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Your Ramadan Recipe for Healthy Bones

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Aug 18, 2009
Expert tips to keep your bones strong and healthy while fasting during the holy month

During the holy month of Ramadan, dieting habits are often compromised as a result of a change in meal routines. Important nutrients such as Calcium are constantly overlooked, making it crucial to include enough Calcium, vitamin D and other bone nutrients, into Iftar and sahour, to keep your bones healthy during Ramadan.
"It can be hard to keep up with drinking the required daily 2 glasses of milk and an extra dairy serving when you are fasting. However, there are many easy ways to ensure that your bones get their recommended daily intake of Calcium and other nutrients necessary for maintaining strong and healthy bones," says Lynn Al Khatib, Nutritionist, Nestlé Middle East.

Calcium should still be adequately consumed as part of your diet during Ramadan to keep your bones healthy and maintain normal blood calcium levels. Al Khatib explains that when you are running low on calcium in your body, it is removed from your bones (your calcium bank) in order to make up for it and maintain the right levels in the blood. So as long as you make sure you are consuming enough calcium, or 1000 mg/day for adults, your bones will not be depleted.

Dr. Gemma Adib, President of the Pan Arab Osteoporosis Society says, "During Ramadan, people tend to eat around 30% more than they are used to. To avoid the negative effects of over-eating we recommend monitoring the quality of foods consumed for their nutritional value, and to ensure we are getting the nutrients necessary for our bones. For example, juices and drinks high in sugar can be replaced with low-fat cold milk or yoghurt. We can also add more calcium-rich fruits and vegetables to the Iftar and Sahour meals, like broccoli, spinach, tofu etc."

There are many other ways you can ensure your proper daily Calcium intake is maintained during Ramadan, through including dairy products in your food starting with your Iftar meal, advises Lynn Al Khatib. "One way is to include yoghurt or a milk-based recipe in your meal every day. Another trick is substituting the traditional daily Ramadan sweets we tend to consume in the evenings with dairy-containing types of sweets, such as rice pudding, sahlab or mohallabiah. You can also try a smoothie or a milk shake with some bananas and strawberries; a great way to have a tasty dessert with less calories!"

"Then at Sahour, you can compensate for the rest of your Calcium needs," continues Al Khatib. "Sahour is a very important meal in Ramadan and it helps you maintain your energy in the following day. We highly recommend drinking a cup of milk which also helps you stay hydrated while fasting. One glass of specialized, fortified adult milk like Nestlé NESVITA® pro-Bones could provide you with 50% of your recommended daily intake in addition to all the other supporting nutrients your bones need."

Keeping your bones strong and healthy during Ramadan is simple: adopt healthy Ramadan eating habits, choose sensibly, and most importantly, follow a healthy, balanced and varied diet that provides the recommended amount of calcium and other nutrients. And it goes without saying, don't forget to exercise regularly and get a little bit of sunshine into your life.  Fortified food products are also a good way to ensure your daily recommended intakes of bone nutrients are met: Nestlé NESVITA® pro-Bones could help you achieve that.
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