It’s that time of the year to flaunt those colourful ghagra cholis and show off dance movies with garbha. Navratri truly is one of the most vibrant and joyous festivals celebrated across India with pomp. ‘Navratri’ means nine nights dedicated in the celebrations of Goddess Durga which is followed by Vijayadashami or Dussehra. During these nine days, devotees worship the nine incarnations of Goddess Durga to seek prosperity, knowledge, wealth and strong willpower to overcome the hurdles of life. Whilst many rituals and traditions are practiced but among them fasting plays a pivotal role.
Although, fasting is often related to religious connotations but scientifically – it is a ‘detoxification’ process. During Navratri, some devotees hold fast for all nine days while some choose to practice only on first and last days. Additionally, some refrain from grains while some avoid tamasic foods like onion, garlic, alcohol, meat, etc. In fact, Ayurveda emphasises that avoiding these ingredients help in tuning the digestive system, boosts immunity amidst seasonal changes and wipes-out negativity and lethargy. However, to keep up your energy, there are a gamut of vrat recipes like sabudana khichdi, kuttu ka dosa, aloo ki kadhi, etc., that add to a healthy platter.
Though, fasting is a great way to cleanse your body mentally, physically and spiritually; there are some amazing tips that you need to add for a healthy diet.
1. Consumption of vegetables and fresh fruits
Vitamins play an important role in overall growth of the body along with maintaining metabolism, improving digestion and boosting immunity. And vegetables are an amazing source of vitamins that undertake these tasks while you are fasting. Potatoes are commonly consumed during fast but you can complement them with bottle gourd (lauki), yellow pumpkin, arbi, potato, cucumber and sweet potato. Along with veggies, try fruits like apples, papayas, prunes, pomegranates, cranberries, etc., because they enhance the functioning of nervous system and keeps cholesterol at bay. Fruity brews in the form of salads, smoothies, raitas, etc., are a great way to uphold nutrition.
2. Avoid store bought food items
Store bought food items is a big no in this festive season. A lot of store bought items undergo processes to enhance palatability, texture or flavour. These processes may involve addition of preservatives, sugars, fats, cooling, heating, etc., which may hamper the health causing cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes. These items furthermore make your body weak, deficient in vitamins and minerals which can lead to depression and anxiety too!
3. Avoid overeating
Fasting is the best way to purify your body. However, some people lose their control and hog on the Navratri food thinking it will cause no harm. Though, potatoes, fruits, sabudana khichdi are beneficial during this fast, but you have to keep an eye on the quantity. The oil and heavy calories present in these foodstuff overthrows the purpose of fasting. So, it’s best to opt for small meals at regular intervals.
4. Stay Hydrated
Water represents 60 to 70 percent of the human body weight and plays a pivotal role in the functioning of the body. So, while fasting is it important to keep yourself hydrated unless you are following a ‘nirjal vrat’ (fast without water). Apart from water, you can also opt for other fluids like lemon water, green tea, buttermilk, coconut water, buttermilk, etc. Also, you can opt for tea but made of skimmed milk.
5. Opt for gluten-free diet
Fasting gives a much-needed break to the body from heavy dose of dietary customs. Also, the seasonal changes make our body more prone to diseases. And so, food that is light on stomach, easy to digest, has nutritional value, boosts immunity is preferable during fast. So, gluten-free diet that consists of flours like singhara (water chestnut), kuttu (buckwheat), rajgira (amaranth), saame (millet) is highly recommended in a Navratri diet. They are not only healthy but a great alternative for wheat flour and bread! You can also explore some gluten-free recipes, right here.
6. Say No to alcohol and meat
Alcohol and meat are a big no during Navratri fast. Alcohol leads to dehydration and slows down metabolism considerably. And on the other hand, meat boasts tamasic content which slows down digestion and can lead to stomach irritation. Most importantly, meat and alcohol lacks positivity thus disturbing the essence of spirituality.
7. Dry Fruits and Nuts to boost your energy
Apart from these, dry fruits are a great energy booster during the Navratri fasts. Prominently, walnuts, almonds, dates, pistachios, cashews, raisins make a great snack to gain the utmost level of energy. They also act as antioxidants and keep you satiated for a longer period. Almonds, often tagged as ‘powerhouse’, boost the immune system which is comparatively low while fasting. They regulate metabolism and prevent constipation because they are rich in fibre. Walnuts, however, help to protect the heart and induce sleep because some might encounter sleep deprivation owing to hunger pangs.
Furthermore, dates are an amazing source of energy, minerals, and vitamins. They regulate your digestion process, suppress your hunger pangs thus helping you to avoid overeating. Raisins are also rich in fibre that helps in maintaining bowel movements and ousts toxin from the body. Nevertheless, to replenish your energy levels, you can also try juices like date & cashew nut juice or just enhance your fasting recipes with dry fruits to get that nutty flavor.
So, to commemorate a healthier Navratri, don’t forget to incorporate these amazing tips and recipes in your diet chart. Also, if you are feeling dizzy or weak, then don’t forget to munch on your favorite dry fruits and nuts. And if you are looking for top-notch quality dry fruits and nuts to make your Navratri hale and hearty, then do explore Ambrosia Nuts’ online store right away!