Navratri is a nine-day festival celebrated across the country with a spirit of divinity. It is a time of joy, dancing, and fasting. It is also the time to spend with family and friends to make wonderful memories.
Everyone looks forward to playing Garba in the Navratri. It is the best way to spend time with friends and family.
During this festival, many people across the country will do fasting. In India, many people avoid consuming alcohol, onion, garlic, or non-vegetarian food during these nine days. Some people have a more severe diet during this festival.
Many people do fasting during this festival for purification purposes but fasting is not just about spirituality it also has a scientific rationale behind it. The Navratri festival occurs at a time of changing seasons, a time when the body’s immunity is low and people are more likely to fall ill. Fasting during Navratri is an excellent way to detox the body ahead of winter.
Nutrition becomes a very important factor during this time. During the festival, people avoid eating grains and instead focus on foods like sweet potato, arbi, raw banana, potatoes, yam, and dudhi/lauki. Having multivitamins in your diet plan is essential as it allows the body to get all the necessary nutrition without breaking the purity of the fast.
• Helps to detox – throughout the year people indulge in unhealthy food. A lot of toxins accumulate in the body because of this unhealthy food. Navratri gives people a chance to flush out these toxins and detox their bodies. Light and healthy food helps to boost immunity, and flush out the chemical residue in the body, mucus, or any unwanted fecal matter.
• Helps to promote heart health – fasting during Navratri reduces the risk of diabetes and coronary heart diseases. There are multiple studies that show fasting brings positive changes to blood cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of associated conditions. It helps to remove fat deposits in the blood and lowers the risk of narrowed arteries, heart attack, and stroke.
• Helps to improve overall health – fasting benefits your overall health. It reduces the risk of heart diseases, reduces cholesterol, keeps the blood pressure in control, produces ketosis that improves blood sugar levels, and helps the body manage stress in a better way.
• Sabudana – sabudana is a very popular superfood in the Indian diet. It is a carbohydrate-dense food that is allowed during Navratri fast. It also contains small amounts of protein, fat, and fiber and is rich in zinc. Sabudana khichadi which is made with ingredients like peanuts, curry patta, some potatoes, and veggies is a wholesome nutritious food.
• Buckwheat Flour – flour is a staple ingredient in the Indian diet but processed flour is filled with calories and has almost no nutritional value. Buckwheat flour, also known as kattu, is a great alternative to regular flour and offers tremendous nutritional benefits.
It is high in fiber which makes you feel full for a longer period of time. It is also rich in amino acids that help to lower cholesterol. It helps to generate heat in the body. It is rich in vitamins like phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper, and vitamin B. Buckwheat is gluten-free and hence does not cause bloating.
• Legumes and Pulses – legumes and pulses are rich sources of protein. They are part of people’s daily diet. Protein is a very important nutrient and should not be missed even during the fast.
Legumes and pulses should be a part of the Navratri fasting diet. Pulses are also a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Pulses also have antioxidant properties that have significant anti-cancer effects. Adding them to your fasting diet helps you to fulfill your daily requirements.
• Dry Fruits – dry fruits are a fantastic food for snacks. They are healthy, nutritious, and flavourful. Dry fruits such as almonds, cashews, and raisins have the ability to improve blood sugar levels, lower blood cholesterol and also reduce inflammation.
Dry fruits are an excellent source of antioxidants and fibers. Having a handful of dry fruits as a snack is always good during Navratri.
• Fresh Fruits and Vegetables – fasting during Navratri gives an excellent opportunity to try some seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables help to stay hydrated and active. A fruit bowl or a salad plate is the best choice for dinner during Navratri.
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is essential to get the necessary nutrition. Other than being a source of hydration coconut water provides minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Potassium.
• Coconut Water – Irrespective of season coconut water is an ideal hydration source during a fast. Other than being a source of hydration coconut water provides minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Potassium.
• Herbs and Spices – India is a land of spices and to think of food without them even during a fast is quite difficult. Spice up Navratri food with cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and chilies. These herbs and spices help to prevent heart diseases, diabetes, etc.
• Water Chestnut or Singhada – singhara halwa is the most common food during Navratri. It is low in calories and is an excellent antioxidant. It also contains potassium, copper, and protein.
• Fruit bowl, Buckwheat roti, fasting rice (shaman rice), sago (Sabu dana), water chestnut (Sanghera) flour, ranger, yam (saran), colocation (abrin), boiled sweet potatoes, etc.
• Clarified butter (ghee), milk, and buttermilk.
• Yogurt and milk products.
• Lots of fluids – tender coconut water, and some electrolyte drinks that will help prevent dehydration.
• Cook foods by using healthy cooking methods like roasting, boiling, steaming, and grilling.
• Be strictly vegetarian, and include basic supplements for recovery.
• Avoid any fried and heavy food that might lead to gastric distress.
• Limit onion, garlic, etc.
• Avoid overeating or undereating.
Maintaining daily protein requirements can be a challenge during Navratri, especially for those who are regular to the gym or on a high-protein diet. During a fast, it is not possible to get the required protein only from food sources. Consuming a protein supplement to fill this gap is ideal.
Many people wonder if we can take protein powder during Navratri fast. And the answer is simply yes. As protein supplements, whey protein or plant protein are made from a vegetable source. It does not create any conflict with someone’s beliefs.
Navratri is an auspicious Hindu festival. It is close to many people's hearts. So, it is very important to follow customs but at the same time take care of your health.
Fast&Up wishes all of you a very Happy Navratri!!
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