Although I am excused from fasting due to health reasons I still fast as I have found it benefits my mental and physical health.

Nearly two billion Muslims have started to fast for the holy month of Ramadan. From China in the East to North Africa and South America - Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and smoking between dawn and dusk.

Abstention from food and drink is observed in many of the world’s great faiths including Christianity, Bhuddism and Judaism. Fasting has not only been proven to be beneficial for physical health but is also beneficial for mental health too.

Although I am excused from fasting due to health reasons I don’t refrain from fasting and have never missed any, even when I have been mentally unwell and was living at different hospitals in Greater Manchester.

Personally, I have found fasting creates a profound sense of happiness and joy after completing each fast which concludes after a month with the celebration of Eid.

Fasting teaches self control and discipline and very importantly it creates empathy for the less well off as they are choiceless and their fasting is unending. Another objective of the month is to create awareness and a link with God.

Ramadan is a spiritual month where believers control not only their stomachs but also their tongues by not speaking about wrong things, their eyes by not looking at wrong things and their ears by not listening to wrong things. This special month is also about bonding with the holy Quran which was initially revealed to Prophet Muhammad (s) in Ramadan. Believers are encouraged to read the Quran profusely and each evening a chapter of the Quran is recited in special 90 minute prayers.

My brother and nephew have both memorised the Quran so they will be leading the prayers at mosque and at home.

Ramadan is also a month of charity and feeding the poor and the destitute. Although there is poverty in the UK it is nothing compared to parts of Africa and Asia and other parts of the world where people are so poor and desperate that they end up having to sell their own children or their organs.

Throughout the month it is normal to receive various dishes from neighbours, including samosas and kebabs to various sweet dishes and dessserts. Relatives usually visit with a huge assortment of food in tow.

In terms of the health benefits, fasting can improve blood sugar control for those at risk of diabetes. It can also help with weight control, brain function and may also help to enhance a healthy heart. Some studies have found that fasting may delay ageing and increase life span.

As I suffer from diabetes I am exempt from fasting as it can cause spikes and crashes in my blood sugar levels which could be dangerous.

However with the advice of doctors I am fasting while being carefully monitored. I have experienced low and high blood sugars so I know when I am experiencing either one. So if I experience a hypo I know that I have to break my fast and need to ingest something sweet immediately. During the initial stages of the month it is quite hard to adjust to the new regime, as time progresses however there is a daily feeling of achievement and satisfaction. Ultimately, this contributes to better mental health and positivity.

Over the years, I have noticed a significant difference in my mental health after completing a month of fasting and have felt like I could keep on fasting for the rest of the year.

Staff at the unit where I live, have been helping me to fast during the holy month by adjusting my medication times and supporting me to prepare a night-time meal and regularly checking my blood sugars.

It does get lonely sometimes, when I have to eat the early morning meal and fast-breaking meal alone but my brother has been dropping off food for me. I really appreciate my family’s unconditional support for me over the past decade. I hope to get more leave to go home and break my fasts with my loved ones.

I make a recommendation to every person that regular fasting is highly beneficial for physical and mental health.

In a world where enough food is produced to feed every person, nearly a billion people still go to bed at night hungry. This is unacceptable; how can so many people greedily overeat and waste food when many people are starving.

After Ramadan finishes, it is a time of joy at completing such a gruelling task, and Muslims celebrate Eid. Children get new clothes and money, and tasty food is shared between family members.

Special charitable collections take place at mosques, and friends and relatives visit each other. It is a day of reflection and success at having fasted for a month.