Tips to stay healthy during 9 days of Navratri
Navratri Vrat Rules: Benefits and Significance of the Nine-Day Ritual
Navratri is one of the most important Hindu festivals. The festival that spans nine nights is a celebration of good over evil. Furthermore, it also marks a shift in the season. Many devotees observe a fast during Navratri to invoke the blessings of Goddess Durga for themselves and their families. According to Ayurveda, fasting is also recommended to flesh out all the toxins from your body and get your body ready for the new season.
There are a lot of variations in which you can observe a fast during Navratri. You can either fast for nine days or choose to observe a fast for the first two or last two days.
What is Navratri Fast?
Navratri fast is a Hindu religious observance that involves abstaining from certain foods and activities during the nine-day Navratri festival which takes place typically in the months of March/April and September/October.
Fasting during Navratri is believed to purify the body and mind, and increase spiritual awareness. It is also seen as a way to show devotion to the goddess Durga, who is the central figure of the Navratri festival.
History of Navratri Fasting
The history of Navratri fasting dates back to ancient times and has its roots in Hindu mythology. According to Hindu scriptures, the festival of Navratri is celebrated to honour the goddess Durga and her victory over the demon Mahishasura. The festival is believed to mark the time when Durga fought against Mahishasura for nine days and ultimately defeated him on the tenth day, known as Vijayadashami.
In addition to Navratri fast, this time is also marked by other rituals and celebrations, including the performance of puja (prayer), the chanting of mantras, and the playing of traditional music and dance.
Navratri Fasting Rules
Navratri fasting is not an easy one. There are various Navratri fasting rules that one has to follow. If you are wondering how to fast for Navratri, the following details will help you.
How many types of Navratri are there in a year?
Navratri is celebrated four times a year. However, the Chaitra and Sharad Navratris are the most popular ones.
- Chaitra Navratri -observed in the month of March.
- Sharad Navratri is observed in the month of October.
- Magha Gupt Navratri was observed in the month of January.
- Ashadha Gupt Navratri was observed in the month of June.
Navratri 2023 Dates
- Chaitra Navratri starts on 22 March and ends on 30 March 2023.
- Sharad Navratri begins on 15 October and ends on 23 October 2023.
Types of Navratri fasting
There are various ways of doing a Navratri fast.
- Water fasting: The most rigorous form of Navratri fast is water fasting where people only consume water for nine days.
- Fruit fasting: In this type of fast, only fruits are consumed, and other foods are avoided.
- Satvik food fasting: In this type of fast, only Satvik foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and dairy products, are consumed. Spices, meat, and other foods that are considered to be Rajasic or Tamasic are avoided.
- Vrat ka khana fasting: Here Navratri food is made with specific ingredients and spices according to Navratri Vrat rules.
- Phalahari fasting: In this type of Navratri vrat, only fruits, nuts, and certain grains such as amaranth, buckwheat, singhare ka atta, and sama ke chawal are consumed.
Navratri Vrat Fasting Rules
According to Navratri vrat rules, one needs to abstain from different types of foods and follow only specific food habits during these 9 days of fasting. To promote healthy fasting it is recommended to follow Navratri upvas fasting rules.
These rules and rituals help in cleansing the body and mind.
- Abstain from Non-Vegetarian Food: It is essential to avoid non-vegetarian food as it is believed that meat attracts negative energy. Instead, you can opt for dairy products, fruits, and vegetables.
- Avoid Onion and Garlic: They are considered to be tamasic foods that can generate negative energy in the body.
- No Alcohol or Cigarettes: Navratri fasting rules state complete abstinence from alcohol and tobacco as they can disrupt the spiritual aspect of the Navratri fast.
- Limited Salt: Excess salt intake leads to water retention and bloating. It is recommended to limit salt and use sendha namak or Himalayan Pink Salt for fasting during Navratri.
- Avoid Grains: Grains such as wheat, rice, and lentils are not consumed during Navratri fasting.
- Fasting on Specific Days: Navratri fasting is observed for nine days. However, some people choose to fast only on specific days. For instance, some people fast on the first and the last day of Navratri, while others fast on all nine days.
Health Benefits of Fasting
There are a lot of benefits of fasting during Navratri.
1. It resets your metabolism
All the permitted foods to eat during fasting help you in tuning your body’s metabolism to adjust to climatic change. This facilitates better immunity and enhanced energy levels.
2. It helps in boosting heart health
Since Navratri fasts are all about selective and timely eating, it helps in safeguarding your heart health and working on high cholesterol levels.
3. It enables you to detoxify your body
By incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables into your Navratri diet, you can effectively detoxify your body and facilitate overall good health.
Navratri Vrat Diet – Foods that are allowed in Navratri Fast
Eat these kinds of Foods during your Navratri Fast.
- Fruits: Fruits are an essential part of the Navratri vrat diet. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, which are essential for the body. You can have fruits such as bananas, apples, pomegranates, papayas, and kiwis.
