During the nine days of Navratras, many Indians observe certain fasting rules, or follow certain dietary pattern or refrain from eating certain foods, as a cultural practice. Now, its great to have cultural practices and to follow them, but we wanted to discuss the broader health aspects behind them, and how they can be really leveraged to get the health benefits. Let’s first look at Navratras from a broader cultural perspective.
The practice of abstaining from food or certain foods is of course to show your respect to the Gods, but there could be a hidden health angle to it, helping you detox your body, improve your immunity and overall health. Let’s show you how
The navratras happen twice a year .. both at the time of changing seasons, going from cold to warm or vice versa. Its common knowledge that changing seasons makes our body more prone to external infections, leading to common cold, etc. A common way to reduce your chances of infection. Now, the nine days of Navratri might actually help you do just that.
Let’s first look at the foods that people refrain from during navratri- all meats, alcohol, grains like wheat, regular salt, etc.
Let’s start with each meat. Eating and digesting meat is known to be harder for your body, than vegetarian food. Refraining from meat consumption makes it easier for your body to digest food, and thus helps your body focus on healing & immunity building processes… We’re not saying you need to turn vegetarian. Just that, it might be healthier to be vegetarian.
Now, there might be multiple corner case studies out there showing that alcohol has some health benefits, but we’re willing to bet that alcohol is best not consumed, and can find you many more studies that show that alcohol is unhealthy, beyond just making you gain weight and even creating an imbalance of hormones. Your body processes alcohol like poison, and can take upto 2 days to process even a single serving of alcohol. So, not consuming it for these 9 days clearly would be good for your body.
Coming to wheat like grains… these grains contain gluten. And there are studies showing that the consumption of gluten based foods can reduce the immunity levels to varying degrees among individuals. As we mentioned, its the changing season during this period, so this might help.
Now, coming to the consumption of rock salt. Even Yoga recommends using rock salt, for detox purposes. So, 9 days of primarily using rock salt in your diet might have internal health benefits, like detoxification, etc.
Many people who follow the dietary guidelines of navratri, might stick to these rules, but many tend to bend the rules, and consume large amounts of sugar based foods, lots of fried foods, or even high salt foods, using navratris as an excuse. This kind of a dietary pattern is not exactly going to help you detox, or make your body healthier. In fact, it will make you unhealthier and gain more weight, besides a negative effect on other health factors, like blood pressure, blood glucose levels.
We think it’s great to celebrate, but if you’re going to follow the navratri food pattern, then why not really leverage the health benefits of those 9 days. If you follow it the healthy way, you will of course be healthier, and could be fitter also!
Disclaimer: We are not religious experts, but we do tend to know a little about health, so this is just our perspective on it. This article is not meant to offend anyone’s feelings, sensibilities, etc.Author Information — this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo