My Opinion on Fasting Ramadan
Today we’re going to talk about the relationship between fasting during Ramadan and its immune effects. Overall, fasting is an extremely healthy practice, so fasting during Ramadan can have a slew of positive health effects.
These effects can be made even better if, when you do eat during Ramadan, you follow a healthy ketogenic diet.
In this article, I will cover:
- The basics of Ramadan
- The benefits of fasting
- How you can make the benefits even stronger by adding keto
Ramadan: The Basics
The hooly month of Ramadan lasts between 29 and 30 days. During that time, you’re required to abstain from eating and drinking from “just before sunrise” to “just after sunset.”
This is a dry fast, meaning that, during fasting hours, you’re not even supposed to drink any water. Now, before we get into the benefits of fasting Ramadan, I do want to point out this one very important thing: if you look at some of the studies done on Ramadan, you’re going to see some mixed reviews. I think that the reason for that is that there is no regulation about what you eat before or after your fast, and these choices are really going to make or break your success.
If you’re eating a lot of junk food or refined carbohydrates, specifically, that is going to greatly inhibit the amazing effects that you could achieve if you added keto-friendly foods - foods that are low-carb - during the meals.
The Benefits of Fasting
Before we get into that, though, let’s discuss the benefits of fasting Ramadan.
Fasting during Ramadan - and in general - will trigger certain healthy responses in the body. These include:
Think about it: ketones, in general, are antimicrobial. When you fast, you actually decrease cytokines. Cytokines are chemical messages that communicate between your immune cells. There are various types of cytokines.
Some of them actually cause inflammation. Those are the ones that we’re talking about. Fasting will decrease the number of these cytokines, thereby decreasing the trigger to inflammation.
Fasting Ramadan will also stimulate something called macrophages.
A macrophage is a large cell that eats bacteria, microbes, and viruses. It’s like a professional phagocyte, which is essentially like a garbage disposal that’s a deadly killer and one of the first lines of defense against any type of microbe invasion.
The more you can stimulate macrophages, the better the immune system.
A Healthier Microbiome
Next, it will increase the microbiome.
The term “microbiome” describes the friendly microbes in the body that help you. In fact, this is the majority of your immune system, and it’s located in your large intestines.
Without it, your risk for infection goes straight up. When you do fasting, the microbes that make up your microbiome actually live longer. This may seem counterintuitive since you’re actually kind of starving these microbes during a fast, but it’s true.
Greater Resistance to Stress
The next thing is resistance to stress. When you fast, you actually increase your body’s capacity to fight off stress and DNA damage. How? Well, it turns out that, in one study, fasting actually led to stronger, more resilient cells when faced with stress.
Again, it sounds counterintuitive, but fasting actually kicks the cells into high gear.
Decreased Oxidative Stress
When you fast, you’re also going to have less free radical damage. This is very important over time, since unchecked free radical damage can, in the long term, lead to cell damage, DNA damage, and even diseases like cancer.
You’re also going to get an increase in production in your antioxidant networks when you fast. This can also help as well since antioxidants are natural free-radical fighters, and they can stabilize any free radicals that do appear in the body.
Finally, fasting will increase autophagy, which is your body’s ability to recycle old, damaged parts, and microbes. There’s a very specific type of autophagy that targets pathogens. Fasting can increase this type of autopathy, thereby helping your body eliminate these microbes that can otherwise stay dormant in your body for many years.
How Adding Keto Can Help
Ramadan has huge, powerful effects on the immune system. I think it could be even better if you also add keto. If you’re new to my channel, here’s a link of exactly what you should be eating to enhance your benefits. If you want more information about fasting, check out these videos:
- Intermittent Fasting Basics for Beginners
- Different Benefits Between the Ketogenic Diet vs Intermittent Fasting
- Why Keto and Intermittent Fasting Really Works
- The Effects of Autophagy on Infection
- Intermittent Fasting for Beginners
- Will Apple Cider Vinegar Break Your Fast
Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.