“When dealing with the ravages of cancer,” says Munira Premji, “be kind to yourself and to eat nutritionally when you can.” Photo: Frances Darwin

To mark World Cancer Day on 4 February, Munira Premji shares what she has learned from her relationship with food while battling the ravages of three cancers over the past five years.

World Diabetes Day is on 14 November.

To mark World Diabetes Day, Shahzadi Devje, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, discusses the importance of physical activity, explores some common barriers and ways to overcome them.

M is for... Mutter

Mutter, also known as peas, belong to the same family as pulses, which includes beans, dal, lentils and chickpeas. They are a great source of protein and fibre, with virtually no fat.

Those who need to gain weight should focus on consuming foods and beverages that are both higher in calories and nutrients. Shirzad Chunara

With all the attention on the problems of overweight and obesity, it is easy to forget that there are many people whose main concern is how to gain weight in order to improve their health. Gaining weight can be just as difficult — physically and psychologically — as trying to lose it.

Keep a water bottle with you and drink from it regularly.

As the Jubilee Games approaches, Ismaili athletes around the world are spending countless hours training. But underestimating sweat loss and not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and serious side effects.

Sixty per cent of all deaths in India are now attributed to NCDs. An Aga Khan Health Board programme aims to reach as many rural and urban members of the Jamat as possible. AKHB India

Non-communicable diseases kill 38 million around the world each year. In India, the country’s Aga Khan Health Board rolled out Health Mantra, a national programme to help the Jamat to better understand the growing threat of NCDs.

The World Health Organization, headquartered in Geneva, expects deaths from NCDs to increase by 17 per cent over the next decade. Thorkild Tylleskar

NCDs are the leading cause of death in the global population, and a serious problem in the Ismaili community. Unhealthy diet is a key risk factor — one that the Ismaili Nutrition Centre is helping to address.

Limbu (Lemon and Lime)

Limbu can be used to describe both limes and lemons, which are sour and acidic citrus fruits. Both are an excellent source of vitamin C.


Kela (bananas) are nature’s convenience food. They are widely available, inexpensive, and found in their own natural packaging. From a baby’s first weaning food to a snack that seniors with chewing difficulties can easily manage, kela can be enjoyed throughout your life.


Jardalu (or apricot) is a soft fleshy fruit, usually pale yellow to orange in colour, with a relatively large stone that is easy to remove when the fruit is ripe. They can be eaten raw, dried or cooked into a tasty dessert.

Imli (Tamarind). Katykman / Dollar Photo Club

Imli (tamarind) — also known as aamli and “Indian date — has a delicious sweet and sour flavour and is a versatile ingredient. It can be eaten raw as a bean, used for flavouring like a spice, and enjoyed as chutney, a condiment, and even as a refreshing beverage.

Haldi (turmeric).

Of all the spices, haldi (turmeric) is one of the more common found in South Asian kitchens. It is most often used in the powder form but fresh haldi can also be grated or crushed just before adding it to savoury dishes. In packaged or prepared baked goods, custards, or dairy products, haldi is often used as a natural colouring agent.

Even when fasting,  regular dietary recommendations should be followed. Continue trying to eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day.

For Muslims with diabetes, the fast during Ramadan can present a challenge in day to day management of the condition. In this article, Dr Hala Alsafadi offers tips on staying safe.

Gajar (carrot).

Gajar (carrot) is a crunchy root vegetable available in a range of colours like orange, red, yellow, purple and white. It is a good source of beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in our bodies.

Feeri (blueberries).

Feeri (blueberries) are found naturally in the cooler climates of North America and Europe. Ripe feeri have a deep blue thin skin, with a green fleshy middle and a sweet taste.

Elaichi (cardamom).

Elaichi is a spice used in Arabic, South Asian and even Chinese traditions to add a sweet aromatic flavour to desserts, chai, curries and rice dishes. In both Ayruvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, it has been used to treat digestion and oral health issues.

Daraam (Pomegranate).

Daraam is a fruit with a reddish, leathery outer skin that houses edible seeds that are divided by white membranes. It is thought to be beneficial to your health.

Chuqander (Beetroot).

Chuqander are usually a deep red colour but there are varieties ranging from white, orange and even striped. Both the beets and their greens can be eaten as they are tasty and full of unique nutritious properties.

Badaam (Almonds)

You may have memories of your grandma telling you to eat “saath (seven) badaam a day.” Well, as explained in this latest Nutrition Centre A to Z article, research suggests that she was giving you good advice!

Amla (Indian gooseberry) is a tangy seasonal fruit that is high in vitamin C.

The Ismaili Nutrition Centre has launched a new series of articles on simple ideas for popular foods. This A to Z of different fruits, vegetables and everyday ingredients builds greater awareness of basic nutrition and encourages you to try healthy and easy ideas for preparing a range of tasty dishes. This week's entry is about amla, a tangy seasonal fruit that is high in vitamin C.