Water fasting is a method that has been used for thousands of years to reduce or restrict food intake. This type of fast restricts everything but water. Nowadays, its popularity has mainly grown thanks to the amazing benefits when it comes to jump-starting your metabolism and losing weight.
Many studies* show that water fasting also has multiple additional health benefits; such as lowering the risk of chronic diseases and stimulating autophagy, a process that helps recycle old parts of your cells.
But what is water fasting?
As we mentioned before, this type of fasting requires you only to consume water, nothing else. For how long? Well, the most common water fasts last between 1 - 3 days. Attempting longer than 3 days on your first fast may be very challenging and it is a good idea to take small steps initially.
Even 24-hour water fast can have very worthwhile benefits. It is advisable to check with a physician before attempting water fast, especially if you have any known pre-existing conditions or plan to fast longer than 3 days.
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Benefits of water fasting
Most people undertake water fasting for losing weight, religious reasons, or maybe to fight health problems. Once again, research* shows that occasional water fasting helps with weight loss, even though there are alternative techniques that may be more efficient.
Other short-term water fasting benefits may include reducing risk factors of:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
Is it safe?
Although many may experience serious health benefits, there are also risks if carried for too long.
If you have health concerns or even planning fasting longer than 24 hours, seek medical advice or professional supervision.
We must add, water fasting is not for everyone, older adults, people under 18 years or with certain pre-existing health conditions, shouldn't undertake fasting.
Lastly, The Academy of Nutrition and Diabetes advises that the best way to lose weight is through a healthy diet and exercise. Take things slowly, begin by changing unhealthy eating habits, sleep well, and reduce sugar intake from unhealthy, highly processed foods. However, the additional benefits of fasting, outside of basic weight loss, are often worth the efforts of brief water fast every couple of months.
Check out this great link for practical steps to trying your first water fast.