood pressure and pulse frequency, decreasing weight in overweight/obese individuals, and improving fat levels in the blood. In terms of immunity, fasting can reduce levels of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1B, IL-6 and TNF alpha), markers of oxidative stress and CRP. Thus Ramadan fasting during the Covid-19 pandemic is safe and is not reducing immunity, and this applies to individuals who do not have previous chronic diseases.

If an individual has chronic diseases such as Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus, Heart Disorders or Kidney Disorders, it is advisable to consult a doctor whether it is permissible to do Ramadan fasting or not.

Ramadan fasting during the Covid-19 pandemic can be carried out safely and will provide health benefits as long as there is a balance between food intake and physical activity. During fasting month of Ramadan, it is recommended to consume foods with complete nutrition which contain carbohydrates, protein, fats, vegetables and fruits and must be sufficient to drink. The source of carbohydrates consumed should come from complex carbohydrates such as brown/white rice, potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes or cassava. Meanwhile,consumption of foods made from simple carbohydrates such as noodles, bread and sugar should be minimized. This is because the consumption of simple carbohydrates will actually reduce the work of immune system, and this condition should not be occurred during Covid-19 pandemic. Consumption of vegetables and fruit must also be sufficient to meet the needs of vitamins and minerals which are very important in ensuring the work of immune system. Consuming dark green vegetables and colorful fruits will fulfill the needs of Vitamin C and Vitamin E which play very important roles in the immune system. In addition to food intake, adequate drinking is also very important so that dehydration does not occur which will aggravate a person’s health condition. For adults, the adequacy of drinking for a day is approximately 8 glasses. During fasting, the consumption of this drink is divided between the time of breaking the fast and the time of dawn.

In addition of adequate amount of food intake, physical activity or exercise must also be done during Ramadan fasting. Exercise is known to increase endurance and the work of immune system so that it can help to fight infection. Exercising during the fasting month should be done before breaking the fast or at night after performing tarawih prayer. Exercise that can be done before breaking the fast is exercise with light intensity, while mild to moderate exercise can be done after breaking the fast. If a person performs exercise before breaking the fast, it is recommended to immediately drink and eat snacks in sufficient amount in breaking time. If a person does exercise at night, it is suggested to eat snacks and drink beforehand.

The last thing to be watched out during the fasting month of Ramadan in this pandemic is getting enough rest. Make sure to get enough sleep at least 5 hours and to add rest during the day about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Adequacy of rest will help to keep the body in shape so that immune system can also work optimally to prevent infection.

Have a good Ramadan fasting service, hopefully we all will stay healthy with fasting during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Translated by: Titis (Public Relations)