By Joumana Dabbagh
Joumana Dabbagh, nutritionist at Nestle Middle East, shares simple health changes
Ahead of the Holy Month, make smarter food choices with better nutritious value in order to better your health, reduce your risk of chronic diseases and maintain your weight.
Here's how to continue your diet throughout Ramadan iftars and suhoors and remain healthy.
1. Alternative cooking methods:
Stir-fry your food in a wok to eliminate 10 times less fat than frying. If you opt for grilling, reduce your calories by using a rack to remove fat drips.
It is best to cook your food in the oven using covered cookware with a little extra liquid to allow you to control the amount of oil used. Steam vegetables for fat-free cooking, and to better retain their vitamins and minerals.
Vegetables such as carrots, peppers and onions are low in salt and provide rich flavors. Make sure to rinse canned and pickled products to reduce their salt content. If you want to increase flavours of healthy food, marinate it using lemon and vinegar.
2. Immune-boosting foods:
Eat fatty fish such as salmon and sardines for their immune-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamin B6. Do not forget to eat beans, which are a great source of vitamin B6 and iron.
Yogurt is also fortified with probiotics to play an effective role in boosting the body’s natural defences. In addition, spices and natural herbs rich in antioxidants such as cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, basil and thyme boost and enhance flavour. As for healthy oils with natural antioxidants, they include olive oil, canola oil, corn oil and sunflower oil.
3. Review food labels:
When shopping for groceries, check nutritional facts on products such as information on the per serving amount of saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars, cholesterol and sodium, which can raise health concerns.
Nutrient reference values expressed as percentage Daily Values within the nutrition facts help you understand how specific foods fits into your overall daily diet.