Safe Fasting With DiabetesDt. Shahenaz Shaikh
Ramadan Is a great opportunity to break the chains of bad eating habits. What we eat outside our fasting is crucial to our health. Diet should be simple but nutritious. It should be less than the normal amount but sufficiently balanced to maintain the health & the activity for the whole month of the Ramadan.
- Those on blood lowering medication should consult diabetologist for adjustment of doses to prevent blood glucose levels from going either too low or too high.
- Try to have the meal at Sehri at the proper time just before the set time, not at midnight. This will spread out your energy intake more evenly and result in more balanced blood glucose when fasting.
- It is important for people with diabetes to eat enough to keep nourished & maintain euglycemia. Inclusion of healthy, low glycemic index foods helps to maintain glycemic control. Simple carbohydrates provides instant energy. But for people with diabetes even in ramdan, it is not a good choice. It increases blood sugar level very fast.
- Low glycaemia index & fibre rich foods brown rice, brown bread, full grain bread & vegetables are better options then white rice, refined flour bread & veggies like potato, sweet potato, suran & arvi. Protein is a good source of energy and is more slowly absorbed than carbohydrate.
- Healthy fats also provide a good amount of energy so the inclusion of Nuts, oily fish, avocados, olives, and olive oil are excellent sources of energy. These options are a great way to get the energy you need whilst keeping your blood sugar levels under control.
- Healthy cooking habits baking & grilling helps to control excess caloric intake.
- Do some light exercise or go for a walk. If you attend Taraweeh prayers (special night-time prayers for Ramadan) in the evening, perhaps you could walk all or part of the way there.
- Do not sleep soon after your dinner. A minimum two-hour interval should be maintained.
Foods to eat at Sehri (Suhoor)
Pre-dawn meal should include a meal which provides long lasting energy throughout the day
- The Saheri should include more proteins and less carbohydrate with lots of fruits, whole grain bread, whole grain low sugar cereals, beans, and lentils. Combine the pre-dawn food with proteins like eggs or dal which gradually releases energy through the day.
- Drink plenty of fluids, choose fluid-rich foods to make sure you are well hydrated for the day ahead and go for starchy foods for energy, choosing high fibre or wholegrain varieties where possible as these tend to be digested more slowly.
- Foods that are long lasting energy are complex carbohydrate & high fibre food. Example whole wheat, daliya, oats, couscous & brown rice, etc. But make sure that meal made by these grains are not too salty or they may make you very thirsty.
- Yogurt – this can be a good food to include at suhoor as it provides nutrients like protein, calcium, iodine and B vitamins and also contains fluid. You could combine it with cereal and fruit.
- Milk- Easy to digest & assimilate with good nutrients. Like protein & calcium.
- Add cool foods like cucumbers, pineapple, tomatoes, oranges, melons and onions which help in reducing body heat.
- Keep away from salty foods as they increase fluid loss in your body.
Foods to eat at Iftar ( Fast breaking meal )
- After a long fast it’s natural to want to treat yourself but try to break your fast with sugar-free and decaffeinated drinks to rehydrate your body and avoid dehydration.
Remember that you have a short time each day in ramdan to eat and drink to provide your body with all the essential nutrients and fluids it needs to be healthy, so the quality of your diet is especially important during Ramadan.
- While breaking the day-long fast, the body needs to be well hydrated and one should drink sugar free and decaffeinated fluids. It is important for a diabetic to take natural sugar in the form of fruits instead of juices,
- Try to make sure the foods you eat provide a balance of starchy foods, fruit and vegetables, dairy foods and protein-rich foods like meat, fish, eggs, and beans.
- Dates – Traditionally eaten to break the fast since the time of the Prophet Muhammad, dates are a great way to break the fast as they provide natural sugars for energy, provide minerals like potassium, copper, and manganese and are a good source of fibre, diabetics can include dates but in moderation.
- Drinks – Water, milk, fruit juices – water provides hydration without any extra calories or added sugars. Drinks based on milk and fruit provide some natural sugars and nutrients – these are also good to break the fast but avoid drinking with added sugars these can provide too much sugars and calories.
- Fruit – A traditional way to break the fast. Other fruits also provides natural sugars for energy, fluid, and some vitamins and minerals. You could also try other dried fruits such as apricots, figs, raisins or prunes, which also provide fibre and nutrients.
- Soup – Traditional soups are based on a meat broth and often contain pulses, like lentils and beans, and starchy foods like pasta or grains, providing nutrients and energy.
- Avoid deep fried foods such as puri, samosa, chwera, and pakoras.