Fasting, the process of abstaining from food, has been in practice for thousands of years, mostly for religious reasons.

In the recent years, fasting is also being recommended for flushing out toxins as a part of detoxification, for losing weight, medical and sometimes even for experimental reasons.

However, fasting these days is just not confined to food alone. Water fasting is a latest, emerging trend to lose weight and to stimulate autophagy, a natural, regulated mechanism of cell that disassembles unnecessary components. It is also recommended for those suffering from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obese.

Like any new trend, water fasting has its own set of risk factors and may not be suitable for everyone.

What Exactly Is A Water Fast?

Water fasting means that you cannot consume anything besides water for 24 to 72 hours. Do not follow a water fast for more than 72 hours under any circumstances.

Benefits Of Water Fast

Promotes Autophagy:

Water fast promotes autophagy, where body breaks down parts and recycles parts of older cells. According to several studies, autophagy, a natural mechanism of the body helps in preventing cancer, cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer’s.

Scientists believe that autophagy avoids clumping of old cells, one of the risk factors behind cancer.

Lowers Blood Pressure:

Several studies claim that water fasting under medical supervision helped in bringing down the levels of high blood pressure. Borderline blood pressure patients find a significant drop in both systolic and diastolic numbers after water fasting for 24 to 72 hours.

Improves Insulin and Leptin Sensitivity:

Insulin and leptin, the most important hormones play a major role in metabolism and water fasting could make your body more sensitive to insulin and leptin. This in turn, insulin is better produced by reducing blood sugar levels while leptin helps in body at better processing of hunger signals and help in losing weight.

Lowers Cholesterol:

Water fasting for 24 to 72 hours may reduce the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol and help in protecting the heart from free radicals. Free radicals damage the parts of cells and may trigger chronic diseases and water fasting prevents the growth of free radicals.

Who Shouldn’t Water Fast:

Do not go for water fasting if you are suffering from gout, chronic kidney disease, eating disorders, heart burn.

Risk Factors:

Though water fasting is gaining ground with health and fitness enthusiasts, it may have a negative impact like muscle loss, orthostatic hypotension, headaches, nausea, constipation and low productivity.

If you are planning to water fast, talk to your doctor or nutritionist if it is good and works for you.