Navratri is one of the most auspicious Hindu festivals and marks the onset of the new season. Navratri Fasting is considered very auspicious. Although the Navratri fasts are a bit restrictive in nature the Saatvik food combined during these days is very beneficial for our health.
Navratri is a period of nine days during which devotees get dressed in traditional wear, offer prayers to the nine forms of Goddess Durga and observe fasts. Fasting and chanting Hymns certainly give good health. It is said that Ma Durga bestows her blessings on those who fast during this period. However, according to Sri Sri Ravishankar ji “we fast not to please the Divine but to cleanse our body from toxins”.
Usually, most of us don’t wait to feel hungry to eat which weakens our digestive system leading to stress and poor immunity. Fasting gives our digestive system a little bit of rest and allows the gut to cleanse and strengthens its lining. Ayurveda says, fasting rekindles our digestive fire and an increase in digestive fire burns out toxins from our bodies. When these burnt toxins are flushed out, we get rid of dullness, and lethargy and feel rejuvenated. Fasting, therefore, is an effective therapy to cleanse our bodies. When the body is cleansed, our mind becomes calmer and more peaceful, thus establishing a deep connection between our body and mind.
Navratri is the time to spend time with oneself, turn inwards, meditate and connect with our source of existence. Fasting is helpful in decreasing the restlessness of the mind and brings forth awareness and joy so that we can peacefully meditate and pray. Intermittent fasting combined with a gluten-free diet offers many health benefits too. It detoxifies the body, rejuvenates the system, and improves the heart’s health, metabolism, and multi-organ functioning.
The Significance of Navrati Fasting
Fasting boosts ketosis or fat burning, hence intermittent fasting brings positive changes to the blood cholesterol levels and helps in the removal of fat deposits from blood, thus helping towards a healthier heart. In addition, during fasting, one can include only certain grains in one’s diet like water chestnut flour, amaranth flour, buckwheat flour, and sago which are gluten-free and keeps one full for a longer duration. Apart from these, fruits, green vegetables, healthy spices, and buttermilk help in maintaining a healthy weight. A gluten-free diet is anti-bloating in nature, hence chances of digestive distress also come down and it also aids in weight loss.
Scientifically also it has been proved that this is the period when the seasons change, there is a prevalence of viruses and bacteria and our immunity is low. Hence during these days if we fast along with a gluten-free diet, fruits, and vegetables, it helps us to fight various infections.
In addition to it, fasting improves insulin resistance and oxidative stress reduction. Along with heart and liver health, it plays an important role in improving brain health by reducing inflammation, and oxidative stress and increasing the production of nerve cells in the brain and can help protect brain cells against stroke, which is one of the major benefits of fasting.
Hence apart from the religious aspect, fasting during Navratri following a sattvic diet offers a plethora of health benefits. No wonder, food during fasting is called Prasad and it is said that it turns into ‘Amrit’. During these days after the pitta resumes its normal state with fasting and a proper diet, the moon is said to bestow its coolness and health into the body constituents. Thus the body becomes healthy and strong.
Every festival has its own peculiar diet like sesame sweets on Sankranti or jowar and baked gram during Holi festival. Similarly, a diet made of ghee and sugar is prescribed for Vijaya Dashmi which is conducive to the energy needed to guard against the cold during the ensuing Hemanta Ritu.
If one is fasting during Navratri, one should strictly avoid Garlic, Onion, wheat, rice, lentils, eggs, and spices such as Haldi(turmeric), Dhania( coriander powder), Hing(asafoetida), Garam Masala( mixed spice powder), Rai/Sarson, Lavang(clove), etc. and there are some general rules to be followed like the kind and frequency of diet. For example, some people fast all nine days without eating, some eat only at night only, and others eat and drink only nutritious foods.
So this Navratri doesn’t fast for the fear of Ram or Durga but just to improve your health, because God in any case doesn’t know to punish his devotees. God just knows to shower his blessings upon us in the form of various health benefits when we fast.
Happy Navratri, Happy Navratri Fasting……..
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