MOH News
Nutritionist Maha Al-Assaf Provides Dietary Tips to Pilgrims
17 September 2014
Nutritionist Maha Al-Assaf, while interviewed on Tuesday by the National Center for Media and Health Awareness, has advised pilgrims to prepare and preserve the foods in a proper way, and not to eat meat, chicken, fish or eggs unless well-cooked. She also recommended checking the expiry date of foods and beverages before having them, as well as using the packed and pasteurized milk (either natural or manufactured), and packed, cool and well-preserved juices and fruits. In addition, she recommended avoiding buying uncovered foods from restaurants and street vendors for the purpose of maintaining their health and safety and protecting them, Allah willing, from poisoning.    
Dr. Al-Assaf underscored the importance of getting rid of the remainder of food, rather than storing it, so as to avoid its rotting. That is to be added to washing hands with water and soap while preparing or eating food, and paying thorough attention to the cleanness of the food preparation tools, not to mention washing vegetables and fruits thoroughly before eating them, in addition to keeping the (sacrificed) meat frozen if not timely used.  
This came during the interview with the Nutritionist Maha Al-Assaf at the MOH's National Center for Media and Health Awareness in the context of the awareness program dubbed: "Pilgrims' Health is our Concern" which has been launched by the MOH for the eleventh consecutive year, via the toll free number: 8002494444, and the MOH Twitter account: @saudimoh. 
Drinking a lot of water and cold (albeit not frozen) liquids during Hajj, according to Dr. Maha, is highly crucial, especially given the heavy sweating during the hot weather, as it protects against dehydration and constipation. “With the process of sweating, the pilgrim will not have to frequently go to toilet,” she explained. “Whenever possible, though, he should go regularly to the toilet to avoid health problems.”
She said, "There is no problem to drink lemon water to change its taste and benefit from the immune-booster and iron-absorber Vitamin C. It is not advisable for those having acid reflux, though."
Al-Assaf advised those having constipation to eat a lot of leafy vegetables, dried fruits, groats, qorsan, whole wheat and bran, aside from drinking a lot of water and liquids, and, as much as possible, avoiding banana, apple and its juice, yogurt, rice, potato and carrot, in addition to keeping off stimuli, like tea and coffee. 
For those suffering from diarrhea, she advised them to drink a lot of water and packed apple juice to avoid dehydration, and to reduce the intake of milk. Instead, packed, low-fat yogurt (after checking its expiry date) is preferable. She also recommended avoiding sugary and fatty junk foods, as well as eating banana, peeled apple, rice and boiled potato, meanwhile reiterating the importance of seeing a doctor.
For those suffering from hyperacidity, they have to avoid fatty and spicy foods, and the ones contain vinegar, lemon and orange and stay away from the stimuli (tea and coffee), and be careful to eat healthy and balanced food, as well as eating slowly, chewing well, and avoiding going to bed immediately after eating.
Whether it is a good idea to use supplements one month before and during Hajj for the purpose of boosting immunity, she said it is not advisable unless the pilgrim is in need of them, under supervision of a doctor or nutritionist. 
Meanwhile, the MOH's National Center for Media and Health Awareness will continue the awareness and guidance program called "Health of the Guests of Allah" and will host tomorrow, Thursday, September 18th, 2014, Dr. Ahmed Al-Abdullah, consultant of orthodontics and maxillofacial surgery, from 1-3 pm, to answer inquiries about dental and orthodontic problems.

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