The week before Hari Raya Aidilfitri is usually a very busy time for Muslims. After a month of reflection and prayer during Ramadhan, many look forward to being able to celebrate with family and friends, and to feast upon the various traditional delicacies that make their appearance during this time of year.

But although food plays a major role in our Raya celebration, it’s important to remember that the health choices we make during this festive season may be carried forward to the rest of the year. Therefore, we should focus on making the right decisions when it comes to nutrition and exercise, in order to ensure that we can enjoy a better and healthier Raya for many more years to come.

Eat in moderation. One of the many blessings of living in Malaysia is the wide variety of food that is available to us. However, we should try not to overindulge, particularly with dishes that are laden with fats or sugars. An easy way to practise portion control is by simply measuring out a meal using your hands. Each meal should include:

Protein such as chicken, fish or beans: a palm-sized portion for women or two palm-sized portions for men

Vegetables: a fist-sized portion for women or two fist-sized portions for men

Carbohydrates such as rice or starchy vegetables such as potatoes: a cupped hand portion for women or two portions for men

Fats such as oil or peanut sauce: a thumb-sized portion for women and two thumb-sized portions for men

You can also consciously choose to sit closer to healthier options around the table to avoid the inclination to overindulge.

Exercise more often. After a full month of fasting and reducing rigorous physical activity, the days following Hari Raya would be a great time to start thinking about getting back in shape. While it may be tempting to only focus on food and festivities during this period, you can also take the time to schedule some exercise, or simply make an effort to keep moving. Even if you are not able to start with a workout routine, you can stay active by walking more and keeping up with house chores. After all, what better way to burn off those extra Raya calories.

One of the ways of keeping our health in check is by regularly monitoring our blood pressure. Make it a part of your daily routine to measure your blood pressure at home using a blood pressure monitor. To ensure that you get an accurate reading, it is important to remember a few simple rules:

Take readings at the same time each day. Your blood pressure can vary throughout the day, and the readings you take in the morning can be significantly different from your readings at night, especially after a day of activity.

Ensure you are well rested. Wait for at least 30 minutes after exercising, eating, smoking, drinking alcohol or bathing before taking readings, as these activities can affect your blood pressure. You should also sit quietly with both feet on the ground for at least 5 minutes before taking your reading.

Take multiple readings for better accuracy. Each time you measure, take two or three readings one minute apart and record the results, which can provide a timely and more accurate assessment of your ongoing health status.

For those of us with elderly parents, it is especially important to ensure that they manage to keep track of their own blood pressure readings. Thanks to advancements in technology, we now have devices that are easier to use, and which can deliver results to a mobile app that stores the information for faster reference.

OMRON Healthcare’s range of newly launched blood pressure monitors (HEM-7142T1 and HEM-7156T) have been tested clinically-validated to ensure that they meet the highest standards of precision and reliability. This is a crucial feature, as the accurate measurement of blood pressure is essential for the diagnosis and management of hypertension.

The devices are also paired with the OMRON Connect mobile app, which automatically records and keeps track of blood pressure readings. The app allows you to monitor trends and changes to your readings to give you valuable insights about your blood pressure, and can be programmed to give reminders for your medications. Your health data can easily be uploaded, stored and shared with family members or doctors, ensuring that you will always have the information you need at your fingertips.

In addition, HEM-7156T is equipped with the 360° Accuracy IntelliWrap Cuff, which is simple to put on using just one hand, fits most arm sizes (22cm-42cm) and allows you to get accurate readings effortlessly, regardless of how the cuff is worn at home.

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