Water Fasting has lots of health benefits,
Which if inculcated correctly can provide a drastic improvement in your body functioning.
Water Fasting and the Benefits of it?
Water fasting refers to the type of fasting where one is not allowed to eat anything except water.
During this period one eats no food and drinks only water.
Though there are no rules about how long water fasting should last,
It is generally advised to be anywhere from 24 hours to 3 days.
This is the maximum time that a human body can survive without food.
Most people fast for 24-72 hours ,
And one should not undertake a water fast for longer duration without medical supervision.
There are many methods of fasting which guide to restrict the intake of calories by 30-40%.
But the main distinction of water fasting is that one takes in zero calories and survives only on water.
Water fasting has been there for a long time
And people had undertaken water fast for religious and spiritual reasons.
It has now gained popularity as a means for natural health and wellness.
Studies have also shown that water fasting has many health benefits.
It has shown to reduce the risk of some chronic diseases,
And also stimulate autophagy.
However, it is important to note that water fasting may not suit everyone,
And thus requires monitoring if it is right for you.
Benefits of water fasting include
- weight loss,
- detoxification of the body,
- rejuvenation etc.
The oxygen present in the water helps the digestive system,
And the liver in the elimination of harmful toxins from the body.
Thus, water fasting is also referred to as water cleansing.
Water contains no calories,
Thus, when one switches to water fasting the body undergoes ketosis.
With the initiation of ketosis, the body starts burning more fat.
Some Other Benefits of Water Fasting:
Apart from this water fasting improves the body’s healing process.
It also decreases inflammation,
And helps in the reduction of blood sugar levels
And also supports the collagen of the skin.
Water intake in an optimum amount helps in the proper functioning of the body.
It also helps in keeping the body hydrated
And in flushing out the toxins,
It also supports the functioning of the various body organs.
Thus, our bodies are developed and adapted to avoid dehydration.
Moreover, our bodies can detect when there is a lowering of water level.
The following are the means through,
which bodies detect a need for water:
Thirst: When the water level in the body is low,
the brain signals us to crave for water.
This is referred to as thirst.
Urine output: The kidneys can regulate any excess,
Or lack of water in the body.
Apart from water kidneys also regulate the electrolytes,
Such as sodium or potassium in the body.
The brain sends a hormonal signal to the kidneys depending on the body’s requirement,
which helps in the release of concentrated or dilute urine.
The brain also responds to changes in solute concentration known as plasma osmolarity.
Water Fasting vs. Intermittent Fasting: Which is Better?
Intermittent fasting like water fasting has proven to be a great strategy for weight loss.
But the main difference is that in water fasting one is deprived of the
- and vitamin intake along with the calories.
Apart from this one still has the risk of becoming dehydrated if proper protocol is not followed.
However, while undergoing intermittent fasting,
It is advised that one eats
- raw fruits,
- and non-calorific beverages, etc.
For the days while fasting and during the other day’s normal diet can be taken.
Due to the strict rule of no food during water fasting one can feel
- nausea, etc.
Moreover, Intermittent fasting provides all the benefits of water fasting and carries less risk.
It is thus more convenient for a person to undergo intermittent fasting than water fasting.
Intermittent fasting can be carried out for longer periods as they do not carry the risk of nutrient deficiencies,
And has higher medical benefits than water fasting.
On the other hand, water fasting involves longer fasts lasting for about 24, 48, and 72-hours,
Where one is allowed to drink only water.
Some people under medical supervision water fasts for up to 7 days.
People do these fasts once in a month or several times during the year.
Factors Influencing Water Needs:
The amount of water required by our body is dependent on many factors.
Some of them are listed below:
1. Frequency and Level of Physical Activity-
The amount of water required by the body depends on the kind of activities one is involved in.
A person who is usually engaged in physical activity sweat more.
And thus require more water in comparison to persons to persons, who lead a sedentary life.
2. Environmental Factor-
The environment also has a role to play on the water requirement of the body.
Persons living in a hot humid environment lose more water,
And thus are in constant requirement of water and electrolytes.
3. The Health of the Person–
A person suffering from ailments like diarrhea,
That person is in the requirement of more water than a healthy person.
Thus, your current health is also a determinant of your body’s requirement.
4. Pregnancy or Breast-Feeding:
A breastfeeding mother should take in more fluid to keep oneself hydrated,
And healthy as they tend to lose water profusely.
Why is Water of Great Benefits for our Body?
Water is absorbed by the cells instead of being digested as food.
The time taken by the stomach to absorb water is higher when it’s empty.
Water is essential to keep the body hydrated and healthy.
