You know that drinking lots of water every day is good for your health, but some people are taking this a step further with water fasting. If you don’t know what water fasting is or whether you should be doing it, read on to find out more.
What is water fasting?
Water fasting refers to a period where you eat no food and only drink water. People undergoing a water fast typically do so for somewhere between 24 and 72 hours. Others are required to fast as a part of religious traditions, but these typically last less than 24 hours at a time.
While water fasting, it is important that you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day in order to stay hydrated. We usually get some of our water intake from the food we eat, so it is wise to drink a little more than you normally do.
What are the benefits of water fasting?
Many benefits are thought to come from intermittent water fasting, including:
- Weight loss
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Reduce risk of developing chronic illnesses
- Lower cholesterol
Some of these outcomes also have knock-on benefits that could help your health. For example, reducing your blood pressure can lower your chances of developing conditions such as heart disease or suffering from a stroke.
Is water fasting safe?
There are also potential dangers of water fasting, however. Cutting out all the calories you get from food will leave you with low energy levels as your body isn’t getting the fuel it needs. This could lead to symptoms such as lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting. It may also have an effect on your ability to focus.
While you may lose weight quickly from a water fast, this could include a drop in water weight and potentially muscle mass. A small amount of the weight loss will also be a result of not having any food in your body and the physical weight of this. It won’t suddenly make you shed pounds of fat.
Any type of fasting may also have harmful psychological effects, especially if you have had problems in the past with eating disorders or body dysmorphia. You may find that you’re more likely to binge after you complete the fast, which could lead to bulimia.
You can enjoy some of the benefits of water fasting without the risks every morning. It is recommended to drink a glass of water first thing in the morning and then wait at least 30 minutes before eating. This doesn’t have to disrupt your morning schedule – you can take a drink when you wake up, take a shower and get ready for work, and then eat breakfast. This will rehydrate you, improve your digestion, and can lower blood pressure, too.
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