The importance of a healthy diet for sport and exercise

The importance of a healthy diet for sport and exercise
Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) has put together a series of helpful articles on its Healthy Living portal. (Supplied)
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Updated 04 May 2020

The importance of a healthy diet for sport and exercise

The importance of a healthy diet for sport and exercise
  • Choose conscientious nutrition during Ramadan

RIYADH: We all know a healthy diet is important for our health and overall well-being. But with so much information coming from every direction, it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming.

What to do? In order to try and simplify the messaging and cut through the noise, the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) has put together a series of helpful articles on its Healthy Living portal. which include advice on top five foods for runners, superfoods fact or fiction, staying hydrated and more.

Everyone should aim to eat a varied diet of interesting and tasty foods. Opting for conscientious nutrition includes happier and healthier lifestyles with improved heart health, enhanced energy levels, and boosted moods. During exercise, your body uses up more energy so it is important to eat well to support an active lifestyle.

A healthy diet should contain plenty of starchy foods, fruit and vegetables, and protein. The SFA lists beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, oats, berries, and leafy greens as important staples for a healthy and active lifestyle. Affordable and nutritious foods to add to your weekly meal plan include bananas, oatmeal, peanut butter, broccoli, and a variety of beans.

These health boosting foods provide energy, improve muscle function, and supply nutrients, which can make a big difference to your performance and overall well-being. Certain spices, like turmeric, have also been used by many cultures for centuries to support the immune system as it is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.

You can add it to curries and stews or start your day off with a zingy turmeric and ginger tea. The SFA also stresses the importance of staying hydrated as 60% of the body is composed of water. Water energizes the muscles, helps with recovery after workouts, aids digestion, increases brain power, and keeps skin looking healthy.

When thinking about healthy eating it is also important to apply the same principles during Ramadan. Important areas to pay attention to? Drinking enough water and being mindful about what you eat during Iftar and Suhoor.

It is advised to break the fast at Iftar with easily digestible foods such as soup, water, and freshly-squeezed fruit juices to hydrate your body. For the main course, consider vegetable dishes as healthful and filling options. Try incorporating bulgar wheat, it is rich in carbohydrates and fibers, and will keep you feeling full has digestive system benefits.

For Suhoor a light, filling breakfast with sides of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers is recommended; try a tasty homemade granola with almond or oat milk and top it with fresh berries and banana. Dried fruits, walnuts, and almonds are also great food supplements, that also make you feel full for long hours throughout the day.

But it’s not just the variety of food you eat, but also the portions that play a decisive role. Think smaller portions and eat wisely.

If you regularly exercise you should continue to meet your daily energy, protein, and water needs during the times you are not fasting. Additionally, lower your exercise duration by 30% during Ramadan and drink two to three glasses of water every hour from Iftar to Suhoor.

Ramadan is a sacred time of year and fasting is an important part of this Holy month, but there are plenty of options available to fast and stay healthy and nourished. Healthy eating should be an enjoyable and social experience, it is about eating a wide variety of foods and making sure you get the right balance. Remember, conscientious nutrition acts as a preventative health measure.


Serve up Lebanese delicacies in the UAE with e-store Jarra

The kumquat crush artisanal marmalade. Supplied
The kumquat crush artisanal marmalade. Supplied
Updated 11 January 2021

Serve up Lebanese delicacies in the UAE with e-store Jarra

The kumquat crush artisanal marmalade. Supplied

DUBAI: A game-changing online platform is bringing the premium tastes of Lebanon all the way to the UAE. It all started with the Lebanese lawyer-turned-mompreneur Annabelle El-Fanj moved to Dubai two years ago and couldn’t find the food she grew up on.

“Food is a part of culture,” El-Fanj told Arab News. “The more diverse the culture, the more exquisite is the flavor of the food. This is what I want to share with the Emirati market — the diversity of our culture and the know-how of the Lebanese people when it comes to food.”

She called her family-run startup “Jarra,” which is a traditional type of jar made of clay. “I wanted to have something that unified everyone,” explains El-Fanj. “Everyone has a jar in their culture, whether in Europe, Africa or Asia. It’s one of the basic things that humanity created for the kitchen.”

Miel Du Levant is the only organic Lebanese honey certified at 0% sucrose since 2000 and is available at Jarra. Supplied

Ever since launching Jarra in October 2020, she has worked hand in hand with Lebanon’s local artisans who export a select variety of handmade Levantine delicacies from Beirut and other Lebanese villages, including dairy products, olive wood spoons, award-winning olive oils, jams, marmalades, jars of honey and vegan options. Aside from the fact that all used ingredients are locally sourced, El-Fanj believes it’s the passionate artisans behind the products that give the products soul.

The Khoury brothers' garlic honey confit is available on Jarra. Supplied

Small jars of green onion pesto and garlic honey confit, among others, have been created by brothers Dany and Nabil Khoury, who founded Beirut’s organic food shop “Dry and Raw” in the midst of the country’s ongoing banking crisis. Meanwhile, in West Bekaa, a cooperative of 11 senior women have contributed their high-calcium goat labneh. “They don’t know how to write or read, but they make the best labneh ever. They do this with pride,” El-Fanj said.

Although Jarra’s offerings have attracted Lebanese consumer expats living in Dubai, El-Fanj is heartened by how the city’s British and French communities have also warmed to the products. “I love to meet people,” she said. “This is what life is about, it’s about meeting people and sharing a good meal.”