Individuals with existing lifestyle ailments should adopt healthy fasting practices this Navratri Patients with existing chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure should take extra precautions when fasting Skipping meals or eating an inappropriate diet can adversely affect your health if you are on continuous medications. Diabetic patients should decrease their insulin intake up to 40 percent if they are fasting and consume only one meal a day New Delhi, 1st October 2016: There is a lot of hustle bustle around, as the festive season is approaching. And we all know that Navratri, which is an auspicious 9-day period for Hindu devotees, marks the festive season. Fasting, worshipping and playing dandiya are a few important things that matter the most during this period. From kids to elders, you see almost everyone indulging in the 9-day fast schedule that is observed during the festival. But sometimes, this fasting may culminate in people ignoring their health because they believe in strictly adhering to fasting norms like eating once a day, staying without water till the last meal, consuming salt once a day and only eating potato-based meals. These strict fasting practices do not suit individuals who are suffering from long-term chronic diseases like heart ailments, diabetes and high blood pressure or for that matter pregnancy. In such patients, life-threatening complications may occur and so, fasts must be observed with caution and post-consultation with the treating doctor. Speaking on the issue, Padma Shri Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal – President Elect IMA & President Heart Care Foundation of India said, “Fasting has many positive impacts on one's health if an optimum level of nutritional intake are maintained. For patients who have heart issues, we recommend that they don’t eat fried foods like potato pakoras, fried potatoes and processed potato chips. Diabetics must immediately end their fast if their blood sugar level falls below 60 mg. They must also drink ample amounts of fluid given that dehydration can lead to paralysis and heart attacks. The risks associated with fasting are low in patients with type 2 diabetes. Patients suffering from type 1 diabetes should not fast. Fasting in chronic patients must be done in strict consultation with the doctors since the dosage of regular medicines may need to be reduced by 40-50% during fasts.” A few healthy fasting tips during the Navratri include • Curd with lauki (bottle gourd) called ‘raita’ can be consumed instead of plain curd. • One can eat almonds (badam) in between as snacks. • Stuffed kuttu (buckwheat) roti with pumpkin (kaddu) vegetable should be consumed. • Ample fruits should be consumed at regular intervals to maintain nutrient levels. • Both chestnut flour and buckwheat flours can be combined as a healthy option. • Singhara or water chestnut, is not a cereal but a fruit and hence a good substitute during a Navratri fast where cereals are not to be eaten. • Chestnut flour, a gluten-free product, is an ideal food option for people with celiac disease or other gluten intolerances or allergies.