Abu Dhabi: Doctors have urged people to opt for healthier eating options to avoid common digestive problems that tend to spoil the Eid spirit for many each year.

Dr Humaira Nasir, a general practitioner who has been on duty at Al Noor Hospital's emergency room (ER) during Eid for the past five years, explains that an individual's system gets used to the routine of fasting during Ramadan.

An abrupt change in the eating pattern can result in symptoms such as abdominal bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, vomiting, indigestion, excessive fatigue, and migraines, which are common symptoms among patients during Eid.

"If you are inviting people over during the festival, do yourself, your family and your friends a favour, and cook healthy food. Leave options for those eating, rather than focus on food with sugar or fat. Make sure you slowly get your body used to the change of eating throughout the day in the next few days after Ramadan by not indulging in small meals," advises Dr Nasir.

Alongside Eid dishes and various rich cuisines, it is advisable to include complex carbohydrates (such as pasta, mash potatoes, and starch), rather than food with simple carbohydrates (such as glucose and sugar).

"Focus on including in your food servings — fresh fruit juices, salads, grilled chicken instead of fried, steamed fish instead of deep fried, and fresh steamed vegetables. Plain water is vital — however the appetite should not confuse thirst for hunger," said Dr. Nasir.

Dr. Ravi Arora, an internist who has worked at NMC Specialty Hospital's emergency room for the past ten years, notes that dietary indiscretion is common during the Eid festival and can lead to food poisoning.

"My advice is to avoid eating in unclean areas, make sure your food is properly cooked and not re-warmed and stored back again. Also those on medication, especially diabetics, should balance proper medication with eating habits," he said.

Common complaints

Dr. Roshan John, an internist at Lifeline Hospital, explains that reflux problems (hyper-acidity) and severe migraine are common among people during Eid.

"It's all about eating the right food. For instance it's favourable to remove the yolk and use an egg white as a sort of dressing on food, which is a good source of vitamins and proteins. Go for white meat [lamb and turkey], rather than red meat, in order to lessen chances of cholesterol, and add herbs and spices such as coriander and lemon, rather than salt, in your food. This will help improve your digestion."

"Use skimmed milk, not full-fat milk to avoid acidity, and if cooking oil is a must, use sunflower and olive oil. People must strike a balance between carbohydrates and proteins, and make sure they wash their vegetables and fruits properly," he said.