How fasting for long hours affects your health – Know some tips, recipes you can make during Navratri  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
Navratri 2020 are beginning on the 17th of October, and will go on till the 25th of October
People around the country fast during this time
Know how to fast safely to avoid health troubles, and learn how to make a super-easy Navratri recipe
New Delhi: The Navratris are the first of the many festivals that are celebrated in India, towards the end of the year, followed by Durga Pooja, Dushehra, Diwali, and others. The Navratris are considered 9 days of worship and remembering God in everything that we do. They are also considered auspicious days to begin some new venture, buy new assets, or to start living in a new home. They are also the time when some people fast for all 9 days, while others fast for the first and the last.
Losing weight is more of a fascinating dream for everyone around. Fasting is one of the ancient ways of living, and while it was initially done with religious motives, it has now also become a new-age, fitness trend. While fasting may help in weight loss in a short period of time, the risks of not eating, or eating very fewer quantities of food through the day can outweigh the benefits. Speaking to Miss Nisha, Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Gurgaon, we understood the few things you must keep in mind if you are fasting this Navratri.
Is fasting safe?
Fasting for a few days probably won’t hurt most people who are healthy, provided they don’t get dehydrated. But fasting for long periods of time is bad for you. You must understand the many different ways of fasting, and the foods you must eat even while you are fasting, to ensure that your body is not weak, and does not suffer from any short-term, or long-term deficiencies.
Variations in fasting regimes – Many people, many ways of fasting!
Fasting regimes vary, but the basic ones usually begin with a strict regimen allowing only water, juice or milk. Some allow solid food after a few hours, which are also mostly sweet, to ensure that blood sugar levels do not fall too low.
The duration of fast also varies from person to person. Some people practice a ‘nirjala vrat’ for 12 hours, 24 hours or maybe till the sets or they see the moon, depending on the rituals practised in their community, or religion. While these practices are done in the name of devotion, they can be unsafe, as not having food or water for longer durations can affect the body in many ways. The practice does not aid weight loss, but can in fact make the body weaker.
Fasting for a day or two, however, is unlikely to be dangerous for most healthy adults. However, people who are at high risk of health problems due to fasting, which includes pregnant women, lactating women, elderly and those with a chronic disease are advised against this type of fasting.
How fasting for long durations affects your health
Cutting of calories for longer durations may result in weight loss but it does have a negative impact on your health. It can cause health issues, muscle loss, dizziness, dehydration, and directly impact the kidneys, lower blood sugar levels, cause fatigue, weakness, and a weakened immune system.
Instead of long-term fasting or fasting without water or food, one can follow these quick tips to lose weight & improve immunity while fasting during the Navratri season.
Load up on the veggies
Break your fast with some soaked dry nuts
Have small meals
Avoid sugar-loaded meals for breaking your fast
Avoid high-calorie sugary drinks, prefer water, chaas, lemon water instead
Avoid deep-fried meals
Avoid too much of tea or coffee.
A quick recipe you can eat during fasts – Peanut Makhana Bhel
For your fasting days, follow this quick recipe which will aid weight loss as well.
Peanut Makhana Bhel
For Bhel –
One cup roasted foxnuts
2 tablespoons dry roast peanuts
1 tbsp tomato sauce
Rock salt, to taste
1 grated carrot
1 chopped tomato
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
1/2 chopped cucumber
1/2 lemon’s juice
1 chopped green chilli
4 tablespoon chopped coriander
A pinch of cinnamon
For Green chutney –
50 grams coriander leaves
Salt, as per taste
1/4th gooseberry or 2 tablespoons curd
Dry roast makhanas in a non-stick pan till they are light golden brown and crisp.
Grind coriander, green chilli, tomato, and salt together in a grinder. Green chutney is ready.
Dry roast peanut in a non-stick pan till golden brown and crisp. Add freshly chopped coriander.
Take a bowl. Add makhanas, peanuts, carrot, tomato, green chutney, salt, cucumber, pomegranate seeds, green chilli, lemon juice, tomato sauce, coriander leaves and mix well. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on it, and serve.
Please note – In the event of a pregnancy, exercise caution while practicing any fasts, as the needs of the baby are specific and fasting during pregnancy is not recommended. If you are still keen to know how to modify your diet during Navratri, please contact your nutritionist for safe personalized guidance via a video consultation so that you can reach out from the safety and comfort of your homes.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.