Sharjah, April 29, 2020: As part of its annual Ramadan campaign “Hilal Al-Seha” aimed at clarifying the best health and food practices that should be adopted in Ramadan, the Health Promotion Department, HPD, at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah, recently organized a webinar, in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), on the health and nutritional benefits of fasting in amid new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
With the participation of more than 180 individuals from inside and outside the country, the webinar was moderated by Dr. Ayoub Al Jawaldeh, WHO Regional Adviser for Nutrition, who touched on the health benefits of fasting in Ramadan, especially if carried out in a right way, pointing out that fasting helps people get rid of toxins, reduce blood sugar levels, break down fat deposits, as well as the essential role of fasting in immunizing the body as it helps regenerate the immune system cells and lessen the possibility of getting infected with viral and immune diseases.
Al Jawaldeh pointed to the importance of adopting a healthy diet and eating fresh foods as much as we can, as well as what to eat and what to avoid in Ramadan, warning of eating fried foods and those containing high levels of salt, and spices to avoid thirst in Ramadan.
He advised reducing salt consumption, since around 17% of heart attack can be avoided if managed to reduce salt intake by one gram, plus we have to consume around 8 – 12 cups of water (approx. 2 liters) between Iftar and Suhoor, as water will help in cleaning the digestive system, kidneys, and intestines and getting rid of toxins.
The WHO Regional Advisor called for the necessity of exercising three hours after breakfast on a daily basis, in addition to eating vegetables, fruits, grains, and high-protein legumes and avoiding saturated and trans fats.
Her Excellency Iman Rashid Saif, Director of the Health Promotion Department, said that this webinar is the first of activity of “Hilal Al-Seha” campaign which aims to raise people’s awareness about the importance of fasting and what should be followed to maintain health in the holy month and to seize this opportunity to boost your immunity and protect yourself from diseases.
She added: “Maintaining people’s health and raising their awareness and healthy habits and behaviors through meaningful programs, initiatives and campaigns are one the HPD’s priorities in accordance with its vision in building a healthy society and reinforcing Sharjah’s reputation and status as the Middle East’s first health city, thanks to the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah, in terms of raising health awareness of Sharjah and UAE population.”
Fasting boosts the immune system
The one-hour event included a number of nutritional tips in Ramadan and that fasting doesn’t contradict with the prevention of COVID-19, however, it has to be performed in a correct way to boost immunity.
The webinar also discussed the importance of avoiding artificial juices and soft drinks at breakfast and suhoor, given the high levels of sugar they contain and thus increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes, where 66% of men and 60% of women worldwide are obese, as well as 50% of premature deaths caused by obesity-related chronic diseases.
This year’s edition of “Hilal Al-Seha” campaign is held online through the HPD’s social media platforms in coordination with WHO Regional Office, due to the spread of COVID-19 and in line with the precautionary measures taken by the UAE.