Hydration of the body maintains the function of the brain,
And other body functions.
Water also helps in detoxification of the body.
Why do People Undertake Water Fasting?
There are several reasons why people undertake water fasting.
Some reasons are listed below:
- Some religions mandate water fast
- For weight loss
- For detox of the body
- Health benefits are known to be associated with water fasting
- Preparation for specific medical procedures
However, the main reason people undergo water fasting is for the improvement of one’s health.
Studies have documented water fasting to be beneficial in
- lowering the risk of cancers,
- heart disease,
- and diabetes.
Autophagy, a process in which the body recycles the cells is promoted during water fasting.
How to Prepare the Body for Amazing benefits of Water Fasting?
For a first-timer, it is recommended that they should fast for at least 1 day to check if there are any adverse effects.
One should also be mentally and physically prepared to fast by eating well before the fast,
This is done by taking in foods that are high in energy and nutrients,
And picking a day that one is not burdened with work which will allow them time for rest,
Maybe on a holiday, avoiding fasting when one is ill and allowing the body time to adjust to fasting.
Exercise should also be avoided during fast,
Our body should be built against fast slowly by reducing the size of meals.
Enough water should be taken during the fast and it should be spread throughout the day.
However, drinking excess of water is harmful and should be avoided.
Moreover, one should not eat an excess of food,
While ending the water fast as this might cause stomach pain.
How Much Water One Should Drink to get the Benefits of Fasting?
Our body is made of 60-70% water.
Thus, it is recommended that one drinks at least 8-10 glasses of water regularly.
This helps in supporting the cleansing process.
When one does not take in enough water the body gets dehydrated
And as a result, becomes more acidic,
Hence, the cells are not hydrated enough to keep the bold alkalized.
This, in turn, slows down the cleansing process.
Thus, it becomes crucial to drink at least 8-10 L of water.
Water Fasting: How to acquire the Maximum Benefits of this Fasting?
In this type of fasting one is allowed only to drink water and nothing else.
The amount of water that one takes during the day is 2-3L depending on the type of fasting plan one follows.
It differs from other forms of fasting as no food or other drinks are allowed,
As in the case of intermittent fasting and one needs to live only on water.
There is no rule book for water fasting.
However, it is recommended that people with an underlying medical condition,
One should fast only under medical supervision.
This includes patients of
- diabetes (both types 1 and 2),
- eating disorders,
- older adults,
- pregnant women,
- and children.
For people who are first-timers,
They should spend time preparing the body to be without food.
One can start by eating smaller portions of food at each meal.
Benefits of Water Fasting, When it is Done For 24-72 Hours:
During the fast one is not supposed to eat or drink anything besides water.
People consume about 2-3 L of water per day.
One should not extend the fast for longer than 72 hours as carries much health risk.
People feel weak and dizzy during a water fast,
And thus should abstain oneself from driving and other heavy works.
What Happens When 1-3 days after Water Fasting:
After completion of water, fast one should abstain from taking a big meal and restrict to a small meal.
A large meal can be taken after one is comfortable with smaller meals.
During this phase, the body is at risk of going into the refeeding syndrome.
This phase usually lasts for a day, but people who fast for 3 or more days require up to 3 days,
Before they are comfortable with eating larger meals.
Benefits Why People prefer Water Fasting:
- Water fasting is easy to follow with no fixed regime, complicated meal plans, and strenuous gym sessions
- Water fasting does not harm your metabolism unlike eating a low-calorie diet,
- Where the body reduces its metabolism to meet the food intake.
- Studies have shown that water fasting resets one’s immune system.
Who Should Abstain from the Water Fasting?
Water fasting should be avoided by aged people, children (<18) and persons with the following conditions:
- Have an eating disorder, are underweight, are pregnant or breast-feeding,
- Heart problems have type 1 diabetes,
- Uncontrolled migraines are undergoing a blood transfusion,
- are taking specific medication should seek the advice of a doctor
How to obtain Maximum Benefits of Water Fasting?
Water fast is free to do and maybe utilized to lose weight, focus on one’s inner spiritual life,
And also helps in flushing out toxins from the body.
The following list gives details of how to perform water fasts.
- You should abstain from fasting if suffering from any medical conditions.
- As this may worsen one’s health.
- You should select the length of time for a water fast.
- Usually, you should start with a 1 day to 3-days, fast.
- It is also suggested that you limit the number of fasting days to 3 if done without medical supervision.
- It is safer and more effective if one fast for short periods periodically rather than undergoing long fasts.
- Mental preparation for fast is important.