- Vegetables: Vegetables are a great source of nutrients and antioxidants. You can have vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and bottled gourd during Navratri fasting.
- Dairy Products: Dairy products such as ghee, milk, yoghurt, and cottage cheese are excellent sources of protein and calcium. You can consume them in moderation during Navratri.
- Buckwheat Flour: Buckwheat flour or kuttu ka atta is a popular ingredient used during Navratri fasting. It is gluten-free and rich in fibre and protein. You can use it to make chapatis or pancakes.
- Water Chestnut Flour: Water chestnut flour or singhara ka atta is also a popular ingredient used during Navratri fasting. It is gluten-free and rich in fibre and minerals. You can use it to make puris or parathas.
- Amaranth Flour: Amaranth flour or rajgira ka atta is another popular ingredient used during Navratri fasting. It is rich in protein, fibre, and minerals. You can use it to make chapatis or porridge.
- Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein, healthy fats, and fibre. You can have nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews.
How to do Navratri Fasting
Here are a few tips to follow for pre-fast preps.
- Take a holy bath early in the morning
- Avoid clipping your nails, getting a haircut or shaving your beard during the 9 days.
- Wear clean fresh clothes.
- Keep the ingredients according to Navratri vrat rules handy at home.
After the 9 days of Navratri Vrat ensure you are taking healthy proteins to get back to a normal diet. Include these foods post-Navratri.
- Soy protein food – healthy plant-based protein
- Beetroot Juice – reduces fatigue
- Stay hydrated – water, buttermilk, fresh fruit juice, coconut water
- Focus on micronutrients – eat vegetables and fruits
Do’s and don'ts of Navratri Fasting (Tips to stay healthy in fasting)
Here are some tips on healthy fasting during Navratri.
- Don’t indulge in fried snacks – opt for baked or roasted
- Avoid starving for long periods – keep yourself hydrated and eat fruits
- Include fibre-rich foods in your Navratri food
- Eat plant-based proteins to keep your energy high
- Instead of sugar use jaggery or honey for a sweet indulgence
- Avoid over-eating
Some Healthy Fasting Foods for Navratri
For Navratri fasting days you can try these nutritious foods for healthy fasting. All of the below-mentioned ingredients are according to Navratri upvas fasting rules.
Instead of regular Kuttu Puris – which is deep fried – try the Kuttu dosa made from kuttu ka atta or Buckwheat flour. Make a dosa batter using kuttu ka atta and use a sweet potato filling to make it healthy and nutritious. You can serve it with coconut chutney, sonth chutney or mint chutney.
Nutritional benefits of Kutta Atta / Buckwheat Flour:
Buckwheat flour, also known as kuttu atta, is a type of flour that doesn't contain gluten, cholesterol, or saturated fats. It's high in both fibre and protein, as well as rich in essential nutrients such as iodine, iron, magnesium, and vitamins B1 and B6..
Air-fried Singhare ka Samosa
Samosa made from singhare ka atta or water chestnut flour is a popular snack during Navratri fast. However, instead of a deep-fried samosa enjoy an air-fried low-calorie samosa. You can serve them with sonth chutney or mint chutney.
Nutritional benefits of Singhare ka Atta / Water Chestnut Flour:
Singhare ka atta or water chestnut flour is a powerhouse of antioxidants and minerals. Water chestnut flour is loaded with vitamin B6, potassium, copper, iodine and manganese.
Another popular Navratri fasting food is the sabudana khichdi. Sabudana is known by different names like sago or tapioca pearls. People add potatoes and peanuts to make this khichdi tasty. You can also add other vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes to make this Navratri food even healthier.
Nutritional benefits of Sabudana /Tapioca pearls / Sago:
Sabudana is rich in calories for instant energy and is high in fibre that facilitates smooth digestion.
Makhanas or foxnuts are a healthier snacking option when it comes to evening hunger pangs. You can have roasted makhanas in your snack time or make the delicious makhana kheer to satisfy your sweet tooth during Navratri. Instead of sugar, you can opt for jaggery and enrich the kheer with nuts like cashew, almond or pistachio.
Nutritional benefits of Makhana / Foxnuts:
Makhana or foxnuts are rich in proteins and fibre. They are low in fat and a good source of calcium.
Navratri is a special time for Indians and it is celebrated in almost every household. It is a time to seek blessings from the goddess and lead a pure life for 9 days. When you follow Navratri vrat rules your healthy fasting journey becomes easier. I Say Organic understand your need for healthy superfoods that is why we have brought organic products that are free of preservatives. When you want something wholesome and organic, think I Say Organic.
Healthy Foods to Eat during Navratri
There are a number of healthy foods to eat during fasting that you can prepare for yourself and your family.
