Fasting during Navratri is considered very sacred and it is done to propitiate Goddess Durga and to seek her blessings. Apart from the relgious aspect of it, even scientifically it helps purify the body by flushing out excess toxins. However, for people with diabetes, special care must be taken if they want to fast for Navratri. Here are a few tips for healthy fasting for diabetics:
The common saying ‘Too much of anything is bad' holds true for diabetics in this case. If you have diabetes, you should avoid both overindulgence in festive food as well as fasting. Fasting is a personal choice and if you really wish to go for it, then it is not advisable to take long breaks. In fact, you must take some food after short durations i.e. every few hours. By doing so you’ll be maintaining your blood glucose levels.
For diabetics who are fasting, it would be a good idea to have slow absorbing foods (which have low glycemic index) before you begin the fast. Choosing these types of foods will keep you filled up and keep your blood glucose levels more even during the course of the fast. Fruits, vegetables and salad can also be included.
Diabetics who take insulin may experience low blood glucose levels during the day, however, after the fast is broken, there is a greater risk to overeat. Traditionally, a Navratri fast is broken with high-calorie foods like sabudaana papad, tikki, pakodas and fried potatoes. You need to watch out for eating too much of it as your blood glucose levels may shoot up quickly when you consume such foods. When you break the fast, include only small quantities of sugary and fatty foods. You can of course try and get creative with your fast opening meal by using less oil in cooking and try grilling, baking or dry frying food using a non-stick pan.
During the course of the fast, if you feel less energetic, avoid resorting to too much intake of tea and coffee. Rather, drink plenty of water and sugar-free beverages like lemonade, coconut water and buttermilk throughout the day, but avoid caffeine beverages as they can be dehydrating which can lead to further complications.
Other important tips:
It would be good to speak to your endocrinologist and your dietician before you plan to fast.
It is recommended to check your blood sugar levels a few times during the day you are fasting.
Diabetics who are taking insulin may have to adjust the dose of their insulin as the requirement of insulin may reduce up to 40%.