- You should read books, articles, etc. by reputed authors on the subject before fasting.
- This will give an idea of what to expect after fasting.
- You should start doing fasting in a stepwise manner rather than skipping everything in a day.
- You can start by eliminating processed food and caffeine,
- From the diet at least 2-3 days before the fast and take in fruits and vegetables.
- Reducing the meal size for several weeks is also helpful.
- These small steps will prepare your body for the challenges ahead.
Weekly Plan to Obtain Benefits of Water Fasting:
Weekly plan of preparation can also be followed:
First Week: Don’t eat breakfast
Second Week: Skip both breakfast and lunch
Third Week: Skip breakfast and lunch and decrease your portion for dinner
Fourth Week: Begin your water fast
- You should drink 9-13 cups of water regularly,
- However, it is recommended that you spread the water to be consumed throughout the day
- If you have hunger pangs during the day you should lie down,
- And rest after drinking 1-2 glasses of water.
- You can distract yourself by engaging in other activities.
- You should break a water fast gradually by first taking in orange or lemon juice.
- After taking in the juice one should take in easily digestible food,
- Finally, you should take in the ones that are hard to digest.
What are the Benefits of Water Fasting?
1. Weight Loss and Body Composition:
After one is done with 24-hour water fast,
Healthy adults are reported to have experienced a decrease in weight,
This remains maintained for up to 48-hour post-fast.
With longer fasts, larger changes in body mass are seen.
A study conducted in 46 obese participants who had undergone 14-day water fast ,
Where the average weight loss was found to be 7.6 kilograms.
However, in the case of 24 – 48-hour fasts,
Most of the weight you lose will be the result of shedding a significant amount of water weight,
And a minor loss in muscle glycogen, along with smaller amounts of muscle and fat.
2. Benefit for People with Risk Factor:
People with the risk factor of certain diseases like
- heart disease,
- high blood pressure,
- high cholesterol,
- And being over-weight
They can benefit from short term fasting.
When a body is deprived of carbohydrates it utilizes body fat causing weight loss.
3. Promotes Autophagy:
Several studies on humans showed that water fasting promotes autophagy.
Autophagy, in turn, helps protect against
- cancer (autophagy prevents damaged parts of the cells from accumulating, which is a risk factor for cancer),
- and heart diseases.
However, human studies on water fasting are limited though animal,
Studies found that water fasting promotes autophagy.
4. Lowers Blood Pressure:
Studies have shown that longer water fasts help people in lowering high blood pressure.
A study was conducted in which a group of 68 people with high blood pressure,
These were kept underwater fast for 14 days under medical supervision.
At the end of the study, it was found that blood pressure in 82% of people,
This had reduced and was at normal levels.
The average blood pressure drop was 20 mmHg for systolic and 7mmHg for diastolic.
Another study with 174 people with high blood pressure was allowed to fast for 10-11 days under supervision.
At the end of the study, 90% of people had a blood pressure level at 140/90mmHg.
However, experiments to decode the link between short term water fasts ranging between 24-72 hrs are lacking.
5. Improves insulin and Leptin Sensitivity:
Insulin and leptin are hormones that affect the body’s metabolism.
Insulin helps in the transport of glucose from the bloodstream into the cells,
And leptin helps the body feel full.
Studies have shown the benefits of water fasting that it can make the body sensitive to leptin and insulin.
With increased sensitivity, the hormones become more effective.
Thus, insulin becomes more efficient in reducing the blood sugar levels,
And leptin becomes more efficient in producing effective hunger signals.
6. Lowers Risk of Diseases:
Some of the benefits of Water fasting is that,
It may lower the risk of some of the common diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.
A study involving 30 study participants who followed water fast for 24 hours,
Reported significantly low levels of cholesterol and triglycerides,
These are important factors for heart disease.
Studies on animals also suggest that water fasting may protect the heart against damage caused due to free radicals.
Free radicals damage parts of cells as these are unstable molecules.
Studies on animals have also shown that water fasting benefits in the suppression of genes responsible for cancer.
7. Reduces Oxidative Stress:
Oxidative stress is referred to as the process through which highly-reactive molecules produced during metabolism in our body,
Hence, can cause damage to cells and DNA.
This is the result of an imbalance between pro-oxidants,
And antioxidants along with a highly activated immune system.
Oxidative stress can worsen any medical condition like
- heart disease,
- chronic kidney disease,
- neurodegenerative disease,
- and cancer.
Studies have shown that 11-day water fasting,
Significantly benefits of reducing oxidative stress markers in adults.
It is accompanied by other benefits including enhanced kidney function.
