Navratri is a nine day festival of Durga. It is celebrated all over India, but more broadly is a major festival in the states of West Bengal and Gujarat. The festival changes the overall look and style of life of people in these states. However, with Navratri, many devotees go for nine days of fasting. According to Hindu beliefs, fasting purifies the heart and soul of a person.
In addition to spiritual benefits, fasting is also good for health. It detoxifies the body, improves the digestive system, controls blood sugar levels and, above all, helps weight loss. For this, for 9 days, it is customary to observe some discipline according to ability. The benefits derived from observing the Navaratri even for a fraction of time are incalculable. Fasts are a means of internal cleansing, physically and spiritually. Depending on the person the fast may have several benefits.
People who are generally non-vegetarian but turn vegetarian during Navratras can benefit hugely during the Navratras. This is because it is the best opportunity to eliminate all the toxins out of the system and actually get the benefit of antioxidants. This is important for health and during this time you can really get the detoxification of the body system.
Adding the following foods during Navratras can detoxify people who commonly make use of meat out of this practice:
• Vegetable juice which is made of bottle gourd (lauki), tomato, apple and a little ginger (adrak) will provide good amounts of vitamin a, vitamin B and vitamin C that serve as antioxidants. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that has been shown to stimulate the immune system, to also fight diseases like cancer and reduce the risk of heart disease.
• Eating plenty of fruits free the liver of toxic cholesterol accumulation. Fruits has, as a high value of pectin for example in apples, a soluble fiber, which is effective in reducing cholesterol levels. If you are taking a low cholesterol diet, it also helps cholesterol level to go down.
For people who are already vegetarian and fasting in this period, to get the best health benefits of Navratras:
• Eat fruits like apple, banana, pear (nashpati) and pomegranate (Anar). You can have these fruits with milk or yogurt. Raw vegetables such as cucumbers and tomatoes can be included in the fast food list. To stay healthy during Navratri fast, have fruit or fruit juice every two hours to avoid acidity.
• Eating almonds (badam) soaked overnight and raisins (kishmish) to increase values of minerals.
• Start the day by drinking warm water with a few drops of lemon juice to wash and detoxify the system.
• Avoid excessive consumption of milk and dairy products as this may add to the lethargy.
For people who want to lose weight at this time also for a salutary effect
People who want to lose weight during this fasting period should choose foods with great wisdom. You can choose foods such as bottle gourd (lauki) raita, pumpkin (kaddu) Raita, fruits like apples, pears (nashpati), a certain amount of potatoes, rice (Samak ke chawal).
There are some foods that should be avoided like the sweet potato (shakarkand), dairy products, buckwheat and whole milk. Drink lukewarm water with lemon to help cleansing or detoxifying. Also, avoid eating late at night.
Diabetics need to be careful not to make long fasts, and hearty food. The best thing would be to eat some food every hour with a low glycemic index foods and always not exceed the threshold. Some examples of foods that can be eaten: pumpkin kuttu (buckwheat), roti with pumpkin (kaddu), lauki raita. Eat fruits at regular intervals, pear and berries. You can eat almonds (badam) between snacks.
If you are fasting this Navratri, then here are some healthy ways to detoxify your body without being exhausted for nine days. So, be careful not to celebrate the food, but eat them in required proportions during fasting. This is the time when your self-control needs to show its effect on you.
While fasting, you should not eat unhealthy foods like french fries or potato chips. Do not stuff yourself with fatty and fried foods. Sabudana khichdi is one of the most popular dishes during Navratri fast. But, this fast dish is very low in fiber, so it should be avoided. In addition, there are many people who go for no-salt diet during Navratri, but if you do not eat salt, you will feel weak as your blood pressure goes down really. So make sure you eat salt, at least once in a day. Rock salt can be consumed during fasting during Navratri.
Consider your health as many people do not have the staying power of fasting for all nine days. Headache, vomiting, indigestion, improper bowel movements, bloating, weakness and acidity are the most common health problems people face during fasting. People suffering from diabetes, hyper acidity or gastroenteritis should avoid fasting.
During fasting, many people skip meals entirely and rely on water. Do not starve as your body needs vitamin and nutritional supplements. prolonged fasting can lead to weakness, acidity, fatigue etc. So, see that there are depriving your body of energy that is required.
Here are some healthy Navratri vrat recipes for fasting:
Sabudana Khichdi: Recipe
Malai Kofta: Recipe
Dahi Vada: Recipe
Milk Pudding: Recipe
Cashew Cheese Burfi : Recipe
Gajar Ka Halwa: Recipe