End fast ‘with healthy food – not fast food’

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End fast ‘with healthy food – not fast food’ By Nina Muslim, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS Published: August 30, 2008, 23:47

Dubai: Changing one’s diet during Ramadan with a focus on eating more fruit and vegetables and drinking less caffeine, is ideal to remain healthy and energised, a nutritionist has said.

This year’s Ramadan, when Muslims are required to abstain from food and drink from sunrise until sundown, is set to be uncomfortable as it falls during September – at the tail-end of the hot and humid summer season.

Kelly Lynch, dietitian at Welcare World’s City Hospital, told Gulf News that many tended to consume “incorrect foods” during Ramadan.

“People often complain about symptoms such as constipation, gastric acidity and increased cholesterol during fasting. These symptoms are all due to people eating the incorrect foods,” she said. She said this is due to breaking the fast with high-fat foods, especially saturated animal fats, salt and refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and sugary foods.

These contribute to high cholesterol levels, while constipation is caused by dehydration and inadequate fibre intake. She advised people to consume one to two pieces of fruit after each meal, in addition to hummus and vegetables, to gain their vitamins, water and fibre.

“Any vegetable-based foods are good for you as long as they are not fried in fats and oils – salads like tabouleh and couscous are all healthy alternatives to fast foods,” she said.

Drinking less coffee is also advisable. Coffee, she said, is a diuretic and can further dehydrate a person. Coffee addicts, she suggested, should switch to tea as it contains less caffeine.