Dry fasting: Health benefits, how to do it and why its better than ‘wet’ fasting

Hindustan Times, Delhi |
Jun 09, 2020 07:41 AM IST

Unlike how intermittent fasting usually goes where one avoids food but drinks as much water as one needs, dry fasting entails foregoing food and water for an extended period of time in order to make the body gain it’s energy from toxins present in the body.

As more and more people are becoming health conscious, fasting has become a common method of keeping the body’s fitness up. Fasting has been in practice for centuries and it is only recently that the health benefits of it are being discussed.

Health tips(Upsplash)
Health tips(Upsplash)

Primarily, fasting has been done for religious reasons. People of different faiths have been practising different methods of essentially the same concept of depriving the body of food and/or water for a set amount of time.

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There are various methods of fasting and ‘dry fasting’ is one that has gained popularity in the recent years. This type of fast entails completely foregoing water and food for an extended period of time. As difficult as this sounds, there are enormous benefits to dry fasting and here is how you can start -

How to –

Prepare – Do not go into a dry fast with too many toxins in the body as it can increase the chances of feeling fatigued. The best way to prepare for a dry fast is to hydrate properly in the days leading up to it.

Do not attempt to do more than 12 hours of fasting in the first attempt. The body, like in most other things, requires training and preparation for a 24 or 36 hour fast.

Break the fast – Considering the distress you are placing your body under, it is recommended that if at any point you feel dizzy, nauseated, exhausted or on the verge of passing out, you should break the fast.

You should ideally break your fast with simple organic foods, such as a light salad or a probiotic smoothie which can help release even more toxins without placing too much pressure on your stomach all of a sudden.

Interval – Dry fasting has shown the best results when practised at a regular schedule.

Though there are no limits to how often you can dry fast, you should add variety to your diet by mixing up days of high-protein content, low carb days and intermittent fasting days. This will not only provide all the nourishment that our body needs but also keep your body on its toes.

Exercise – If you exercise regularly, you can continue to do so even on a dry fast, but it is important to note that dry fasts can be very taxing on the body. Pushing the body beyond its limits can be injurious.

If you are fasting for the first time, it is recommended that you give your body a while to adapt before exercising.

What are the health benefits of dry fasting?

When the body realizes that it is not receiving any nutrients externally, your cells will begin eating the toxins present inside to survive.

During extended periods of food and water deprivation there is a lot of stress placed on the body, making it reach out to all the excess reserves for energy. This also helps in speeding up the metabolism of fat to get access to the water that resides within the fat cells.

Short intermittent periods of dry fasting help in balancing cholesterol levels especially when coupled with a ketogenic (high-fat and low carb) diet.

Dry fasting also helps to lower blood sugar levels. Nutritional health coach Dr Mindy Pelz, in her article about dry fasting mentions that, “after a dry fast, people have decreased blood glucose levels and increased insulin sensitivity.”

She also goes on to mention the benefits that dry fasting has on bone health as it can prevent osteoporosis.

As always, consult your doctor before undertaking any dietary changes or for more information regarding the same.

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