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Tips on how to ensure bone health during Ramadan in UAE

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Maintaining one’s overall health is of utmost importance when observing the fasts during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Apart from remaining hydrated, consuming foods that maintain a person’s energy throughout the day, the people observing the fasts should also adopt certain habits and practices that ensure the health of their bones during the holy month.

Dr Bhuvaneshwar Machani, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon, Specialized in Upper Limb Treatment at the Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery in Dubai, outlines some simple tips to follow in order to ensure that your bones remain healthy and strong during the hot summer months and during Ramadan:

1-Ensure enough calcium intake: An adult requires 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 resulting in their bodies removing the element from bones in order to maintain blood calcium levels. Dairy products are a good sources of calcium so it is advisable to consume grilled halloumi or a glass of fresh laban at Iftar time. Yoghurt with berries and nuts are also ideal for Suhoor as this combination 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 food from the wrong sources. Juices and fizzy drinks that are high in sugar can be replaced with yoghurt based drinks or milkshakes without added sugar. Similarly instead of a piling the plate high with foods like lasagna and rice dishes, make vegetables like carrots, beans, broccoli and spinach the star of your plate. Instead of traditional iftar sweets like Baklava and Basbousa which are high in sugar look for desserts which are high in dairy like rice pudding or Mahalabia.

3-Sun Exposure: Vitamin D is essential for the maintenance of optimum bone health and is mainly absorbed by our body through adequate sun exposure. Even though we enjoy ample sunshine all year long in the UAE, but it is during the summer months that the residents avoid the sun at all cost, due to the intensity of the heat. A prolonged lack of exposure can result in the weakening of bones resulting in conditions like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

4-Exercise: After a light iftar, ensure that you have consumed enough fluids and then engage in light cardio exercises. You can follow a zumba or aerobics video or do a brisk 20 minute walk on the treadmill. Some strengthening exercises like squats, lunges and sit-ups can also be done.

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