Navratri is a nine-day period during which many Indian women observe a fast by eating only a certain set of foods. Typically, fasting also involves removing certain types of foods from your diet. Whatever the reason for fasting, acidity is a common feature. Now that women are all set to observe the Navratri fast from October 15 to 24 this year, they need to be careful about what they eat to avoid acidity. Read on to find out how to avoid acidity while fasting this Navratri.
What is fasting?
Fasting is the voluntary abstention from food or certain types of food for a specific period, says Ekta Singhwal, dietician, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. It is practiced for various reasons, including religious, spiritual or health purposes. During fasting, people refrain from consuming regular meals and often limit their intake to specific foods or liquids. For example, Navratri involves excluding all types of meat, lentils, alcohol and wheat flour from the diet and eating vegetables like potatoes, carrots and cucumber.
How Fasting Affects Your Health
Fasting can impact your metabolism, gut health and weight. Its effects on health can therefore be both positive and negative. The impact depends on the type and duration of the fast. Short-term fasting can improve insulin sensitivity, promote weight loss and support autophagy (cellular repair), says the expert. However, prolonged or extreme fasting can lead to nutritional deficiencies and muscle loss, among other things.
How to avoid acidity during fasting?
Fasting can sometimes lead to acidity or heartburn due to increased stomach acid production in response to an empty stomach. It can be exacerbated by the consumption of acidic or spicy foods outside of fasting hours. Additionally, irregular eating habits during fasting can disrupt digestion. Here’s what to do:
1. Choose non-acidic foods
Opt for non-acidic foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains during non-fasting hours. This means that fruits like watermelon, papaya and banana can be your friends during fasting.
Drinking a good amount of water can help with weight loss because water can increase satiety and boost your metabolism. Staying hydrated can also help maintain stomach pH and prevent acidity.
3. Avoid spicy foods
Spicy and fried foods taste very good, but try not to eat them during the fast as they can trigger acidity.
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4. Small and frequent meals
Sometimes while fasting, people eat large meals in one sitting, and that’s not really a good idea. Eat small, balanced meals rather than large meals more frequently to avoid overeating and acidity.
Over-the-counter antacids can provide some relief if acidity becomes problematic, but consult a doctor before using them regularly, says Singhwal.
Healthy Ways to Fast During Navratri
Navratri lasts for nine days, so you need to keep certain things in mind while fasting. Here are a few tips:
• Include a variety of foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy and nuts to ensure you get essential nutrients.
• Also drink plenty of water and some herbal teas so as not to become dehydrated during the fast.
• Practice portion control to avoid overeating when breaking the fast.
• Minimize the consumption of fried and high-fat foods.
• Plan balanced meals that provide energy and fill you during fasting hours.
But be sure to consult a doctor before starting any fasting regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions, to make sure it is safe and right for you.