The mouth-watering delicacies during Iftar and Suhoor can be quite tempting making it relatively easy to over-indulge and forget about a balanced, nutritious diet.
This can take its toll on vital organs in your body and affect your bones, in particular.
Here, Dr. Ahmed Hassoun outlines his best pieces of advice to help ensure that your bones remain healthy and strong during Ramadan.
He adds: “While Ramadan is a month of strong will power and self-control, it is also a month when people tend to indulge in the wrong food habits. Therefore, it is very important to eat a balanced diet during the lftar celebrations, especially – helping to keep bones healthy. Calcium is an essential nutrient for healthy bones and one must ensure an adequate intake of calcium during this holy month.
“Indulge more in raw dairy products and green vegetables as they have the highest amount of calcium.”
1. ENSURE SUFFICIENT CALCIUM INTAKE
The body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones. An adult requires about 1000 to 1200mg of calcium per day which is essential for healthy bones.
During Ramadan, most people do not consume the required amount of calcium and this results in your body removing it from bones in order to maintain blood calcium levels. Dairy products are good sources of calcium so include grilled halloumi or a glass of fresh laban at Iftar time fit the bill nicely. Yoghurt with berries and nuts are also ideal for Suhoor as it is light on the stomach and helps with keeping the thirst pangs at bay during the day.
2. CHOOSE SENSIBLY
With Iftar and Suhoor buffets at every nook and corner, it is easy to over-eat.
But, you can replace juices and sugary fizzy drinks with yoghurt-based offerings or no sugar-added milkshakes – this is a healthier option.
Similarly, instead of piling a plate high with lasagna and rice dishes – make vegetables like carrots, beans and broccoli and leafy foods such as spinach as the star of your plate – leaving lasagna with more of a supporting role. Instead of traditional iftar sweets like baklava and basbousa, which are high in sugar, look for desserts containing dairy ingredients – rice pudding and mahalabia are good examples.
The hot summer months coupled with Ramadan means a dip in energy levels and residents are usually like to stay indoors.
Just after the light Iftar, ensure you have enough fluids and engage in light cardio exercises – follow a Zumba or aerobics video or do a brisk 20 minute walk on the treadmill – as well as some strengthening exercises like squats, lunges and sit-ups. Taraweeh prayers are also considered as good exercises.
4. SUN EXPOSURE
Vitamin D is essential for optimum bone health and is mainly absorbed by our body through adequate sun exposure.
Even though we enjoy year-long sunshine in the UAE during the summer months, due to the intensity of the heat, residents avoid the sun at all cost. Prolonged lack of exposure can mean weaker bones and result in conditions like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. It is important to have a sufficient level of Vitamin D (25 OH D) which is generally feasible by taking about 1000iu of Vitamin D3 daily.
Efficient and adequate recovery from high-intensity training is very important – and protein can play a crucial role in this process.
Protein can also really help to develop and repair muscle tissue, cartilage, skin and blood.
Whilst you will find and consume protein regularly by eating foods such as chicken, eggs, fish, almonds and oats, as well as taking on board protein shakes and bars – you wouldn’t necessarily associate ice cream with sports nutrition – or indeed it being a food source that can boost performance.
That’s where Wheyts’ Ice Cream bucks the trend. Many of us are put off from introducing protein supplements into our diet, especially if the taste isn’t nice, but Wheyts is certainly an exception.
The ice cream is 100 per cent natural and contains no artificial ingredients – and is rich with 12 grams of protein in a 125g hub. Its flavour is actually something to savour.
Believe it or not, it’s completely gluten and sugar-free and uses stevia and xylitol as natural sweeteners.
In fact, a third of your recommended calorie-intake – 2,500 for men and 2,000 for women – should come from protein – in which we need between 45 to 55 grams per day.
Along with standard food protein intake – a tub or two of Wheyts’ premium protein isolate daily can make up the difference and take you towards your long-term lifestyle goals.
Indeed, it will help you to recover and build muscle mass in the same way as other products out there.
The products come in a variety of flavours – including: Dutch Chocolate, Wild Strawberry and Island Vanilla.
Visit Wheyts’ Ice Cream online for more information, including home delivery options.
You can also use Wheyts’ interactive recommended daily protein intake calculator for an idea on how much protein you should be consuming.
Good at sports? You’ve probably got good eyes.
Speed is one of the most sought after attributes in athletic performance and general training, but also one that causes a lot of confusion on how to develop properly.
The route most people take when wanting to improve their speed normally revolves around doing some form of resistance training. Training the muscles for speed seems logical. But do our muscles really control our speed?
One thing that is continually glossed over time and time again is the role of the eyes in speed training. In fact, the role of the eyes in ALL training.
Your eyes are the gateway to your brain. Your muscles (as a matter of fact everything) are under your brains control whether you know it or not. Through vision training the aim is to “build” a better, stronger, more efficient brain.
Think about it this way. Is it really how fast you are? Or is it how fast you process? The quicker I can see and interpret, the quicker I can execute the necessary movement.
Is Messi the fastest player at the professional level in football? No.
He is and may well be the fastest processor of information though. This is illustrated by how quickly he can read his opposition and react accordingly.
Steph Curry, the only unanimous MVP in NBA history. He does vision training.
Vasyl Lomachenko, arguably pound for pound the best boxer on the planet. 396 Amateur fights. 1 Loss. He does vision training.
The German football national team that won the 2014 FIFA World Cup. They do vision training.
There is an increasing number of elite level athletes in all the top leagues across a spectrum of sports that are starting to use and integrate vision training as part of their routines.
When talking about visual attributes we are not generally looking for how clearly you can see, such as an optician would. We are looking for how well your eyes perform; how well do they track moving objects in motion, how fast they can change focus from a near object to a far one, how accurate is your peripheral vision and many other factors.
Did you know that there are 11 key visual attributes that can be trained in order to improve your speed and performance?
Start your vision training with two simple routines:
1. Train your eye muscles by stretching your arm out in front of you and stare at your thumb. Keeping your head still move the thumb in a large circle and track it with your eyes. Do 2 slow circles in each direction daily.
2. Look at an object near you then choose another object that’s far from you. Switch your gaze as fast as you can from the near object to the far one. Do 10 switches x 2 daily.
Heba is a Neural Performance Specialist, Z-Health Master Trainer, the Creator of the NeuroPilates method, Personal Trainer and Instructor. She is co-founder of body//HACK and can be reached on Facebook, Instagram and via bodyhack.co.