Most Muslims or followers of Islam around the globe fast during the holy period of Ramadan. It is an important spiritual practice for them. Most people are able to do it without much problem. However, things are not the same for those who suffer from diabetes.
Complications to be Aware of
Diabetics must be aware of the below-mentioned complications involved if choosing to fast. Ideally, they should have a consultation with their doctor to know if it is safe for them to fast as each patient is different and take preventive measures accordingly.
Key risks for diabetics:
Hypoglycemia or low blood glucose- People taking diabetes pills or insulin are more at risk of suffering from hypoglycemia. They should limit physical activity during the morning. Talk to your doctor to find out if the medicines can anyway lower your blood glucose level and how to prevent that from happening.
Hyperglycemia or high blood glucose- People who tend to overeat when they break the fast in the evening are known to suffer from hyperglycemia. In order to prevent such thing from happening, eat food as you would do normally, which is in moderation. It is important for Iftar to remain a meal and not a feast.
What Should You Drink and Eat at Suhoor and Iftar?
If you still choose to fast, it is important to maintain a strict diet to prevent hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. Here are some ideas about how your diet should be during Ramadan:
Ideas for Sehri or Suhoor- Keeping hydrated is the key to go about the day ahead of you. Drink plenty of fluids and eat fluid-rich foods. Go for starchy foods for energy and eat high-fiber content food or wholegrain to remain fuller for a longer time. They also aid in digestion and prevent constipation. Some of the foods and drinks you may consume are:
- Oats- These are whole grains with which you can make porridge. You will also get the required fluids since it is either made with water or milk. You can also eat muesli with yogurt or milk and add dried or fresh fruits, seeds or nuts as toppings.
- Starchy food like couscous or rice- Eat rice pudding with fruits or couscous and other grains with fruit or dairy. If you wish to eat savory dishes, ensure they are not made with too much salt, otherwise you may feel thirsty during the fast.
- Bread- Always opt for wholegrain options like chapatis or wholemeal toast since they provide more fiber. Avoid eating bread with salty foods like preserved meat or hard cheese. You can eat soft cheese, banana or nut butter. Since bread is a dry food item, combine it with fluid-rich food like lentil soup to keep hydrated.
- High-fiber breakfast cereals- These high-fiber food items are often loaded with mineral and vitamins. Moreover, since you would take them with milk, you would get fluids and other nutrients like iodine, calcium, and B-vitamins alongside.
- Yogurt- This is a good option to go for since it offers nutrients like calcium, protein, B-vitamins, and protein along with fluid. You can eat it with a combination of cereal or fruits.
Ideas for Iftar- When you break the fast for the first time eat low fat and fluid-rich foods. Choose to eat foods with natural sugar content for energy. Drink up a lot of fluids. It is not advisable to consume foods or drinks with added sugar. Here are some examples of foods and drinks to go for:
- Dates- Dates are being eaten to break the fast since the time of Muhammad. These offer natural sugar for energy and come packed with minerals such as manganese, copper, and potassium. It is a great source of fiber as well. You can also eat dried fruits like figs, apricots, prunes or raisin since they provide nutrients and fiber.
- Soup- Breaking the fast in a light way is advisable and the same can be attained by taking the soup. Traditionally these soups are meat based broth containing pulses like beans and lentils or starchy foods like grains or pasta. It does not only offer nutrients or energy but supply with fluids as well.
- Fruit- Fruits provide natural sugars for instant energy along with vitamins, minerals, and fluid as well. It is a good option to break the fast.
- Drinks- One can also break the fast by drinking low-fat milk, water, smoothies or fruit juices. Water provides hydration without added sugar or extra calories. Milk or fruit based drinks also help offer nutrients and natural sugars. Avoid drinking fluids with too much-added sugars after breaking the fast since that would be too much of sugar and calorie intake.
The food you eat after breaking the fast must be a balanced diet of starchy foods like wholegrain, vegetables, fruits, protein-rich foods like fish, lean source of meat, protein, beans, and eggs, and dairy products. You may want to eat more after a long time of fasting but avoid any kind of sugary fruits or sugary drinks as you have diabetes. Since you only have a limited time in a day to eat and drink, ensure that your diet is healthy and nutrient-rich as much as possible.
Once you have had the chance to digest the food, go for a walk or do some light exercise.
Though the timing would change you must continue to take medicines as prescribed. It is required of you to break the fast if by any chance your glucose level falls below 70 mg/dL. Contact your doctor immediately in case of excessive sweating, excessive urination, fatigue & dizziness.
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