Fasting, a method of restricting food intake, has been practiced for thousands of years.
Water fasting is a type of fast that restricts everything except water. It has become more popular in recent years as a quick way to lose weight.
Studies have shown that water fasting could have several health benefits. It may lower the risk of some chronic diseases and may stimulate autophagy, a process that helps your body break down and recycle old parts of your cells.
Most water fasts last between 24 to 72 hours. You should not follow a water fast for longer than this without medical supervision.
Here are a few reasons why people try water fasting:
Religious or spiritual reasons
- To lose weight
- For “detoxing”
- For its health benefits
- Preparing for a medical procedure
Let’s take a look at the health benefits of water fasting:
* Promote Autophagy
Autophagy is a process where old parts of your cells are broken down and recycled. Several studies have found that autophagy may help protect against diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease
* Help Lower Blood Pressure
Research shows that longer, medically supervised water fasts may help people with high blood pressure lower their blood pressure. In one study, 68 people who had borderline high blood pressure, water fasted for nearly 14 days under medical supervision and the results were amazing.
* Improve Insulin and Leptin Sensitivity
Insulin and leptin are important hormones that affect the body’s metabolism. Insulin helps the body store nutrients from the bloodstream, while leptin helps the body feel full. Research shows that water fasting could make your body more sensitive to leptin and insulin. Greater sensitivity makes these hormones more effective.
* Lower the Risk of Several Chronic Diseases
There is some evidence that water fasting may lower the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. In one study, 30 healthy adults followed a water fast for 24 hours. After the fast, they had significantly lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides two risk factors for heart disease.
Promotes Weight Loss
The amount of weight you lose on water fast depends on the length of the fast and your body. You will initially lose water weight; fat burning does not kick in on water fast until around day two or so. You can expect to lose about a pound a day on water fast.