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Keep fit during Ramadan, advise UAE doctors

Keep fit during Ramadan, advise UAE doctors

Doctors give tips on what to eat and what not to during the holy month.

By Jasmine Al Kuttab

Published: Sun 22 May 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 22 May 2016, 11:57 AM

The holy month of Ramadan is just about two weeks away, and although it is a special time for over a billion Muslims around the world to show their patience, virtue, appreciation, as well as remembering their acts of charity and kindness, the period can also trigger health issues if precautions are not taken early, nor seriously.
With the sizzling heat and humidity coinciding with the month of fasting, it is crucial to keep hydrated and remain active.
Moreover, those who already suffer from health issues - whether related to diabetes, the heart, gastric or kidney problems, as well as pregnant women - must take serious note and consult their doctor prior to fasting.
Khaleej Times spoke to doctors and nutritionists in the UAE, for some tips on how one can stay healthy during Ramadan.
How to break the fast
Majority of the people often wait for the clock to strike the moment when the fast may be broken and they forget the importance of including nutrition in their first rewarding bite.
Dr Anita Das Gupta, Chief Clinical Dietician, at Burjeel Hospital, told Khaleej Times that the most critical factor to be considered during Ramadan is keeping hydrated.

Avoid fried food> Butter, ghee, dairy and organ meat, such as chicken liver, need to be crossed out.
>Trans-saturated-fat, which is typically found in junk food, decreases the good choles-terol in the body and should be passed-up.
"The most important thing is to make sure that you do not feel dehydrated during the day."
However, she pointed out that it is often easier said than done, due to the short amount of hours that one has to drink the recommended amount of water during Ramadan.
"Between the time of Iftar and Suhur they need to drink as much fluids as possible, it might be difficult, but it needs to be spread evenly."
The recommended intake of water is usually six to eight glasses. "It is vital to drink plenty of water, otherwise one will feel faint during the day and it could lead to greater complications."
"The blood thickens and causes the person to feel headaches, confusion and exhaustion."
She noted that fizzy drinks such as cola, as well as processed and sugary juices, must be avoided, as they often cause more thirst.
Dr Gupta also gave some tips on how to break a fast ... the proper way.
"Break your fast at the time of Iftar with two to three dates, which is filled with plenty of fibre. Follow it by water, a healthy homemade soup, and then a proper meal that includes nutritious groups, such as green vegetables, protein and cereal."
"Avoid any processed or fried items and do not over eat, despite how hungry you might feel," she noted.
Carine Tanios, Senior Dietitian at Nutri Nutrition Centre said that not only is hydration crucial, but fibre is equally critical, as "the colon becomes extremely lazy for those who are fasting during Ramadan."
She thus pointed out that breaking one's fast by eating dates, is not only the Islamic way, but it is also beneficial for the body.
"Dates are filled with fibre that the colon needs. They are also filled with natural sugar, so it will give the body a great boost."
She noted that one should have small meals from the time of Iftar and Suhoor.
"Eat non-sugary yogurt, a homemade vegetable soup, a meal with plenty of vegetables and protein and drink freshly squeezed juice, as well as water."
"Do not eat everything at the same time, you must spread the meals evenly and give the body the break it deserves."

Carine Tanios.
Carine Tanios.

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