Mahashivratri is a major Hindu festival that is observed by Shiva devotees all throughout the country. Fasting, singing prayers, making sacrifices to the Shiva deity, meditating, practicing yoga, and eating Bhang are some of the ways people observe Mahashivratri. Fasting is an integral aspect of the festival's celebration. The Mahashivratri fast, on the other hand, is not like most Hindu fasts. After performing the Pooja, most fasts allow food and other items to be consumed, and the fast is deemed complete. The Mahashivratri fast, on the other hand, lasts the entire day and night. Fasting, on the other hand, has several health advantages that you should be aware of. Apart from the spiritual idea that fasting on Mahashivratri will wash away one's sins, fasting offers numerous health benefits.
Benefits of fasting
- Fasting is an excellent way to lose weight
By lowering your calorie intake, fasting can help with weight loss. Fasting during the day, on the other hand, is not advised because it might contribute to sugar cravings and fatigue. You can eat healthy things like fresh fruits and vegetables during the Shivratri fast to help you lose weight.
- Fasting assists in reducing bloating
Fasting, particularly the Mahashivratri fast, can aid in the reduction of bloating. During the fast, salt is not taken, which helps to reduce fluid retention and bloating in the body. Reduced bloating can help with indigestion and bowel movements.
- Shivraatri fast is known to be healthy for the heart
On the festival of Shivratri, reducing your salt intake can help you improve your heart health. Because the meals consumed during the Mahashivratri fast do not include salt, they can help to reduce salt-sensitive hypertension.
- Fasting could help in detoxing the body
Fasting of any kind can help you cut down on processed, quick, and junk food consumption. Consuming healthy foods such as fresh fruits, drinks, and healthy snacks such as almonds can help you cleanse your body. Detoxing the body can also assist to minimize free-radical activity in your body, lowering your risk of disease.
- Protects against depression
Fasting may have an antidepressant impact due to its potential to increase the availability of feel-good neurotransmitters including serotonin and endogenous opioids in the brain. Fasting and calorie limitation have been demonstrated to reduce negative emotions such as tension and rage while also increasing feelings of happiness.
- Fasting regularly helps you live longer
Fasting appears to aid cell repair, which could explain why it's linked to a reduced risk of numerous diseases. Fasting may lower the risk of various metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, and greater general health and a lower risk of illness may lead to a longer life.
Precautions to take while fasting
- People with pre-existing health issues, such as low blood pressure, should exercise caution during fasting, since a lack of salt might cause their blood pressure to drop even lower.
- Fasting should be done with caution by diabetics. When combined with diabetic medication, skipping meals can reduce blood sugar levels and produce hypoglycemia.
- Fasting during the entire day and night might lead to exhaustion and fatigue.
- Drink a lot of water and stay hydrated
- Do not fast if you feel unwell
- Keep exercises as mild as possible
Foods you can have during mahashivratri fast
There are no restrictions on potato-based dishes if they do not contain onion, garlic, ginger, or turmeric. During your vrat, you may consume sendha namak or rock salt. You can have potatoes in the form of Aloo kadhi, a simple and calming meal. Aside from aloo tikki, aloo pakora, aloo khichdi, sweet potato chaat, and aloo ka halwa, you can have aloo tikki, aloo pakora, aloo khichdi, sweet potato chaat, and aloo ka halwa.
- Non-cereal dishes
During the vrat, non-cereal foods composed of sabudana called tapioca pearls, buckwheat, or ragi are acceptable. On this auspicious day, devotees all over the world eat sabudana or tapioca khichdi, sabudana pakora, sabudana vada, and kuttu singhare ki puri, among other foods.
- Milk based desserts
Lord Shiva is said to be a big fan of milk. Shiva devotees bring milk to the Shiva lingam every year. During the vrat, milk is also drunk in large quantities. During the vrat, milk and milk-based beverages are popular choices. During fasting, you can eat thandai, badam doodh or almond milk, makhane ki kheer, and sabudana kheer.
- Pakoras and vadas
Try aloo pakora, raw banana vadas, and singhara flour pakoda as snacks. Make sure it doesn't contain any spices that aren't allowed to be consumed during a fast. Experts recommend using cumin or cumin powder, black pepper powder, green cardamom, cinnamon, ajwain, and black peppercorn as spices. You can spice it with a dash of sendha namak.
- Fruits and dry fruits
In Hindi/Sanskrit, the word phal' signifies "fruits." Fruit is an essential component of every puja or fasting, and Sivaratri is no exception. Fruit chaats, fruit salads, and fruit milkshakes are all available. You can eat a wide range of dry fruits in addition to fruits. Almonds, walnuts, dates, cashews, raisins, and dried apricots are all tasty snacks.
During Mahashivratri, devotees worship, chant, meditate, and fast throughout the day and night. The Mahashivratri fasting is practised to strengthen prayers and to atone for sins. Fasting allows you to seek refuge in divine consciousness, that brings peace and comfort to all levels of consciousness.