Both Egypt’s top religious authority, Al-Azhar, and the World Health Organization (WHO) have said that there is so far no evidence of a link between fasting and becoming infected with the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
But the question remains, how does fasting affect the immune system?
Professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at Minya University Mohammed Ibrahim said that no academic studies so far have proved that fasting leads to coronavirus infection.
Ibrahim urged people to follow the WHO’s guidelines, which include cooking food thoroughly to avoid transmitting disease.
Ibrahim denied that people should follow a special diet to stave off coronavirus, whether a vegetarian, keto, or fasting diet. The correct diets, he said, are the ones that provide the body with enough nutrients, which when combined with sports and adequate sleep ensures a strong immune system.
Ibrahim explained that fasting strengthens the immune system by secreting new proteins and immune cells into the blood, which enhances the functions of the immune system to fight infection.
Fasting also cleanses the body from viruses and bacteria, enhances brain functions, lowers cholesterol, maintains heart health, treats digestion problems, maintains blood sugar levels, improves skin health and builds the immune system.
Fasting also help the brain increase BDNF proteins, which which produces new brain cells and neurotransmitters, reduces clots, increases serotonin, improves memory, and boosts brain activity.
Ibrahim underlined the importance of strengthening the immune system via a healthy diet, especially by eating foods rich in Vitamin C, such as lemon.
He also recommended walking for 30 minutes daily, sleeping for at least seven hours, and trying to relieve stress.
Quitting smoking is also recommended, as nicotine weakens the immune system, making the body more vulnerable to infection by viruses and bacteria.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm