Fasting Benefits Heart & Hypertension Patients: Pakistani Doctor

LAHORE – Several scientific studies are clarifying that fasting Ramadan isn’t only for spiritual purification but for a better health as well.

“Ramadan fasting can be beneficial for patients suffering from hypertension or heart diseases in case they take proper medical guidance and follow a dietary plan after consulting their physicians,” Dr. Tariq Masood Niazi, Additional Medical Superintendent at Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan told The News on May 24.

“It’s generally observed that most of the patients suffering from hypertension or heart diseases feel a lot better under the fast if they follow their physicians’ advice on food and medication,” Niazi said.

He added that opting for fasting in Ramadan depends on age, stage of the disease, and dietary habits of the patient suffering from ischemic heart disease as every heart patient may not be allowed to fast by his or her physician.

“The most important thing for a heart patient is a schedule of medicines and if it isn’t disturbed due to fasting, the patient may fast,” he said.

The doctor also advised that a heart patient shouldn’t get a stomach full of food even if he’s allowed to fast by his or her physician.

Niazi clarified that if a heart patient falls prey to dehydration under the fast, it may cause serious complications.

“Fasting regulates body functions and helps control blood pressure that ultimately gives a lot of benefits to the patients suffering from hypertension aka high blood pressure,” he explained.

The Muslim physician further stated that fasting, being a natural way to normalize body weight, helps dissolve all unnecessary and unnatural fats deposits in the body that may reduce risk factor of heart attack and other heart diseases.

On selection of food for heart patients, while fasting, he said “moderate use of monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, canola oil, various dry fruits such as almond, walnut, peanuts… etc. is safe for heart patients however they should avoid Trans fats found in French fries, chips, crackers, cakes, biscuits, ‘samosas’, ‘pakoras’, sweets, banaspati ghee and hydrogenated oils.”

Niazi continued that “a fasting heart patient should consume vegetables especially leafy ones, salads, and fruits but not fruit trifles. They should use more lemon and can take milk and yogurt but without cream. Heart patients should use brown flour or bread and simple chapatti, not ‘parathas’.”

“A heart patient can eat one teaspoonful of honey and few dates daily and should use less salt and spices. That’s in addition to drinking a lot of water from ‘Iftar’ to ‘Sohour’,” he remarked.

Ramadan fasting is only obligatory for adult fit Muslims, Islamic Shari’ah exempts sick Muslims from fasting.