BEIRUT: During the holy month of Ramadan, certain people are exempted from fasting, while others have to fast while managing their health condition in the best way possible.
Today, my article addresses people in the latter category, specifically those with type 2 diabetes who are able to control their condition through food and exercise.
I would advise diabetics to include a snack or two, when needed, between iftar and sahoor. Watch out for sugar content, as you need to keep your blood-sugar levels under control. Also be aware of how much salt you are consuming, as too much can leave you feeling dehydrated.
Of course, diabetics must not eat food that will raise their blood-sugar levels. Some good foods for diabetics include:
1. High-fiber food including wholewheat bread, wholewheat pasta, wholewheat rice, oats, parboiled wheat, quinoa, beans and lentils. Fibers, especially soluble fibers, can slow the absorption of sugar and help control blood-sugar levels.
2. Vegetables and fruits. These contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
3. Healthy fats are always recommended, especially food containing Omega 3, such as fatty fish, walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds
4. Lean protein. Good sources include fish, lean meat, beans and lentils.
Randa’s tips and tricks:
Break your fast with three dates and aim for another serving of fruit later.
Eat your whole grains cold or reheated. Then they will contain resistant starches that are harder for your digestive system to break down, so less sugar is absorbed.
It’s a good idea to add vinegar to your food — for example, to the salad that should accompany your main dish.
Always eat some protein and healthy fat with your carbohydrates to help reduce the speed of absorption.
When you have the urge to snack, try to go for salt-free raw nuts and/or fruit.
Drink sugar-free fluids between sunset and sunrise. Water is always best. You should avoid caffeinated drinks (or at least be mindful of how much caffeine you are drinking) as caffeine can lead to dehydration.
Randa’s tips for those on medication:
Consult a doctor before fasting.
Always check your blood-glucose levels. Stop fasting if your blood glucose is below 70mg/dl or above 300mg/dl.
To avoid low blood-sugar levels during taraweeh, eat wholewheat grains as part of your iftar meal and stay hydrated.