As you continue to create a healthy lifestyle for yourself and your family, you have probably increased your water intake. Water not only quenches your thirst like nothing else, but our body requires it daily to live. While most drinking water is naturally fortified with minerals, it is generally odorless, tasteless, and calorie-free. What are the origins and what is the water fast for?
Nothing evokes our primordial senses like water. Since the earliest records of civilization, it has been revered as the giver of life with mystical properties. The ancients recognized their sustenance for all living things and were in awe of the vast oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams that they often deified.
Healthcare experts recommend that we drink at least six to eight glasses of water per day. Unfortunately, many people prefer sugary sodas, juices, coffee, and other beverages. While you can get hooked on the taste, these liquids don't hydrate your body like plain water does.
Since scientists claim that our bodies are at least 60 percent water, our eternal affinity makes sense. It can survive long periods without food, but will die in a few days from lack of water. It is responsible for a large number of vital functions in your body.
THE POPULARITY OF WATER FASTING
Water fasting for spiritual purposes is as old as civilization itself. Most cultures throughout history promoted periodic fasting for religious enlightenment or penance. Although it was primarily a norm for monastic life, water fasting was often practiced among the average person in the culture.
This practice of fasting has ebbed and flowed throughout history to modern times like the tides of the sea. A few decades ago, he was often associated with religious worshipers or hippies. Once again, water fasting has drawn attention to weight loss and control of blood sugar levels.
WHAT IS A WATER FAST?
While each plan may differ slightly, the basic premise is to replace food with water. Some plans suggest that you replace at least two meals a day with water, and others say that you cannot eat while fasting. You will notice that the fasting periods vary, from one day to 40 days.
There are also discussions about water additives for additional vitamins or flavor. Many water fasting plans allow you to flavor your water with fresh lemon juice. The less strict often consider plain coffee, tea, and diet soda for their fasting regimen.
IS WATER THE WAY TO FOLLOW?
It's worth noting that while you can get benefits from water fasting, it's one of the riskiest diet kicks. Before you even consider trying one, have a detailed discussion with your healthcare professional. If it's right for you, she can recommend a suitable time frame and monitor your fasting efforts.
After your healthcare provider has chosen the quick and right setting for you, you can ask about the benefits of drinking mineral water or adding a little lemon juice for flavor. If you suddenly feel sick while fasting, stop immediately and call your provider.
If you are serious about fasting from food and drinking only water for a short time, do some research. Regardless of the plan guidelines, the water fast is not something to start without reliable information and medical supervision. Here are some pros and cons that nutritionists suggest you consider.
PROS OF WATER FASTING
Depending on the scientific research you read, most cannot agree on the safety and purported benefits of water fasting. Each person is different and can have variable results. Also, some reports you read may be anecdotal and may not be supported by scientific evidence.
If you feel the benefits of this fast, resist the urge to go beyond the allotted time. You may lose any possible benefits and your health may be compromised. Here are some benefits you can see while fasting on water.
• CAN HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT
Many people who periodically water fast report that this helps their weight loss regimen. It makes sense that if you only drink water, you don't consume calories. Therefore, you will probably see a lower number on the scales after your fasting period is complete.
While it may be the ideal thing to encourage you to adopt a healthier lifestyle, these initial pounds that you lost during a fast are misleading. The few pounds you lose are generally from losing the water stored in your system rather than from burning fat.
• CAN HELP PREVENT TYPE 2 DIABETES
Did you know that becoming insensitive to insulin is what causes type 2 diabetes? Some research on this disease suggests that short-term water fasting may decrease your insensitivity to insulin. With a healthy diet and exercise program, trying periodic water fasts can protect against diabetes and high blood sugar levels.
• MAY MAKE YOU LESS PRONE TO DISEASE
When you have free radicals floating around in your body, they can wreak havoc on your cells and make you susceptible to disease and illness. Evidence suggests that if you fast on water for a short time, you can help your body fight these harmful free radicals.
You can also see a noticeable decrease in your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are the main risks for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Fewer free radicals can also mean that your risk for certain types of cancer may be lower than usual.
• MAY HELP HYPERTENSION
Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure or borderline hypertension? You may see lower numbers in your blood pressure readings when you only drink water for a short time. The water helps flush your system and you won't be over-sodium.
Be safe, check your blood pressure every day and track your progress on paper. Never stop or change the dose of your blood pressure medications without medical advice. When your blood pressure normalizes, you may have more energy and fewer headaches.
• CAN PROMOTE HEALTHY CELLULAR PRODUCTION
Did you know that your body is an incredible recycling machine? It takes the millions of cells in the body that die every day and recycles them into new ones. Scientists believe that this process also acts as a defense against disease.
In laboratory tests, this cell recycling process appeared to be improved in animals that periodically fasted on water. These results may be promising for humans. However, the testing is still in its preliminary stages, and no concrete evidence has been established.
CONS OF WATER FASTING
Almost all diet plans that can have benefits also carry some risks. Fasting on water is not for everyone and can be dangerous for some. After reading the pros of this plan, consider these cons that have been discussed by medical experts.
• COULD DEHYDRATE
If you don't drink anything but water for a few hours or a couple of days, shouldn't you be hydrated to the point of feeling bloated? Contrary to reason, fast water can dehydrate your system. Many foods you eat, especially fruits and vegetables, are also an important source of hydration.
• MAY BECOME MALNUTRUTED
There is no argument that humans must eat to survive. Your body needs the vital nutrients that food provides and cannot sustain itself in water alone. Even after a day of water fasting, some people can feel the effects of malnutrition.
• YOUR DIET MAY BE SABOTTED
Even the strongest-willed person probably dreams of delicious meals while fasting on water. When you try this quick, you can count the minutes until it's done. Stopping eating can cause you to obsess and give in to your cravings, which can lead to binge eating that is bad for your health.
• YOU CAN GET WATER POISONING
Did you know that your body can become weak and intoxicated when you drink too much water? This condition, called hyponatremia, is a possible risk of fasting on water.
Your healthcare provider will advise you not to exercise if you are fasting. Water alone cannot replace the electrolyte balance you lose while sweating during a workout. Hyponatremia can be a dangerous situation.
• DANGEROUS FLUCTUATIONS OF BLOOD PRESSURE
Although periodic water fasts can help hypertension, drinking too much water can lower pressure too much, which can lead to hypotension. Your blood pressure can experience dangerous fluctuations when standing or sitting, so it must be closely monitored by your healthcare provider.
• BEWARE OF BLUES IN FASTING
You know that feeling when you've gone without eating all day. Discomfort can hit you suddenly and make you feel like you're falling for something. During a water fast, it is common to experience brain fog, dizziness, and headaches.
If you are planning a short water fast, consider it when you are away from work or school. You may feel too weak to concentrate. You should also use caution when driving or operating heavy machinery. When in doubt, don't do it.
FINAL THOUGHTS TO DECIDE IF A WATER FAST IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Only your professional healthcare provider is qualified to consider whether water fasting is right for you. With strict medical supervision, its benefits can outweigh common risks. Talk to your provider about your medical history and list any medications or supplements you are taking.