MOH News
Dr. Al-Shammari: “Ramadan Is a Great Opportunity to Change Eating Habits”
23 June 2016
A Therapeutic Nutritionist, Ms. Hasnah Al-Shammari, has pointed out that the causes of obesity are eating a large amount of food at each meal, eating for entertainment and not out of feeling hungry, eating small meals of fast food that are high in calories, laziness and lack of movement, bad habits and behaviors that the person used to adapt them, lack of fluids and fresh juices, which are an essential source of vitamins, taking excessive amount of flavorings, using animal fats on an almost daily basis, and eating a lot of sweets. In addition, the lack of awareness is a major cause of severe obesity.
She stated that Ramadan is considered a great opportunity for people to change some of their bad eating habits such as overeating in general, eating more fatty foods in particular and focusing on specific types of foods that are high in calories and rich in saturated fats; the matter which may prevent the fasting person from getting the healthy benefits of protecting himself against a lot of diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer. She added: “Especially with the increase of obesity diseases, it becomes important to promote the awareness of the need to reduce calories' consumption and increase the physical activity; in an endeavor to control the increasing prevalence of obesity”.
This came while hosting of Ms. Hasnah Al-Shammari, a Therapeutic Nutritionist, at the National Center for Information and Health Promotion at the Ministry of Health (MOH), as part of its annual program dubbed: “Hello, Healthy Ramadan”, which has been launched during the holy month of Ramadan via the toll-free number 8002494444.
"During the holy month of Ramadan, the healthy diet depends on balance and moderation, organizing the basic diets for body building, and resistance to drought; in compliance with the Qur'an verse saying: (Eat and drink but waste not by excess)", Al-Shammari said.
For a healthy fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, she advised the fasting person to begin his/her breakfast “Iftar” with a light non-greasy meal such as dates, soup, and milk; so as not to harm the stomach, and then to drink an adequate amount of fluids during Iftar time to resist drought. Al-Shammari also said that Iftar must be in two periods; because taking a large amount of food quickly and at once leads to abdominal bloating, abdominal distress, and indigestion. Therefore, she recommended the fasting person to eat the food slowly, chew well to facilitate the digestive process, focus on fruits and vegetables in case of feeling hungry, and eat dark leafy vegetables because they are high in iron; to avoid anemia. For maintaining balance of blood sugar level after fasting, she advised to eat low-fat yogurt and minimize of having stimulant drinks that are high in caffeine, which prevent the body from absorbing calcium and some vitamins.
Regarding diets during Ramadan, Al-Shammari underlined that this month is reckoned a therapeutic and preventive diet and the smart and wise person is the one who seize this opportunity to benefit from this month of Ramadan in the treatment of many chronic diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, overweight and obesity. “Also, it is a valuable opportunity for those who want to quit smoking. The best diets are to eat balanced and moderate meals, reduce the amount of food in meals without canceling them, and have a lot of fresh juices, fruits and natural fibers, as well as walking every day half an hour before breakfast, the matter which lead to impressive results, Allah willing,” Al-Shammari said.
Furthermore, Dr. Al-Shammari pointed out that pregnant women can follow balanced diets to prevent gaining weight, but without a deprivation of essential nutrients, avoid sweets, sugars and junk food, and eat a lot of vegetables and natural fibers.
As for diabetics during the month of Ramadan, Al-Shammari advised them to follow the diets, which consist of distributed meals in an orderly fashion during the period after Iftar until the pre-dawn meal (Suhoor), and eat a lot of natural fiber to reduce hunger and notice the patient of fullness. Moreover, she recommended them to have fresh fruits and juices to supply the body with vitamins, and eat bran and brown bread instead of white bread, as well as maintaining the Suhoor meal and having the low-fat yogurt after; it in order to reduce the feeling of hunger.

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