WATER FASTING: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
- March 02, 2021
Water fasting? The phrase rings an odd bell! Fasting means to deprive the body’s fulfilment of its calorie(nutrient) yearnings. Research has it that you can go without food for about 21 days. But for water, it is only 3-4days. 70% of the body is made up of water, we need to stay hydrated as our bodies are highly sensitive to its water balance. A 1% decrease in the water reserves of our tissues causes thirstiness, and about 2.5% loss in water causes headache. However, the undiluted health benefits of fasting is self-evident and has formed the basis of a popular diet plan called Water fasting; where a person is not allowed to eat or drink anything besides water. The amount of water consumed in a day is around 2- 3 liters depending on the fasting plan followed. Other forms of fasting such as Intermittent fasting; allow water and other calorie free drinks like tea and coffee but involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting, ranging from a few hours to a few days at a time.
Unlike food, water is not digested by the body but absorbed so that it provides hydration. Absorption of water happens faster when you drink on an empty stomach turbocharging your metabolism.
Health benefits of Water fasting includes the following;
Weight loss; Because a water fast restricts calories, you will lose a lot of weight quickly. In fact, research shows that you may lose up to 2 pounds (0.9 kg) each day of a 24- to 72-hour water fast. Unfortunately, a lot of the weight you lose may come from water, carbs, and even muscle mass.
Detoxification and rejuvenation;
Fasting promotes Autophagy-a process where the body recycles old cells and dysfunctional molecules and parts molecular oxygen in water helps to trigger the liver to eliminate toxins and this is why water fasting is also termed “Water Cleansing”. Because where water and fasting meets, detoxification happens naturally.
Reduces disease risk;
Research based on studies with mice suggests that fasting may protect against certain diseases such as diabetes, reduces risk of coronary artery disease delays aging by hydrating collagen fibers in skin as the body switches to other sources of energy other than glucose (ketosis). There have not been extensive human studies on fasting, although research has found some positive impact on blood pressure and improved rheumatoid arthritis symptoms from small studies.
Promotes Blood Sugar Control by Reducing Insulin Resistance. Fasting breaks the persistence of high insulin levels since you will go for extended periods with no food. As such your insulin levels will drop and your cells becomes more receptive to signals
Fights Inflammation; biomarkers for Inflammation has been shown to reduce during Water fasting.
May Enhance Heart Health by Improving Blood Pressure, Triglycerides and Cholesterol Levels. The first 2 days of a water fast is usually accompanied by Orthostatic hypotension, which is due to a sharp decrease in blood pressure.
May Boost Brain Function and Prevent Neurodegenerative Disorders. Fasting induces an altered metabolic state which optimizes neuron function and resilience thereby enhancing brain functions
STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL FAST
- Check your vitals-BP, Sugar level, BMI
- I recommend you drink warm water only during the fast
- Resist the urge to over eat before commencing the fast
- Inform your doctor of your intention to fast
- Keep your schedule light-plan towards using the period to get your much needed rest
- No devices as much as possible. Rather read books, flow with nature
- Exercising is a no no during a fast. We need you to conserve your energy stores not deplete them rapidly. A such a light walk is ok
- Get a loved one in on your plans. That way emergencies will be dealt with faster
- Keep handy a bottle of electrolyte-infused water. You can use ORT. It is freely sold at pharmacies
- End your fast with a fruit-a slice of watermelon, an apple, an orange. Resist the urge to stuff yourself with food. Go easy with light foods- salad,smoothies
WHO SHOULD NOT FAST
Persons below 18 years, diabetics, persons with eating disorders and those on medication
Pregnant and nursing mothers, the elderly and underweight individuals
The best of all medicine is resting and fasting“- Benjamin Franklin