Did you know that staying inactive – which is very easy in this region during the hot summer months – can render your bones weak and brittle? And with Ramadan – along with the scrumptious iftar and suhoor spreads – approaching, it is easy to forget a balanced, nutritious diet and overindulge.
This can take a toll on vital organs in your body and most particularly your bones, says. Dr. Ehab Saad Mostafa, rheumatologist at Burjeel Hospital Dubai.
Here are some of his tips to side step these pitfalls.
Ensure calcium intake: An adult requires 1,000 to 1,200mg of calcium per day which is essential for healthy bones. During Ramadan, most people do not consume the required amount of calcium resulting in the body removing the element 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. Yoghurt with berries and nuts are ideal for suhoor as it is light on the stomach and helps with keeping the thirst pangs at bay during the day.
Choose sensibly: With iftar and suhoor buffets available aplenty, it is easy to overeat the wrong type of food. Juices and fizzy drinks high in sugar can be replaced with yoghurt-based drinks or no sugar added milkshakes. Similarly, instead of piling a plate high with lasagna and rice dishes – snack on vegetables – carrots, beans and broccoli and spinach. Replace traditional iftar sweets like baklava and basbousa which are high in sugar with desserts high in dairy like rice pudding or mahalabia.
Sun exposure: Vitamin D is essential for optimum bone health and is mainly absorbed by our body through adequate sun exposure. During the summer months due to the intensity of the heat, we avoid the sun at all cost. However, prolonged lack of exposure to the sun can result in weakened bones leading to conditions like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.