1. Fox Nuts /Makhanas
Fox nuts or Lotus seeds have been given the status of superfoods. (1) Makhanas are suitable for promoting healthy weight loss and are permitted for consumption during Navratri fasting.
Fruits have impressive fibre and water content. They help you in feeling full and keep untimely hunger pangs at bay.
Amaranth atta can be used to make chapatis and dosas during Navratri. You can even buy Amaranth minibars (cardamom) in delicious flavours from I Say Organic as the perfect Navratri snack.
4. Nuts / Dry Fruits
Nuts are a great option to indulge your taste buds while you are fasting. Nuts are nutritious and packed with all the necessary nutrients to keep you charged throughout the day.
5. Healthy flour
Since wheat and rice cannot be consumed during Navratri, people usually opt for different flour options to cook. Water chestnut flour (singhare ka atta), Amaranth flour, and Kuttu ka atta are some of the preferred flour options during Navratri.
Tips & Ways to Stay Healthy & Fit during Navratri
If you are looking for tips to stay healthy during Navratri, then we suggest that you read along.
1. Be careful of your food choices
If you are fasting during Navratri, it is advisable to opt for food options that are wholesome and healthy. Try opting for flour such as Kuttu ka Atta which is full of essential nutrients and impressive fibre content.
2. Stay hydrated
It is advisable to make a categorical effort to stay hydrated throughout the day so that you can replenish the ideal levels of hydration in your body. This will also help you in feeling fresh and full.
3. Make fruits and vegetables a part of your diet
Try incorporating more fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, fruit smoothies and other fresh and healthy options in your Navratri diet plan.
4. Control your food portion size
While having your Navratri meal, ensure that you don't go overboard in terms of your food portion size. Normally, when a person is fasting, they tend to want more during the stipulated interval. It is advisable to make a conscious effort not to overeat.
5. Stay away from fried food
Opt for nourishing food options instead of deep-fried recipes that will make you pile on extra pounds.
6. Keep a check on your potato intake
Potatoes are a quintessential Navratri food option. Since it is a very versatile ingredient, it can be cooked in a number of ways. Having said that, they are also high in calories, and one should be careful about their intake throughout the day.
7. Take proper rest
Getting adequate sleep and rest intervals throughout the day will help you stay fit during the Navratri festivities.
8. Stay active
It is advisable to go for regular walks to keep your body active and agile during the Navratri season.
9. Snack on nuts instead of packaged or fried snacks
Look for smarter and healthier ways to satiate your taste buds during Navratri. For example, you can have fox nuts instead of fried snacks to take care of your hunger pangs.
10. Control your sugar intake
If you are a fan of paneer malpua or sabudana kheer and are constantly looking for ways to make them a part of your Navratri meal, then you are advised to control your sugar intake. Too many desserts will make you heavier and unhealthy. Always remember that moderation is the key to health and happiness.
11. Plan your meals in advance
It is always a good idea to plan your meals in advance so that you don’t end up indulging in heavy-duty or unhealthy eating.
FAQs on Healthy Navratri Fasting
Q1: Can we eat spices during Navratri?
Spices such as Hing, garam masala, turmeric, coriander powder etc., are prohibited while preparing Navratri dishes. Having said that, you can use spices like nutmeg, green cardamom, black pepper etc.
Q2: If I observe a fast during Navratri, will I lose weight?
You won't lose unnecessary weight due to Navratri fasting if you eat well and choose your food options wisely. It's all about being articulate about your food choices and avoiding extra fried or sugary food.
Q3: How to keep yourself feeling full while fasting?
Stay hydrated and consume protein in the form of nuts, paneer, curd etc., to stay healthy and feel full while observing your Navratri fast. There are plenty of options for you to choose from when it comes to Navratri food items and therefore finding something delicious and healthy shouldn't be a problem.
Q4: Can we consume tea or coffee during Navratri fast?
Yes, you can consume tea and coffee during Navratri fast. It is advisable to opt for homemade tea and coffee instead of packaged ones.
Q5: Can I consume Navratri food if I am not fasting?
Yes, anyone can consume Navratri food. In fact, it is a highly preferred option for many people because of its fantastic health benefits and outstanding taste.
Q6: Can I consume dairy products during Navratri Vrat?
Navratri upvas fasting rules allow the consumption of dairy products like ghee, yoghurt, buttermilk, paneer etc.
Q7: What are some healthy snack options for Navratri Vrat?
Some of the healthy snacks for fasting during Navratri are Roasted Makhanas, Peanut Chikkis, Til Chikkis, and Amarath Laddu.
Q8: How can I ensure that I am getting all the necessary nutrients during Navratri Vrat?
The best way to ensure to get the necessary nutrients is to eat healthy fasting food.
- Eat Fruits
- Avoid seed-based oil, including ghee
- Instead of fried snacks opt for baked or roasted snacks
- Stay hydrated with water, buttermilk, and coconut water
- Opt for gluten-free grains like Singhara Atta and millet