Follow these tips for Pessah health and safety

Magen David Adom has organized 1,500 teenagers around the country collecting food for needy families for the 10th year in a row.

April 13, 2011 02:40
3 minute read.
marzah, wine, haggadah [illustrative]

Haggadah and Matzah 521. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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There will be people with too much food during the seven days of Pessah – and those with too little. Dietitians are full of advice to help Israelis of all ages avoid gaining several kilos from the week of vacation and festive meals, and suffering from stomachaches from dry, hard matza.

At the same time, Magen David Adom has organized 1,500 teenagers around the country collecting food for needy families for the 10th year in a row before the festival. Basic food for the Seder and beyond, including matzot, sugar, canned food, sweet haroset, bitter herbs and others are being collected at Mega, Mega- Bool, Supersol, Bitan Wines and other chain stores around the country. The MDA volunteers will package and distribute them before the Seder via off-duty ambulances to needy families recognized by the social welfare authorities.

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The food product collect is being carried out at the entrance to the stores between 3 and 10 p.m.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai commented: “It is our moral obligation to make sure that no one will be hungry. We congratulate MDA, which not only save physical lives but also emotional ones.”

Last year, MDA collected some 30,000 food packages; it now aims to raise the target to 40,000 families who will be able to have a happy holiday.

For those who have too much to eat during Pessah, Hillel Yaffe Medical Center clinical dietitian Sarah Stern Kati’i noted that many people suffer from gas and pain due to eating dozens of pieces of matza, while others gain excessive weight. The unusual diet may also upset the conditions of people who suffer from chronic illness such as digestive problems or diabetes.

Everything from the wine and grape juice to gooey and sweet cakes, chocolate, white potatoes and eggs can raise blood sugar and cholesterol that can be moderated by regular exercise during the holiday but can be reduced by eating more vegetables and more water, she said.

Sigal Frishman, head of clinical dietitians at the Rabin Medical Center, added that each matza equals 160 calories, compared to half that for a “light” matza. Portions of food with nuts of all kinds, while nutritious, are also fattening, with 100 to 150 calories apiece. The Pessah Seder alone can total 1,200 calories or more without including nuts and desserts.

Those who eat pulses should reduce calorie intake by eating rice cakes, she advised.

For the festive meal, buy only those products that you planned in advance and not things that look scrumptious in the supermarket. Drink a lot of water, soda and dietetic drinks (if you can’t do without them). Avoid fried dishes, which are very fattening.

While out in nature, Dr. Amar Hussein – director of the emergency department at Safed’s Ziv Hospital – advises wearing long, light clothing to avoid snakes emerging from the winter slumber and protect yourself from sharp objects.

Never stick your hands under rocks, as both poisonous snakes and scorpions may be hiding there. Make sure you are covered up against the sun, use sunscreen and drink plenty of fresh water.

Meanwhile, numerous hospitals have already prepared young patients to prepare for the holiday with a model Seder.

Sheba Medical Center’s Safra Children’s Hospital at Tel Hashomer conducted such an event as practice for the real event on Monday night.

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