Document Type: Review Article
Dubai Health Authority, Dubai, UAE
Dubai health authority, UAE
Department of Pharmacology Faculty of Medicine, Sebha University, Sebha, Libya.
Introduction: Millions of Muslims across the world observe Islamic fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, as well as the other specific dates in the lunar calendar year. While fasting during this month, Muslims refrain from eating or drinking from dawn to dusk. Islamic fasting is similar to alternate day fasting (ADF) since it incorporates an average of 12 hours of fasting and 12 hours of feasting periods. This present review study is aimed to find out the common adverse health effects associated with Islamic fasting and the preventive measures to be followed to avoid them. Methods: The literature was reviewed through searching in databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, and reference lists to identify the related articles. Results: Many health benefits have been attributed to Islamic fasting, including the reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, and asthma. On the other hand, some studies have mentioned a few health problems associated with Islamic fasting, such as headaches, heartburn, constipation, dehydration, decreased sleep quality, and anemia, which may occur in some fasting individuals during Ramadan. Conclusion: Islamic fasting could be beneficial for health if it is performed correctly. During Ramadan, fasting individuals are advised to adhere to a balanced diet that contains sufficient portions of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, pulses, meat, fish, milk, and dairy products. Moreover, fasting individuals must drink adequate fluids, such as water, fresh fruit juices, and soups, in order to prevent the possible adverse health effects associated with Islamic fasting.