The month of Shravan or Sawan, the first month of the Hindu calendar, has officially begun. People practice abstinence from meat, alcohol and aggressive behaviour; worship Lord Shiva; and lead a more satvik way of life. Some do it for prosperity and longevity of their loved ones and others do it for their devotion towards Lord Shiva. Therefore, Mondays hold a lot of significance in the month of Sawan, since the day is associated with Lord Shiva. In reverence of the lord, devotees observe fasts by eating a single meal for an entire day on Mondays or on every day of the month of Shravan.
Observers carry out the fast by abstaining from grains and instead having preparations made of yam, sweet potatoes, water chestnuts, amaranth, barnyard millet and dried foods instead once in a day. While the purpose of fasting during the month is purely spiritual, it does have some serendipitous health benefits. Here are the many health benefits of fasting by eating a single meal during Shravan.
Causes Weight Loss
One of the obvious benefits of eating just one meal a day is reduced intake of calories. A single meal may comprise 500-600 calories, which is just a third of what a person requires in an entire day. That’s why fasting during Shravan or Sawan – daily or intermittently – can reduce the person’s total caloric intake, causing weight loss.
Lowers Blood Sugar
Fasting during Shravan or Sawan can benefit those with type 2 diabetes by improving key outcomes such as fasting glucose and body weight in patients. However, if you have diabetes, you should never opt to fast without consulting your doctor first.
Adjusts Body Clock
Fasting during Shravan has the same effects on the body intermittent fasting does. Studies say that it can help regulate your metabolism by adjusting your circadian rhythms or your body clock. What you get is better sleep, eating habits, body temperature, hormonal health and health in return.
Improves Heart Health
Fasting during Shravan or Sawan may also improve your heart health. Experts believe that restricting calories during the upvas may be good for overall cardiovascular health since it can bring down blood pressure, total cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels.
Helps Increase Lifespan
Fasting during the holy month may also have age-reversing benefits. But that’s not all. Studies say that restricting your caloric intake by 30-40 percent may potentially extend the lifespan. Fasting is also the weapon of choice for many celebs who wants to reap its anti-aging benefits.
The purpose of fasting during Shravan is purely for spiritual reasons – to kill the ego and to practise self-restraint. But these unexpected benefits of the upvas shows that may be our ancestors were privy to the health effects of fasting. But to reap the benefits, stick to healthy food. Let Shravan not be an excuse to binge eat and indulge in fried, unhealthy foods. Follow a healthy diet even while you are fasting.