Dr. Sam Onuh, a physician, has advised Muslims who wish to fast during the Ramadan to consume enough water few days to its commencement and throughout the period.
Onuh, who works at the Omu-Aran General Hospital in Kwara State, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday that consuming enough water would reduce the possibility of dehydration in the course of the fast.
NAN reports that Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Holy Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad.
The 2017 Ramadan is expected to start on Saturday, May 27, and last for 29 or 30 days.
Onuh noted that people who fast commonly experience dehydration largely because they are denying the body the required fluid.
“For people who are used to having breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in-between, the fasting period can be a major challenge.
“It is recommended that they consume plenty of water prior to fasting.
“Fasting can increase the stress level and disrupt sleep; dehydration, hunger or lack of sleep during fasting can also lead to headache. It can also cause heartburn.
“Lack of food leads to a reduction in stomach acid which digests food and destroys bacteria. But, smelling food or even thinking about it during fasting can trigger the brain into telling the stomach to produce more acid, thereby leading to heartburn,” he said.
He added that prolonged fasting could be beneficial because it could also be effective for the regeneration of the immune cells.
“This can also serve as a protection against cell damage caused by aging and chemotherapy.
“The good news is that the body, during fasting, gets rid of the parts of the system that may be damaged, old or is inefficient.
“Now, if you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system.
“Studies of intermittent fasting show that there are improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and also in insulin sensitivity,’’ he said.