Publish date: 27 March 2023
Staying healthy during Ramadan
Those observing Ramadan are encouraged to remember their health.
The practice of fasting is an important part of Ramadan. This includes a complete abstinence from food, drink and smoking between dawn and sunset over the entire month.
Those observing the time for reflection, evaluation and fasting are, however, being encouraged to remember to ensure they stay healthy during that time. This advice is particularly important for anyone who has diabetes, takes prescribed medicines or who needs a medical appointment during the holy period.
It’s important that any meals had before dawn and at dusk are like a typical diet outside of fasting and that they still contain items from all the major food groups including:
- Fruit and vegetables
- Bread, other cereals and potatoes
- Meat, fish and alternatives
- Milk and dairy foods
- Foods containing fat and sugar
People with a prescribed medication are being reminded to continue to take this as normal, and to check with their GP if they have any concerns about doses or needing to adjust the time these are taken. Attending any scheduled medical appointments is also very important.
There are some exemptions allowed to fasting: Those who are unwell due to conditions like diabetes, blood pressure, heart and/or lung disease, or those on medications, pregnant or the elderly. It is especially important that anyone with diabetes and that wants to fast speaks to their doctor or diabetes nurse about the safest way to do this. Diabetes UK have specific advice for this and you can find it here.
Anyone that starts to feel unwell while fasting should stop and seek medical advice. You can do this by visiting 111.nhs.uk, seeking out a pharmacy or calling 111 or your GP practice for advice.
The month-long observation concludes with Eid Al-Fitr, a celebration traditionally centred around visiting family and friends, and eating. Feasting heavily after an extended period of fasting is not recommended and moderation should be considered.