To help drive awareness of the importance of having a healthy and balanced diet, Bupa Egypt held #BecauseBupaCares, a healthy cooking event in Cairo, with celebrity chef Basma El Sebai. Offering a three-course cooking class at the Nile Ritz Carlton.
The renowned Egyptian chef provided members of the public with a unique, hands on learning experience to enhance their knowledge and hone their skills in creating healthy, organic and balanced meals. The initiative is part of Bupa Global’s ongoing commitment to health, wellness, and helping people to live longer, healthier, happier lives.
According to research by the World Obesity Federation, low to mid-income countries have some of the highest child obesity rates in the world, and Egypt ranks seventh with 32% of children obese. This is due in part to the Egyptian population having a diet alarmingly heavy in meat, carbohydrates and sugar combined with a lack of exercise. 
Chef Basma El Sebai is a renowned advocate of healthy eating and raising awareness of its benefits. She does so through her cooking show on Nile Family TV in Egypt, as well as several other TV shows she previously hosted in Egypt. The celebrity chef explained to attendees how they can be more mindful of their diet and how small diet alterations can contribute to achieving a healthier, happier life: “We need to start with small changes. For example, if we could just cut out the sugar we add to our coffee and tea it can help improve our health.
She added: “Many people are not aware of just how much sugar is in in fizzy drinks, sweets and syrups. They also often don’t realize how sugar is not only responsible for tooth decay and weight gain, but is a slippery slope to other more serious health related issues. We are also seeing a growing trend to ‘order in’. Even though there are many healthy food delivery options, I would always encourage people to cook at home as much as possible to keep the nutritional value high and maintain the freshness of produce. That is what the #BecauseBupaCares cooking event is really all about – teaching how to cook fresh, healthy, wholesome food.
With 62.2% of Egyptian adults overweight and 31.3% of them obese, healthy eating remains of the utmost importance. Samy El Garraya, Interim General Manager for Bupa Egypt, explained: “Continuous education is crucial to raising awareness, encouraging change and instilling healthy habits. For this reason, we partnered with chef Basma and Imtenan to help give back to the community and encourage people further embrace healthy eating habits.”
Bupa’s tips for healthy eating includes:
- Choose few starchy foods: Starchy foods contain carbohydrates, which release energy slowly throughout the day. Choose wholegrain or wholemeal varieties where possible, and brown rice, as these are particularly high in fibre.
- Don’t forget to include fruits and vegetables: Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. One portion of fruit or vegetables is 80g. Your five portions don’t all have to be fresh – dried, frozen, tinned, and juiced fruit and vegetables count too.
- Include dairy and alternatives: Milk and dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt, are important sources of protein, calcium and vitamins. Check the labels and choose lower-fat and reduced-sugar options, such as semi-skimmed or skimmed milk. Or eat mature varieties of cheese so you max out on the flavour and eat less.
- Pick leaner meats: Some types of meat are high in fat, so always cut off any extra fat and skin. Grill, bake or poach meat and fish rather than fry it.
- Watch out for sugar: Low-fat foods can often be pumped full of sugar so they won’t help you on that quest to lose weight. Eat foods high in sugar less often and in smaller amounts. If you have the occasional treat, try to have a small portion – try individually wrapped cakes so you aren’t tempted to have another slice.
- Add fibre to your diet: Leave the skin on vegetables because you will get more fibre from them. Potato wedges are a tasty option, as are carrots sticks with hummus.
 Egypt’s obesity battle: ‘No one cares about calories here’. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/07/egypt-obesity-battle-calories-overweight