How to avoid the problem of bloating during Ramadan

Bloating during the month of Ramadan is inevitable for many, and while they do cause it - beans are full of vital nutrients and benefits. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 10 May 2020

How to avoid the problem of bloating during Ramadan

  • Bloating during the month of Ramadan is inevitable for many

DUBAI: Bloating during the month of Ramadan is inevitable for many.

The reasons are plenty: Eating your meal too fast, plunging into a large, varied meal, swallowing air with the food that you eat, not chewing enough, eating fried and salty foods, and indulging in sweets.

The slowing down of your metabolism due to prolonged periods of not eating, and the stress caused by your hormones because of the feeling of hunger, are additional factors.

One might wonder: Could there also be healthy foods that cause bloating? Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

Beans (red, white, broad, soy and mung), lentils, and chickpeas are all good sources of Calcium, B vitamins, Magnesium, Folate and Zinc. They are also high in protein ― eating half a cup of cooked beans is the equivalent of eating 60 grams of lean protein

They are full of fiber ― a 1/2 cup serving of cooked dry beans has 4 to 10 grams of fiber. They also improve cholesterol levels and protect the heart and the intestines, and are rich in antioxidants, low in fat, and have a low glycemic index, helping control blood sugar.




Beans, lentils and chickpeas are all good sources of Calcium, B vitamins, Magnesium, Folate and Zinc. (Shutterstock)

The dietary guidelines for Americans recommends eating 1.5 cups of beans per week to take advantage of the aforementioned health benefits. However, the fact remains that these are foods that cause bloating.

Two main factors found in this category of food are the culprits: Oligosaccharides and fibers. Oligosaccharides are kinds of sugar that the small intestine cannot digest fully. They go directly to the large intestine where the bacteria break them down.

This process causes fermentation and the production of gases. The same principle applies to other foods that come into the large intestine without being absorbed in the small intestine; they will produce gas. Some examples would be garlic, artichokes, onions, peas and cabbage, not to mention sorbitol, added to many kinds of food as a sweetener.

How to avoid bean bloating?

1. Soak beans in lots of water overnight.

2. Alternatively, if you do not have enough time to soak overnight, put in water and bring to boil. Then soak for few hours before changing the water and boiling again.

3. Don’t use the soaking water to cook the beans. This will get rid of some of the indigestible oligosaccharides that cause bloating.

4. Drink enough water to help your gastrointestinal system handle the increase in dietary fiber.

5. Eat in small quantities — no more than a cup per meal. This is considered a protein source, so supplement your meal with starch, like rice, to feel satiated.

6. Add a carminative such as cumin, cardamom, oregano or fennel to your beans. Spices and herbs are carminatives. They prevent the formation of gas or at least help in expulsion.

7. Eat beans no more than twice a week.

8. Do not exclude beans from your diet. Although you may initially experience some additional gas when you add them to your diet, this effect diminishes if you continue to include them in your diet on a regular basis (in small quantities).

9. Chew your beans thoroughly. When you gobble your food, you also tend to swallow more air, which ends up in your colon, causing gases.

Randa’s tip: Put your cutlery down completely between mouthfuls. When you’re done, grab your cutlery again and take the next mouthful. This will give ample time for proper digestion and for the feeling of satiety to kick in.

Ramadan Kareem.


Saudi vegan bodybuilder slams diet myths

Nutrition is the most important part when it comes to bodybuilding, then comes type of exercise, and good rest. (AFP)
Updated 29 November 2020

Saudi vegan bodybuilder slams diet myths

  • Ali Al-Salam, who stopped consuming animal products in 2017, says certain steps must be completed to have an athletic body

JEDDAH: The vegan diet has risen in popularity in Saudi Arabia in recent years and has been a constant topic of debate among Saudis, attracting the interest of many, including athletes.

Ongoing debates about whether the vegan diet is sufficient for normal people, let alone bodybuilders, abound, but one Saudi is answering them physically.
Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products from diets, clothing or any other purposes.
Over the years, a number of studies have found that people who eat vegan or vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease, but other studies have also placed them at a higher risk of stroke, possibly due to the lack of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that reduces the risk of anemia and neurological diseases.
Speaking to Arab News, 33-year-old Saudi vegan bodybuilder, Ali Al-Salam, who first started his vegan diet three years ago when he was suffering from high blood pressure, highlighted that the consumption of animal products is a deep rooted idea among bodybuilders and athletes.
“We always hear that in order to build muscle, we must consume animal products. In some parts of the world, there are people who can only have a small amount of animal products yet they live their lives healthily and comfortably and are not suffering from malnutrition — on the contrary, they have a lower level of chronic illnesses.”

When I consumed meat and animal products, I suffered from high blood pressure; it was 190 over 110, and I wasn’t even 30 yet. Two weeks into the vegan diet, it went down to 150. The vegan diet did what couldn’t be done with medications for me.

Ali Al-Salam, Saudi vegan bodybuilder

He said it also opened his eyes to what goes on in the dairy and meat industry; he began researching in 2016 and decided to become vegan in 2017.
“I was just like every other athlete, I used to consume a high amounts of protein. I remember in the last days before turning vegan, I used to have 10 egg whites and a piece of steak for breakfast to fulfil my protein needs. This made me think, ‘is this the only way to consume protein?’ And from then on, I started researching and got introduced to the vegan diet at a larger scale,” he said.
“When I consumed meat and animal products, I suffered from high blood pressure; it was 190 over 110, and I wasn’t even 30 yet. Two weeks into the vegan diet, it went down to 150. The vegan diet did what couldn’t be done with medications for me.”
He explained that bodybuilding does not solely rely on protein, and that there are steps that must be completed in order to reach an athletic body. Nutrition is the most important part, then comes type of exercise, and good rest.
“When we talk about good nutrition, it does not just rely on protein. Yes, it is important, but the amount of calories in general is more important,” he said.
“Let’s say you needed 200 grams of protein, does that mean if you consumed 200 grams of it, you would gain muscle? No. You need all the basic nutrients to reach a certain amount of calories in general,” he added.
He highlighted that as soon as people register for gym memberships, they immediately look for supplements because they think they cannot reach the needed amount of protein.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products from diets, clothing or any other purposes.

• Over the years, a number of studies have found that people who eat vegan or vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease.

• But other studies have also placed them at a higher risk of stroke, possibly due to the lack of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that reduces the risk of anemia and neurological diseases.

• Vegan athletes have more endurance, strength and faster muscle recovery, because the vegan diet is rich in antioxidants.

• Animal products sometimes cause inflammation, that your body needs to recover from in the first place.

“I’m talking about non-vegans here too, where their protein intake is already high. Marketing plays a big role here. People link protein to animal products because our society grew up with this idea as well.
“Can a vegan build muscle? Yes, when they eat right, exercise correctly and rest well. The misconception about protein stems from amino acids. People think vegan food lacks amino acids, and only animal products are full of them and that is far from the truth,” he added.
When comparing vegan athletes to regular athletes, he said vegan athletes have more endurance, strength and faster muscle recovery, because the vegan diet is rich in antioxidants which helps greatly in recovery, and because “animal products sometimes cause inflammation, that your body needs to recover from in the first place.”