Navratri, a festival of dance, devotion, and vibrant colours, marks one of the most auspicious times in the Indian calendar. It is not just a festival in India but a celebration of faith, community, and tradition. Spanning nine days, the festival is marked by vibrant dances, colourful dresses, and the collective reverence of Goddess Durga. Amid the joyous celebrations, fasting remains a distinct tradition.
During the Navratri celebration, some people choose to fast while others embrace the Sattvik/pure vegetarian diet. In this landscape of dietary restraint, almonds stand out not just as a tasty inclusion but also as a nutritional powerhouse. One of the remarkable traits of almonds is its satiating properties, ensuring that those who consume them feel full and satisfied.
Almonds may look tiny, but they have a lot to offer in terms of nutritional value. Boasting a profile of 15 nutrients, including vitamin E, dietary fiber, protein, riboflavin, manganese, and folate, almonds offer more than just satiety. Several scientific studies have further illuminated the multifaceted benefits of regular almond consumption. From promoting heart health and aiding diabetes management to enhancing skin health, and assisting in weight management, almonds have proven their mettle time and again.
Emphasizing on the importance of healthy snacking during fasting in Navratri, Bollywood Celebrity and Actress, Soha Ali Khan said, "During the auspicious period of Navratri fasting, the importance of strategic snacking cannot be overstated. Smart snacking comes into play when there are longer gaps between meals, offering a multitude of benefits to your physical well-being. As I focus on mindful snacking, almonds offer a delightful and nutritious addition to the diet. Incorporating almonds into my meals is like adding a touch of love and health to every bite, reminding me to savor the moment and nourish my body and soul."
Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant said, "While Navratri festival can promote balanced eating, it's essential to avoid overindulging in fried or sugary foods that are sometimes consumed during this period. Opt for healthier options like boiled sweet potatoes, steamed sprouts, fruits, and nuts. Incorporating almonds into your Navratri diet not only adds a delightful crunch but also provides essential nutrients, reminding us that nourishing our bodies is important during this auspicious time too. Furthermore, studies have shown that almonds can aid in diabetes management, support weight control, and contribute to heart health. Research findings indicate that incorporating almonds into a balanced diet may lead to reduced total and LDL cholesterol levels, as well as a decrease in inflammation, which can otherwise be detrimental to heart health."
Further commenting on the versatility of almonds, Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head – Dietetics, Max Healthcare – Delhi said, "Healthy eating during festivals ensures that you get a balanced intake of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, which are crucial for bodily functions and well-being. Staying hydrated and consuming a balanced diet within the fasting guidelines is essential for maintaining good health during this period. With their impressive combination of protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, almonds offer a holistic snacking experience that caters to both flavor and nutrition. Almonds are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways in recipes and can be enjoyed with family and friends during fasting. You can eat them raw, roasted, lightly salted, or use almond flour or almond butter in recipes to create a wide range of dishes."
MBBS & Nutritionist, Dr. Rohini Patil, said, "Sweets and snacks are an intrinsic part of Navratri just like any other festival. A lot of us tend to have cravings and indulge in unhealthy foods. A prudent approach to managing this temptation is to switch to healthier options such as dried fruits or nuts like almonds, which are excellent snack choices. Substituting highly processed snacks with dry, roasted, or lightly salted almond variations not only satisfies our taste buds during the festivities but also contributes to our well-being. These tiny wonders are packed with essential nutrients making a positive impact on your overall health."
Speaking about keeping your energy levels high during festivities, Fitness Expert and Celebrity Master Instructor, Yasmin Karachiwala said, "Sweets and snacks hold a special place during Navratri, much like any other festival. It's common for many of us to experience cravings and indulge in less healthy options. A wise strategy to navigate these temptations is to make a switch towards healthier alternatives, such as dried fruits or nuts like almonds. Opting for dry, roasted, or lightly salted almond variations not only satisfies our taste buds during the festive season but also promotes our well-being. These small wonders are bursting with essential nutrients, which can significantly enhance our overall health."
Dr. Madhumitha Krishnan, Ayurveda Expert said, "Maintaining good health and practicing mindful eating is always the best way to celebrate festivals. Especially during Navratri as it involves fasting, which is abstaining from grains, lentils, and non-vegetarian food. Some people also observe strict diet and eat only sattvic food during the festival. Sattvic diet includes fresh fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, grains, pulses, lentils, and dairy products. These foods provide sustained energy, maintain stable blood sugar levels, and reduce fatigue. Almonds are indeed considered a valuable part of a Sattvic diet due to their numerous health benefits and purity according to Ayurvedic principles. Soaked or raw almond consumption offers a host of long-term health benefits. Different studies from across the world have found that almonds promote gut and heart health, support weight management, and assist in diabetes management. Additionally, almonds are known to enhance skin health, providing a radiant glow that adds to the festive charm."