Abu Dhabi: Coming out of the holy month, residents must opt for frequent, balanced meals in order to avoid indigestion and other gastric complaints, doctors have urged.
As it happens, the unhealthy overindulgence in desserts and calorie-laden foods during Ramadan and Eid leads to a significant upsurge in the number of residents reporting gastric discomfort post Eid.
“When the Ramadan-related restrictions on eating are lifted, most people tend to overcompensate by eating too much. And this is why we see so many patients complaining of diarrhoea, bloating and acid reflux,” Dr Yogesh Shastri, head of gastroenterology at NMC Speciality Hospital in Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News.
“Unfortunately, many people do not follow healthy eating habits on a regular day, and they go back to these unhealthy practices after Ramadan, making the problem worse,” added Dr Mutaz Khalifa, internal medicine specialist at Mediclinic Al Noor Hospital.
According to the doctors, the Ramadan routine, on its own, should not contribute to poor health. However, Dr Khalifa said most people have now come to treat the entirety of the holy month as an opportunity to feast.
“As a result, persistent concerns like diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia are all worse among my patients when they see me after Ramadan,” he said.
To that end, the doctor advised that residents switch to eating small, frequent meals as they transition to a post-Ramadan routine.
“Eating one or two big meals is a major cause of central obesity, but most people ignore this risk. Instead of simply having a big meal, we advise people to have up to six small meals a day, including a big breakfast, a small snack at midday, a reasonable lunch no later than 2pm, dinner by 7pm or 8pm, and some fruits and nuts before bedtime,” Dr Khalifa recommended.
He also said that opting for high-fibre foods like vegetables and fruits, instead of satisfying hunger with carbs, will keep people feeling full for longer.
“A feeling of hunger prevents the body from burning fat, which is why frequent, small-sized meals are best,” the doctor said.
Dr Shastri also cautioned residents from giving in to sugar and caffeine cravings after Ramadan.
“Too much caffeine is dehydrating, and the body needs to hydrate after fasting for more than 15 hours a day. Moreover, a sudden increase in the amount of caffeine consumed can result in sleep disturbances,” he said.
“In addition, many people feel they have lost weight, and they don’t keep a check on the amount of calories they consume after Ramadan. In fact, most people do not lose weight at all, so they should avoid overcompensating when they eat,” he said.
Balanced meals, restricted portions are key
Green tea is a good finale to dinner.
Tips to staying healthy after Ramadan
- Transition to eating up to six small meals during the day, including a filling breakfast and an early dinner.
- Avoid feeling hungry as this prevents the body from burning fat.
- Opt for fibre-rich foods like vegetables, fruits and nuts so that you stay full for longer.
- Avoid too many sugary treats, and reduce the craving for these by not staying hungry.
- Drink enough water to stay hydrated. However, do not consume the fluids during a meal as this can dilute digestive juices and lead to indigestion.
- Do not increase your caffeine intake suddenly to avoid sleep disturbances and dehydration.
- Do not self-medicate if you face gastric complaints; instead, visit a doctor to get the right treatment.