Fasting is observed by people for it is believed that, fasting can purify his/her mind, body and soul. Fasting is also observed so that our body is detoxified by all the toxins that are accumulated with our everyday eating habits and other practices.
This navratri fast observed twice a year, comes with many food restrictions to be followed. The same kind of fast is also observed for a day on ekadashi, janmashtami and mahashivaratri. This fasting can have a direct impact on your body and mind. Therefore, it requires an enormous sense of responsibility and a proper nutritional guideline while planning a fast during navratri to keep you energetic and healthy all through the day.
Hence, here are a few foods that are allowed to eat in fast, along with their benefits and overconsumption effects, so that you can plan your fast better, keeping yourself devoid of hunger pangs, lethargy, laziness, nausea or weakness.
SABUDANA – Also called as tapioca pearls are the first food to come to our mind when we think of fasting. This energy loaded food is easy to digest and helps to cool your body temperature. Loaded with Vitamin C, Calcium and minerals, helps to keep you energetic throughput the day. High in potassium, good for regulating blood pressure and cardiovascular system, considered as a good antidote for hypertension. Rich in iron will keep your hemoglobin levels up even during fasts. Will help in healing digestive issues like bloating, constipation, indigestion, flatulence and acid reflux.
BUCKWHEAT (KUTTU) – Not related to wheat family, this is a gluten free grain, so can be consumed by people with gluten intolerance. A food with low GI, also good for people who are diabetic. Will keep your blood sugar levels regulated even in the fasting state. With all the essential amino acids present, a very good source of protein. Its high fiber content will improve digestion and aid in weight loss.
AMARANTH SEEDS (RAJGEERA) – A gluten free seed rich in calcium, will improve bone health. Rich in cysteine will help your hair stay strong and healthy. Slow to digest, will leave you feeling fuller for longer. One of the few food items containing lysine. Lysine helps the body absorb calcium and promotes bone health. Rich in potassium so will keep a check on your blood pressure levels.
BARNYARD MILLET (SAMWAT KE CHAWAL) – A good source of digestible fiber and protein, so losing weight and gain lean muscle can be done together by eating this food. A food low on Glycemic Index, ideal staple on fast for people with diabetes. A good source of B-complex vitamins to keep you away from anemia and weakness.
WATER CHESTNUT (SINGHARA) – A good water content and high in fiber, these are packed with all the essential nutrients. Gluten-free, low in saturate fat and cholesterol free, a good snack as tuber or a staple as flour (aata) during the fast. Low in sodium and high in potassium helps with hypertension. High in riboflavin, helps relieve symptoms of repeated headaches and migraines. Considerable amount of Vitamin E present helps with premenstrual and post menstrual symptoms. Also helps relieve the symptoms of dysentery and diarrhea. A good coolant to the body due to its high water content also helps in alleviating mood and good for sound sleep due to high Vitamin B6 content.
FOX NUTS (MAKHANA) – One of those superior dry fruits, rich in protein, carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, a low calorie snack which you can munch to lose your weight. Low in fat and sodium, a good snack to beat your evening snack hunger pangs. Low in GI, a good snack for diabetics. Good for heart, reduces inflammation, helps with infertility and also flushes out toxins, good for liver and spleen, rich in calcium with so many benefits, the old style makhana has made a comeback as the new popcorns.
SWEET POTATO (SHAKARKANDI) – These high in fiber tubers, will help you lose weight, also help in better digestion due to their magnesium content. Loaded with healthy vitamins, minerals and proteins, these keep you satiated for longer duration. A good immune booster as they are rich in antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin C, along with B complex vitamins. These have a soothing effect on stomach and intestines, hence used for reducing pain ulcers in the stomach. Rich in vitamin C, produces collagen that maintains your skin elasticity. High magnesium content in this acts as a anti-stress mineral and helps you relax better throughout the day. These are low in GI, and do not release glucose immediately in the blood after food, hence can be consumed by diabetics in the moderate level. So, these in the form of baked, roasted or occasionally even fried at home can be your new French fries.
POTATO – Potato has been our regular staple vegetable for ages but being avoided now for a myth of gaining weight with it. Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium (good for people suffering from hypertension). Fat, sodium and cholesterol free. A good source of Vitamin B6 that helps all your carbohydrate and proteins consumed metabolize better. Potatoes look huge as they contain about 70-80% of water. Considering the myth that consuming potatoes make you fat, it depends upon the source of potatoes you opt for. If they are consumed in the form of fries or wedges or patties at fast food joints, then one is bound to gain weight. Knowing the right amount and right combination, potato can also be used as a food to help you lose weight.
PUMPKIN – Apart from being used for Halloween decorations, pumpkin is known for its dense nutrient content rich in vitamins and minerals and low in calories. Rich in beta-carotene which is an antioxidant. Good potassium content so a positive effect on the blood pressure. These are also a good source of fiber helping you with constipation and promoting regular bowels.
DRY FRUITS – Dry fruits are a must eat, whether on fast or not. These energy packed foods come with most unqiue and amazing health benefits. Dry fruits are packed full of energy and calories. These are a good to go snacks and keep you full for longer. A great alternative compared to all the other packed and processed snack foods. Some of the dry fruits are rich in antioxidants and plant polyphenols that help you fight heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, and degenerative diseases of the brain. Some of these contain high amount of beta carotene, vitamin E, niacin, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Prunes, raisins, apricots contain high levels of iron and prevent from anemia. Rich in potassium, vitamin A, fiber, copper, prunes help in maintaining high energy levels. Almonds help in the formation of new blood cells and help improve hemoglobin levels. A tasty and convenient snack, dry fruits and nuts are the ideal substitute for fast food high calorie junk snacks. With natural sugars and fiber, zero cholesterol and fats, and a variety of delectable flavors, these are an easy source of all essential nutrients.
MILK AND ITS PRODUCTS (PANEER, CREAM, GHEE, CURDS) – These are a must on everyday basis when on fast. While observing fasts, we do make some food restrictions that may leave you deprived of nutrition, especially proteins. Hence, milk products like paneer and curds are a very good source of protein that will maintain your muscle health. Ghee can be used to cook your food in, a fat which will help the stubborn fat in your body mobilize. Milk should be an everyday drink to fulfill your calcium requirements, provided you take it from a genuine vendor.
FRUITS – Loaded with fiber, water, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, the seasonal fruits are the best to go snacks or meal on fast any day. Since fruits do contain natural form of sugar, diabetics can consume fruits but do need to keep a watch on the quantity.
SOME USEFUL TIPS:
So, these are the food items along with their benefits that will help you add health and make you stronger and energetic even during fasting.
HAPPY AND HEALTHY FASTING TO ALL!!!