With Eid Al Adha around the corner, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is reminding the public to make healthy choices when preparing holiday meals. Residents are also advised to avoid over consumption of sweets and other traditional foods, which should be viewed as special treats during celebrations.

Many people overeat during Eid celebrations, particularly unhealthy food and drinks. This can lead to a spike in the number of patients seeking emergency treatment for gastric issues such as nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, and indigestion. HMC is encouraging the public to make healthy food choices this Eid, especially those with existing health conditions.

Individuals with diabetes and heart problems are cautioned to avoid over consumption of sweets, carbohydrates, and fatty foods, as well as foods that are high in salt and caffeine. Individuals with existing health conditions are also advised to opt for healthy food choices like fruits, vegetables, and legumes and to eat smaller portions throughout the day.

Raed Barakat, a Nutritionist at Hamad General Hospital acknowledged that Eid is an occasion to celebrate and enjoy a variety of foods. But while people may be tempted to eat many delicacies, he cautions on the importance of choosing meals wisely to avoid ill health.

Traditional foods like Harees, Thareed, Balaleet, and Luqaimat are special treats during Eid and many people tend to overindulge, resulting in ill health. It is important to avoid the temptation to overeat. Eating only one traditional dish at a time, and in small portions, is ideal to prevent weight gain and to remain healthy throughout the celebrations.’

Barakat also recommends making healthy choices when preparing meals, using smaller portions of fat when preparing traditional foods and even replacing animal fats like butter with olive oil. He also recommended removing the skin and fat from meat and chicken before cooking and limiting the consumption of salt, fried foods and sauces.          

Using honey instead of sugar to sweeten food and choosing fresh juice over processed and sweetened juice is also recommended. He said small changes, such as drinking low-fat milk instead of full-fat milk and choosing whole wheat flour instead of white flour, can go a long way in terms of staying healthy.

Barakat also recommends those trying to lower their cholesterol to limit consumption of egg yolks. He stressed the importance of staying hydrated by drinking sufficient amount of water but added that sparkling water should be avoided as it can cause indigestion in some individuals.

He also recommends daily exercise to avoid weight gain and aid digestion.

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