There are also studies that claim that autoimmune diseases,
When characterized by risk factors like chronic inflammation,
Hence, can be completely resolved with 7 – 24 days of water fasting.
The reason behind the reduction of oxidative stress,
This may increase the level of ketone bodies like Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB),
However, during fasting and this provides significant protection against oxidative stress.
This is possible by increased expression of genes related to protective stress responses and antioxidant pathways.
8. Better Capacity to Burn Fat:
After prolonged water fasting, the body acquires the ability of metabolic flexibility.
The term metabolic flexibility means one can switch easily between oxidizing glucose,
And fat based on the availability and nutritional requirement.
For example, after taking in a carbohydrate-rich meal one can utilize the energy produced directly.
But when under fasting the body can oxidize fat.
Thus, while fasting the body oxidizes the fatty acids,
Which in turn helps in reducing the blood glucose levels.
Drawbacks of Water Fasting:
1. May cause Nutrient Deficiencies:
Water fasting may cause nutrient deficiencies.
While limiting the calorie intake during fasting,
One also limits the intake of essential
- vitamins and minerals,
- fatty acids,
- amino acids,
- And electrolytes
which are essential for the proper functioning of the body.
Even during water fast one has the risk of having water fasting,
As for most people, 20% of the daily water requirements are met from the food one eats.
3. Unstable Blood Pressure:
Hypotension which is low blood pressure is often accompanied by water fasting.
Another effect is orthostatic hypotension which causes dizziness and lightheadedness.
Hyponatremia is the condition when the water,
And salt lost during sweating is replaced by water only.
Thus, even though there are many benefits of the workout,
One should not exercise during a water fasting as it will result in sweating,
And one will not be able to able to take food to fill in the nutrients.
5. Loss of Focus:
One may suffer from dizziness, fatigue,
And brain fog while undergoing a water fast.
When one restricts the calorie intake the body struggles to perform at its optimum level,
And thus it becomes difficult to concentrate on a task.
Water Fasting has many Benefits,
But is also responsible for symptoms of mild headaches.
Like the food, we take in also contributes to the water intake.
Thus, surviving on just water leaves us dehydrated,
- low blood pressure,
- and low productivity.
To avoid dehydration one is recommended to drink more than usual.
6. Binge Eating:
Water fasting may often lead to binge eating once the fasting is done.
It can also lead to obsessive thoughts about food.
7. Water Fasting may Cause Complications in some Medical Conditions:
People with an underlying medical condition like gout;
Where water fasting may increase uric acid production,
Which is one of the major risk factor for gout attacks.
Water fasting has many benefits,
But may also increase the risk of adverse side effects of type 1and type 2 diabetes.
Fasting can also cause eating disorders in teenagers which include bulimia.
Can Water Fasting Help in the Detox of your Body Because of its Amazing Benefits?
We live in a world where we are regularly exposed to a different type of toxins ,
Some are man-made and some are natural.
- and nitrogen dioxide,
Which are present in the atmosphere.
We usually inhale or ingest these substances into our bodies.
Water also contains many dangerous contaminants like
- and cyanide.
The modern world makes us face these toxins regularly,
And without a proper way to dispose of them,
They may harm our body.
However, our body has a complex system of eliminating the waste that we take in.
This includes the skin, which is the first line of defense,
And also the liver transforms the harmful chemicals in the body into harmless ones.
These are then excreted through
- and feces.
The kidneys help the body remove toxins,
And waste products by eliminating the excess water along with urea and electrolytes.
Final Conclusion on the Benefits of Water Fasting:
It is often claimed that water fasting either helps in running these processes smoothly,
And thus helps in removing toxins from the body.
However, there is no absolute proof that surviving on just water for a few days,
This would help remove toxins from your body.
But it will surely deplete the nutrients of your body,
And may even be dangerous for your liver and kidney.
As the liver and kidney require vitamin B12 along with other nutrients to function properly.
Thus it is recommended that instead,
Some benefits of water fasting one can prepare the body for fighting against toxins,
With the intake of a healthy diet and making exercise a habit,
Along with limiting one’s consumption toxins like cigarette and alcohol.
Due to the above-mentioned disadvantages of water fasting,
It is usually recommended to follow the diet under medical supervision.
One can also try a safer method of fasting like intermittent fasting,
Or having a check on the intake of calories.
There are many benefits of water fasting and very less drawbacks.
In intermittent fasting people usually take a few calories for a certain amount of time,
And then take in the usual amount of food.
In 5:2 intermittent fasting plan one eats a regular diet for 5 days,
However, it restricts the amount of calorie intake during the other 2 days.
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