Words: Leap Communications
Fasting is a relatively common practice for religious or health reasons but can be risky for diabetics in particular, if not managed correctly.
Fasting entails abstaining from food or drink for a period of time. With the Muslim holy month of Ramadaan expected to start around 18 June, an estimated 40 to 50 million diabetic Muslims around the world will be among those fasting from sunrise to sunset for a month. Without the correct nutrition and lifestyle choices, fasting type 2 diabetics may place their health in danger (see here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4244681/ and here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2853405/).
SA nutritional consultant, Vanessa Ascencao says the risks of fasting for those who have health conditions may include low or high blood sugar levels due to limited physical activity, overeating when breaking fast, not taking medication on time, hypoglycaemia or dehydration. (See here: http://www.joslin.org/info/Ramadan-and-Diabetes.html)
In addition to consulting your GP, Ascencao suggests the following tips for diabetics wanting to fast safely:
* Check your blood glucose levels frequently.
* Do not stop taking your medication.
* Increase your intake of green vegetables, healthy fats like seeds, nuts and avocado, low GL fruit and natural whole foods.
* Have your first meal in the morning instead of late at night to help keep your blood sugar balanced.
* When breaking fast, have smaller quantities of food and avoid eating sweet or fatty foods.
* Increase your intake of water.
* Choose sugar free drinks and replace sugar with a natural sweetener such as Xylitol or stevia.
* Use coconut oil for cooking and don’t heat olive oil, simply use over a salad.
* Try to be consistent with your diet and lifestyle and try not to overindulge with sweet treats on Eid day.
* Try the Diabecinn range of products for type 2 diabetes to help balance blood sugar levels (see here: www.diabecinn.co.za).
* Try Marcus Rohrer Spirulina for overall health and boosted energy. Spirulina is the most nutrient-dense natural supplement in the world. It’s packed with protein, all eight essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, iron and dozens of other nutrients. Great to boost nutrition during the fasting period.
Both Diabecinn and Marcus Rohrer Spirulina are available at Dis-Chem, Clicks and most major pharmacies.