Director of Dietetics and Nutrition at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Reem Al Saadi, said that avoiding heartburn and indigestion this Eid Al Fitr can be as simple as being more thoughtful about food choices and portion size.

Reem Al Saadi
Reem Al Saadi

A month of fasting followed by the celebration of Eid can lead many people to ‘overindulge’, particularly on foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt. She noted that mindfulness and restraint are key to avoiding stomach aches and maintaining good digestion.

Having a light breakfast, eating slowly, and chewing each mouthful thoroughly will help set you up to enjoy the celebrations. Try to be thoughtful about what you eat and the portion size. Eating smaller meals is better for your digestive system and preparing smaller portions will also help avoid food spoilage and waste. Foods that are higher in fat can be more difficult for some people to digest, so try to limit intake of these foods.’

She said that our bodies are designed to eat smaller meals throughout the day, noting that large meals burden the digestive system and can cause bloating, gas, and low energy levels as the body struggles to digest. She said that it’s important to concentrate on quality as much as quantity, consuming foods from all major food groups. She also recommends remaining physically active.

Post-Ramadan Eating Patterns

To help re-adjust to normal eating patterns post-Ramadan, Al Saadi recommends eating smaller portions and eating more frequently. She also recommends slowly adjusting the timing of the evening meal, noting that it is important to stop eating when you begin to feel full. She said that eating food that are light but high in protein, like shrimps, and increasing the amount of fresh fruits and leafy green vegetables eaten is recommended.

She also suggested eating plenty of fibre-rich foods as they can help prevent constipation. She also advised to limit sweets and highly processed carbohydrates such as cakes and biscuits as these foods have little to no nutritional value and can cause bloating.

Aim to limit your consumption of highly processed carbohydrates and processed meat products. When possible, opt for fat-free meats and ensure foods you consume have been safely prepared. Food-borne illnesses are a major cause of abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhoea.’

She said that it’s best to eat meals prepared at home, as home-made meals allow you to control the ingredients in your food. She also suggests avoiding fast food, and to opt for healthier options when eating at restaurants.

Ramadan Health

The Ministry of Public Health, together with HMC and the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) have partnered again this year to re-launch the Ramadan Health website, event expanding the initiative by introducing a companion smartphone and tablet app.

Introduced two years ago, the Ramadan Health website is Qatar’s first online resource devoted to health and wellness during the Holy Month. Visit the Ramadan Health website through this link, or download the app to your phone or tablet by searching for ‘Qatar Health’ (available for iOS and Android operating systems).

Visit the HMC website for more information about related services this season.