Water is life. It has amazing impacts on your body, and its shortfall can be extremely problematic for you. Hydration is the key to living a healthy life and it ensures the proper working of every vital organ. Your body’s response is directly proportional to the way you drink water. Either you go on a regular hydration routine or do water fasting; your body reacts differently towards it.
In this article, we are going to discuss water fasting, its tips, benefits, and side effects as well.
What is water fasting?
Water fasting is a type of fast in which you do not consume (eat or drink) anything else than water. Herbal teas and electrolyte water are needed for your body to maintain internal balance. A majority of people practice it for a day while some practice it for more than a day and continuing it for 2-3 days. Water fasting enthusiasts extend their fast up to 5 days. We recommend that you start slow, and if it suits you and your body can tolerate water fasting, then you can increase the duration.
Fasting is an old way of restricting food intake for a specified time. It results in weight loss, immunity boost, relaxing treatment for your stomach and liver. Despite the religious obligations of many people, it is an excellent way to control your food intake and test your patience.
Tips for Water Fasting
We have researched on water fasting and then concluded that the following tips would help you get the most out of water fasting and also help you reduce the side effects of water fasting.
Start Slow – DO NOT do water fasting for more than 24 hours for the first time. Your body is not accustomed to giving up on your diet at once for more than 24 hours. Some people may suggest that you can fast for 36-48 hours for the first time, but it is unwise to do such a thing as your body will react in a negative way to the food shortage, and you can suffer from side effects.
Get Electrolytes and Minerals – While you are water fasting, make sure you get the required amount of electrolytes and minerals in your water. Although water has minerals in it, as you are not eating anything else, you will need more. Electrolyte water and mineral drops are readily available in grocery stores and online.
Calorie Free Teas – It is best to drink calorie-free teas during water fasting. Herbal teas are best for this purpose as they do not have any calories in them, and it helps you achieve the benefits of water fasting. Tea gives you something else to drink and helps in breaking the monotony and fulfilling the tea/coffee craving as well.
Prepare Yourself – Before starting water fast, it is best to prepare yourself mentally. When you analyze the benefits and decide that you are going to do it, your mind and body will be prepared to deal with the food withdrawal. You can tolerate water fast for one day without any psychological issues, but if you plan to extend it more than a day, you will have to fight a mental war as well to stop yourself from consuming a solid diet.
Take Rest – Taking more rest is a must; you must not overwork or exhaust your body physically and mentally. If you continue or increase your physical work routine during water fasting, it will hurt you. Since your body is already getting short on energy during the fasting period, a hike in physical work can cause some damage to your muscles.
Do Walk Daily – If you are planning to extend your water fast for more than one day, take some walk. You may be thinking that we wanted you to take more rest and now we are saying to take some work. The primary reason for taking a walk helps you in getting your dose of Vitamin D from the sun. It also helps in weight loss, which a primary benefit of water fasting. A slow walk for 20-30 minutes is recommended to keep your body in shape.
Checkpoints – Keep an exit option open for you. If you are fasting for 3-4 days, makes sure you check your physical condition in midway. If you are unable to bear it, break the fast. You can try it next time for a longer time.
First Meal and Subsequent Diet – Make sure you plan something extraordinary for your first meal after a fast. Do not eat anything too oily and heavy. Eat something tasty and still low on the calorie count. Once you have successfully stayed away from all solid foods for a specific time, it is time to continue this routine by avoiding junk food, high-calorie, and oily diet. Make sure you add a workout routine to your life or continue to your previous exercise regime.
Water fasting is believed to have the following benefits for your body. There is no specific research to support these benefits in human beings, but studies done on human beings animals have shown the following benefits.
Weight Loss – If you want to shed some weight through water fasting, you will probably have to extend it for more than 3 days, because a 24-hour break from calories will not force your body to use up the stored fat.
Low Blood Pressure – People who have successfully developed a water fasting routine for a couple of days in a week have reported that their blood pressure is in control. Water and salt are major factors behind spikes in blood pressure. When you drink excess water, reduce salt consumption, your blood pressures stay on the safe side.
Protection Against Chronic Diseases – When you avoid a solid diet for 24 hours or a couple of days, your cholesterol levels go down instantly and significantly. High cholesterol level is a major contributor to heart problems. If you are adding 24-hour water fast to your weekly routine, you can keep your cholesterol levels under control.
Protection Against Diabetes – Water fasting is helpful in insulin sensitivity. Please keep in mind that fasting is not advised for people who have diabetes. Water fasting helps regulate the production of insulin in people without diabetes.
Cell Recycling – Water fasting is believed to speed up the process of cell recycling. It is known as autophagy. The damaged cells can lead to cancer and heart diseases. Animal studies have shown that water fasting is an excellent catalyst for the process of autophagy. Studies on the link between autophagy and water fasting in humans are still in process.
Immunity Boost – All types of fasting helps in boosting your body’s immunity. It is a well-believed fact, and when you stay off from a solid diet for a couple of days every week, your body boosts up its natural defense system.
Water fasting has some side effects as well. Your body needs food to survive, as well.
Losing Important Weight – If you are not overweight and undergo a tough water fasting routine, you may end up losing your muscle mass, this weight is important for your body to maintain physical strength in your body. If your muscles lose weight, you end up being physically weak, and it can lead to body aches and lethargy.
Hypotension – When you are fasting, water fasting or simple fast, your blood pressure and blood sugar level are down. It can lead to lead to head-spinning, dizziness, and even fainting in some cases. The best way to get rid of this problem is to drink electrolyte water or add a few drops of any sweetener in your water.
Worsens Medical Problems – People who have diabetes, heart problems, liver problems, and gout are advised not to do water fasting or simple fasting. They need diet and medication as per the prescribed routine. Avoiding food and medicine for a long time can worsen their condition.
Dehydration – Though water fasting means that you are not consuming anything else than water, you can still suffer from dehydration during water fasting. The water you get from your diet is about 25% of your daily water intake, missing it can lead to dehydration. Please keep in mind that you need to increase water consumption during the water fast.
Lack of Salts in Body – If you are water fasting during the summer season, and workout as well, you will lose a lot of salts through your sweating. The best way to take care of this problem is to drink electrolyte water.
The temptation to Eat More – You may end up eating more after a fast or even consuming more calories than you would have consumed without fasting. The best way to avoid this is to ensure that you do not eat heavy and oily things after fasting and try to stay away from them in daily routine as well.
How to Break the Fast
Your stomach and liver were on a break during water fasting. They are relaxed and probably hibernated during this period. Make sure you eat slowly and eat light. Do not go all out on your first meal.