UBC experts on Ramadan and fasting

March 19, 2024

UBC experts on Ramadan and fasting Q&AsThe holy month of Ramadan, observed by Muslims with fasting from dawn until dusk, starts on March 11. UBC experts are available to share their insights on topics related to Ramadan, including why the date for Ramadan changes every year and helpful tips for managing health and nutrition during the month. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar where each month is 29 or 30 days long (the exact length of a month is 29.53 days). As a result, the beginning of Ramadan shifts every year in our Gregorian calendar.”Dr. Sun KwokEmail: [email protected] language(s): English, CantoneseHow can patients manage medications and go for diagnostic tests while fasting? During Ramadan, Muslims who are sick are exempted from fasting.

UBC experts on Ramadan and fasting

Q&As

The holy month of Ramadan, observed by Muslims with fasting from dawn until dusk, starts on March 11. UBC experts are available to share their insights on topics related to Ramadan, including why the date for Ramadan changes every year and helpful tips for managing health and nutrition during the month. 

Why does the date for Ramadan change every year?

 

Dr. Sun Kwok, honorary professor in the department of earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences and author of Our Place in the Universe: Understanding Fundamental Astronomy from Ancient Discoveries, explains that the date for Ramadan changes each year because the Islamic calendar follows the moon and not the sun:  

“Ramadan starts on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar where each month is 29 or 30 days long (the exact length of a month is 29.53 days). Since 12 months will only give 354 days, short of the 365.24 days of a solar year, the Islamic calendar is not in sync with the solar calendar. As a result, the beginning of Ramadan shifts every year in our Gregorian calendar.” 

Dr. Sun Kwok
Email: [email protected]
Interview language(s): English, Cantonese 

How can patients manage medications and go for diagnostic tests while fasting?

 

During Ramadan, Muslims who are sick are exempted from fasting. But patients with chronic medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure may still choose to fast. Dr. Ali Reza Ladak, assistant professor of teaching in the faculty of pharmaceutical sciences, recommends that patients talk to their health-care providers before they begin fasting during Ramadan:  

“Patients should trust their health-care providers to guide them in navigating medication management and diagnostic tests during fasting in Ramadan. Some medications may be taken without alteration, while others may necessitate slight adjustments in timing. In contrast, significant modifications to medication regimens and dosages, coupled with vigilant monitoring, may be required in certain instances. Collaborative efforts between patients and health-care professionals are crucial to mitigate any potential risks and ensure patient safety.” 

Dr. Ali Reza Ladak
Tel: 604-827-0701
Email: [email protected]
Interview language(s): English
Available weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

How can we properly prepare meals for refrigeration? How do we make sure foods we prepare in advance do not go bad?

 

Muslims wake up as early as 3 a.m. to eat breakfast and observe prayers ahead of fasting. Some may not have the energy to cook that early in the morning and will prepare food in advance. Dr. Siyun Wang, associate professor in the faculty of land and food systems, emphasizes that food must be stored outside of the temperature danger zone to prevent bacteria growth: 

“Chill your meals immediately after cooking as bacteria multiply fast in the temperature danger zone which is 4 C to 60 C. Ensure that your fridge holds an interior temperature below 6 C and do not overcrowd the fridge to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Lastly, store your prepped meals in shallow containers with airtight lids for no longer than 3-4 days. If it takes longer for you to eat the meals, then store the food in the freezer instead of the fridge.” 

Dr. Siyun Wang
Tel: 604-827-1734
Email: [email protected]
Interview language(s): English, Mandarin 

What are the best foods to eat for energy that lasts during periods of fasting throughout the day? What foods will make you tired?

 

People may experience fatigue while fasting. Dr. Gail Hammond, associate professor of teaching in the faculty of land and food systems, recommends eating a whole, balanced meal to sustain energy: 

“I would recommend eating healthy whole foods that provide a variety of nutrients. For example, lean protein foods such as fish or chicken, grain products like rice or bread, nutrient-dense beverages such as milk and smoothies, and healthy fats such as avocados, olives, and nuts. Fruit provides many nutrients along with fibre that may sustain energy for a period of time. Sugary beverages and processed foods are typically quickly metabolized, which can generate a period of high energy that quickly plummets, creating a slump in one’s energy level.” 

Dr. Gail Hammond
Email: [email protected]
Interview language(s): English 

The source of this news is from The University of British Columbia

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