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Shravan: Scientific Reason Why People Should Avoid Eating Non-Vegetarian Food This Month

The holy month of Shravan has begun and many people have started their rituals for the worship of Lord Shiva, along with abstaining from non-vegetarian foods, which are believed to be prohibited as per the religious beliefs.

There might be many religious reasons for cutting down on non-veg foods during the season of rain, but there are equally scientific reasons why the consumption of non-veg food items is avoided and why fasting is also an important and healthy part of the season.

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The scientific reasons why people should avoid eating non-veg during Shravan month will surely amaze you. Take a look.

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Scientific Reasons To Avoid Eating Non-Vegetarian Foods During Shravan

1. Increased melatonin and reduced serotonin levels

During the monsoon season, the days get shorter and nights get longer by hours. [1] This increases the levels of melatonin hormones and reduces serotonin levels in the body. Melatonin is a hormone secreted in response to darkness while serotonin is a hormone secreted in response to daylight or sunshine or light environment and is high during the daytime. [2]

As the nights get longer in monsoon, the melatonin levels increase and serotonin decreases. Though melatonin is an important part of the gastrointestinal mucosa, its increased levels may disturb the stomach and cause problems in digestion. Also, as non-veg foods take longer for digestion, it is not suggested during the season, as high levels of melatonin along with the fats of non-veg may harm the overall gastrointestinal system.

2. Poor digestive fire

According to Ayurveda, the digestive fire or ‘Agni' or say digestive enzymes of our body gets disturbed and weak due to the climatic conditions of the rainy season which involves humidity, frequent changes in temperature and rainfall. [3]

Non-vegetarian foods like meats and fish take around two days for complete digestion due to the presence of high fibre and proteins in them. As the digestive fire during the season is already disturbed, animal meats can worsen the condition and cause problems like diarrhoea and vomiting.

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3. Risk of infection

The average temperature during the monsoon is above 64 degree-Fahrenheit. A study says that the best temperature for the growth and multiplication of bacteria is between 40 °F and 140 °F, followed by double of its count within 20 minutes. [4]

As monsoon is the perfect breeding season for many types of microbes, the risk of infection through food and water increases. Also, the windy atmosphere of the monsoon allows many microbes to travel to long places, thus increasing the risk of infection again. Non-vegetarian foods have more chances to get infected during the season and thus, should be avoided. [5]

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4. Immune system gets weak

According to a study, the human immune system functions differently in different seasons due to variations in melatonin, vitamin D levels and pathogen infectivity. During monsoon, the multiplication of microbes get high, followed by a disturbance in the digestive system which is directly related to immune health, and lower levels of vitamin D due to less sunlight. [6]

As the immune system is continuously exposed to infectious agents during the month, they may get weak and a lower amount of vitamin D, which is an antioxidant, adds to it. This is why, if we eat non-veg foods during this time of the month, the poor gut flora and immune system may not be able to fight the infections present in meats and promote quicker digestion, thus causing us problems.

5. Slower metabolism

As aforementioned, melatonin in the body increases during the rainy season causing sleep problems, which in turn, contributes to slowing down the metabolism of the body. When the metabolism of the body gets slow, the process of digestion that works on this concept, also gets slow and may not be able to process non-veg items quickly which are high in fats and proteins. [7]

When such foods stay in the digestive tract for longer periods, it gives rise to many bacteria in the system, thus hampering our health and immunity.

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6. Makes one lethargic

Non-vegetarian food takes much time to digest, which can make us tired and sluggish. The high fibre, fats and complex carbs in meats do not allow them to pass easily through the digestive tract, and causes the body to drain extra energy for its movement and digestion in the intestines. [8]

Also, as the microbes in meat products increase during the rain, causing the body to use more energy to fight them, that tends to trigger lethargy and make us sluggish. This is why it is suggested to eat easily digestible and light foods that can help keep you active and agile.

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Other Less Scientific Reasons

1. Risk of mental health problems affecting digestive health

Bad weather during the rainy season may trigger negative emotions and cause mood changes. This could be due to the lower levels of serotonin. This neurotransmitter, also known as a happy hormone, helps in stabilising the mood, happiness and wellbeing of a person. [10]

When it gets low, people might get sad and depressed which could directly affect their digestive health and thus, cause problems with the digestion of high-fat foods like animal meats.

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Other Foods To Avoid

Apart from non-vegetarian foods during the month of Shravan, one must also avoid:

  • Chilled or cold drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Milk (buttermilk, however, is good)
  • Canned or processed foods
  • Oily foods
  • To Conclude

    The aforementioned points will help you understand why non-vegetarian foods are restricted during Shravan. To stay fit and healthy, follow the tradition of avoiding non-vegetarian foods.