Moderation and a little extra planning are the keys to a safe and healthy Eid al-Adha, especially for individuals with chronic medical conditions, a dietician at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has said.
According to Ra’ed Alalaween, senior clinical dietician, HMC, Eid is an occasion to celebrate and enjoy a variety of dishes but moderation should always be the goal. He recommends limiting consumption of soda, sugary beverages, and highly processed carbohydrates such as chocolate, cakes, jams, and biscuits. He says this recommendation is particularly important for individuals with a chronic medical condition.
He continues that excessive consumption of sweets and other highly-processed carbohydrates can be dangerous, particularly for individuals with pre-existing health conditions like diabetes and hypertension. These foods are easy to consume in excess and can wreak havoc on the digestive system, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and stomach pain, as well as unintentional weight gain.
“Many of the foods traditionally eaten during Eid feasts are high in fat, salt, and sugar. It is a time of year when families eat a range of delicious foods that are not normally consumed throughout the year and this can lead to overindulgence. It is therefore important to focus on being healthy and exercise discipline and self-control when eating,” said Alalaween.
“Overeating during Eid feasts is unfortunately very common. It can be challenging to say no to a gracious host; however, consuming large quantities of food and drink can have serious consequences for individuals who have chronic conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes,” explained Alalaween.
“Simple alterations to popular recipes, for example using less ghee or replacing margarine with olive oil or milk with low-fat milk, can make a big difference in terms of the amount of fat and calories without negatively impacting the flavour. Similarly, honey and molasses are natural sweeteners and are a healthy and tasty alternative to the refined sugar in many popular dessert recipes. Many chicken recipes can be made healthier by removing the skin and the saturated fat in meat dishes can be reduced by blotting the meat with a paper towel to remove any remaining grease and fat,” noted Alalaween.
He says eating in moderation is also essential for individuals with a heart condition as large meals can adversely affect the heart. Eating and digesting large quantities of food increases the heart rate and blood pressure, creating an extra burden on the heart. He recommends individuals with a history of heart disease eat small portions during meals and avoid fatty, salty, and sugary foods.
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