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Top Tips for Continued Healthy Eating During Ramadan

With the Holy month of Ramadan almost upon us, many people are gearing up for the religious fast. Some may be fasting for the first time, and others, while not fasting on religious grounds, may choose to share the experiences of this special time with friends and colleagues.

Nutritionist and founder of Good Habits, Carole Holditch offers advice on how to continue to eat healthily and to give sustained energy throughout the fasting month. She says, “The secret is not to make your diet differ very much from your normal healthy diet and should be as simple as possible.” She continued, “This should allow you to maintain your normal weight, but if you are over-weight, Ramadan is a good time to shed some pounds”.

Carole’s recommends the following:

In view of the long hours of fasting, consume slow digesting foods including fibre containing-foods rather than rapid-digesting foods. Slow digesting foods last up to 8 hours, while rapid-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours.

Slow-digesting foods are foods contain grains and seeds such as barley, wheat, oats, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour, and unpolished rice. These are called complex carbohydrates.

Rapid-burning foods are foods containing ingredients such as sugar and white flour, ie refined carbohydrates.

Fibre containing foods include whole wheat, grains, seeds, vegetables (like green beans, peas, and spinach), fruit with skin, dried fruit (such as dried apricots, figs, prunes, and almonds)

Meals in Ramadan should be well-balanced, and they should contain foods from each food group, such as fruits, vegetables, meat/chicken/fish, bread/cereals and dairy products.

Try to avoid fried foods that some of us are addicted to. Fried foods are unhealthy and should be limited. They cause indigestion, heart-burn, and weight problems.

Watch your portion sizes and avoid the temptation to over eat. Try to slow down your eating and savour the food.

Recommendations for a Ramadan diet:

EAT
• Complex carbohydrates at suhoor so that the food lasts longer making you less hungry.
• Dates - an excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium.
• Almonds - rich in protein and fibre with less fat.
• Bananas - a good source of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates.

AVOID
• Fried and fatty foods.
• Foods containing too much sugar.
• Over-eating especially at suhoor.
• Too much tea at suhoor: Tea makes you pass more urine taking with it valuable mineral salts that your body would need during the day.
• Smoking: If you cannot give up, cut down gradually starting a few weeks before Ramadan.

DRINK
• As much water or fruit juices as possible between iftar and bedtime so that your body may adjust fluid levels in time.

Common health issues faced in Ramadan, their causes, and their remedies:

CONSTIPATION - can cause piles (haemorrhoids), fissures (painful cracks in the anal canal) and indigestion with a bloated feeling. Causes: Too much refined foods, too little water and not enough fibre in the diet. Remedy: Avoid excessive refined foods, increase water intake, use bran in baking and wholewheat flour.

INDIGESTION AND WIND Causes: Over-eating. Too many fried and fatty foods, spicy foods, and foods that produce wind e.g. eggs, cabbage, lentils. Carbonated drinks like Cola also produce gas. Remedy: Do not over-eat, drink fruit juices or better still, drink water. Avoid fried foods.

LETHARGY ('low blood pressure') - Excessive sweating, weakness, tiredness, lack of energy, dizziness, especially on getting up from sitting position, pale appearance and feeling faint are symptoms associated with "low blood pressure". This tends to occur towards the afternoon. Causes: Too little fluid intake, decreased salt intake. Remedy: Keep cool, increase fluid and salt intake.

HEADACHE Causes: Caffeine and tobacco-withdrawal, doing too much in one day, lack of sleep, and hunger. Usually occurs as the day goes by and worsens at the end of the day. When associated with "low blood pressure", the headache can be quite severe and can also cause nausea before Iftar. Remedy: Cut down on caffeine and tobacco slowly starting a week or two before Ramadan. Herbal and caffeine-free teas may be substituted. Reorganise your schedule during the Ramadan to have adequate sleep.

LOW BLOOD SUGAR - Weakness, dizziness, tiredness, poor concentration, perspiring easily, feeling shaky (tremor), unable to perform physical activities, headache, palpitations are symptoms of low blood sugar.

Causes (in non-diabetics): Having too much sugar i.e. refined carbohydrates especially at suhoor. The body produces too much insulin causing the blood glucose to drop. Remedy: Eat something at suhoor and limit sugar-containing foods and drinks.

MUSCLE CRAMPS
Remedy: Eat foods rich in the above minerals e.g. vegetables, fruit, dairy products, meat and dates. Causes: Inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium foods.

KIDNEY STONES - may occur in people who have less liquids to drink. Therefore, it is essential to drink extra liquids to prevent stone formation. Remedy – Drink plenty of fluids in the evenings, especially water

About Good Habits
Good Habits slimming club is now in your community! Why not join us and together we can get you to your goal! Through are healthy eating plan and weekly motivational meetings, you will learn how to lose weight and keep it off. The plan is easy to follow, with no forbidden foods and no hunger. It’s a way of life!

Established twelve years ago by Carole Holditch, Good Habits offers its members (men and women) motivational support in helping to manage their weight and lead a healthier lifestyle.

The weekly support meetings provide the motivation for change, together with the skills and confidence to manage their weight for life. A combination of approaches is vital, including a healthy diet, being more active and adapting thoughts and behaviour.

Good Habits members meet once a week at selected venues around Dubai. The groups are small, friendly and interactive. There are currently 13 weekly meetings and a current active membership of 200 people. To date over 4,000 people have benefited from Good Habits, many of whom have achieved and maintained their goal weight and are life members. Venue details are available on the website, www.goodhabitsuae.com

Venues include: Dubai Ladies’ Club
Dubai Offshore Sailing Club
Mirdiff Uptown Primary School
Dubai Marina Mall

Coral Boutique Hotel Al Barsha
Arabian Ranches Golf Club
Mall of the Emirates
Century Plaza, Beach Road

The Lakes Club
Dubai Festival City
Motor City Venue details and class timings are available on the website, www.goodhabitsuae.com
For further information, and details of Good Habits please visit www.goodhabitsuae.com, or contact:

Carole Holditch
Founder
Good Habits
Tel 04 344 9692
Email info@goodhabitsuae.com

Angela Summers
PR Consultant
Tel 050 552 4991
Email angela11@eim.ae


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