Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) chief consultant of emergency medicine, Dr Warda al-Saad, has urged residents to avoid overeating during the festivities marking Eid al-Fitr in order to prevent stomach upset and intestinal disorders.
“Unfortunately, many people tend to overload their bodies with large amounts of unhealthy food and drinks during Eid celebrations. As a result, we often notice a spike in the number of patients seeking emergency treatment for gastric issues such as nausea, vomiting, stomach upset and indigestion at Hamad General Hospital’s (HGH) emergency department,” said Dr al-Saad.
“It is important to remember that the body has accustomed itself to a prolonged period of fasting during Ramadan and the transition from ‘fast’ to ‘feast’ can produce adverse effects on one’s health. In instances where there is a pre-existing health condition, such as diabetes and heart ailments, the health risks are multiplied with the sudden rise in blood sugar levels created by the consumption of large amounts of sweets and sugars,” she added.
Dr al-Saad noted that while it is important to take the time to celebrate with friends and family, it is also important to remember the purpose of Ramadan. “Although some people feel it is impolite to reject or say no when one is offered sweets or meals while visiting a relative, friend or neighbour during Eid, it is important to remember the main purpose of Ramadan,” she said, adding that overindulging can also lead to rapid weight gain, which can in turn cause obesity, which is a leading cause of Type 2 diabetes,
hypertension and back pain.
To prevent avoidable ill health during the Eid celebrations and holidays, Dr al-Saad offers the following advice: Eat and drink food and fluids in moderation; don’t skip breakfast, as this will just lead to overeating during the day; keep yourself hydrated throughout the day; when you are offered a selection of different foods, try to choose the healthy options; fill your plate with small portions of low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats; avoid salty foods and sugary and caffeinated drinks; avoid heavy fatty foods, which can cause gastrointestinal disturbances (when using oil in food preparation, use only a small amount of olive oil or other polyunsaturated fats); avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar (such as white bread, white rice, sweets and pastries) which can cause blood sugar surges; the main meal should consist of a balanced diet with larger portions of vegetables, fruits and complex carbohydrates such as beans, lentils, whole grain bread and oats; store food items properly in the refrigerator or as directed on the food label (avoid leaving groceries in a parked car outside as the temperature inside the car can quickly rise, causing food to spoil).
Moderate exercise is important.
HMC is encouraging the public to view the Eid break as an opportunity to develop healthy eating habits and to commit to healthier lifestyle choices.
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