I was having a conversation with a friend of mines asking about the pros and cons of water fasting and just how viable an option it was to water fast for a prolonged period of timing. Now that conversation got me thinking about just how important water is in general for us even thought it really gets a bad rep. Today, we're going to talk about the importance of being hydrated properly and answer the question about the benefits water fasting.
What are the health benefits of proper hydration?
So let’s start off by saying that water is essential to our body and mind, supporting many bodily functions like temperature regulation, and nutrient. Proper hydration has been shown to keep our joints lubricated, prevent infections as well as improve sleep quality and cognition. Staying properly hydrated helps us feel energized and enhances our performance in daily tasks. Experts recommend drinking approximately 11 cups of water a day for women and 16 for men. Now I hear all the time how little people drink water on a daily basis, sometimes they even brag about it but remember it doesn’t have to be plain water. Flavored water, coffee & tea also fall under the category, just got to remember to get the required daily amount.
How does dehydration affect the body?
Dehydration is a simple equation that occurs when your body loses more fluids than it's taking in, and it can have serious effects to our bodies. It can impair the body's ability to regulate temperature, leading to overheating and even heatstroke. Dehydration can also reduce kidney function, leading to issues like kidney stones, and put strain on our cardiovascular system by making our hearts work harder. Additionally, it can disrupt our electrolyte balance, resulting in problems like muscle cramping and fatigue, and impair cognitive functions such as concentration and alertness. Finally, it can lead to digestive problems like constipation and heartburn, and general fatigue. This is why I always get on my patients who swear that not drinking water is a badge of honor.
The Role of Fasting and Hydration
Now, let's touch on a topic that's increasingly gaining attention – fasting. While fasting, particularly intermittent fasting, is often used for weight loss and health benefits, hydration remains crucial during these periods. Drinking water can help you manage hunger pains during fasting periods, maintain energy levels, and support the body's natural processes.
Fasting can make hydration a bit tricky because people often get a good amount of the water they take in via the foods they eat. When you are fasting, this source is eliminated, making it even more important to consciously consume enough water. However, it's also crucial not to overhydrate, which can lead to its own issues such as hyponatremia, a condition caused by low sodium levels in the blood.
Benefits of Fasting
Now we have talked about intermittent fasting on a previous podcast episode with Dr. Cecily Clark-Ganheart so I suggest checkout out that episode for more details but some of the quick benefits that have been found with intermittent fasting include weight loss, anti-aging benefits, assistance with digestion reducing inflammation and improving mental health. The most important aspect of it all is making sure you stay well hydrated during the process.
In conclusion, proper hydration, whether you're fasting or not, is vital to our overall health and wellbeing. Not only does it support numerous bodily functions, but it also helps prevent a variety of health complications. The importance of water in our lives can't be overstated. It's much more than just a thirst quencher; it's an essential component that influences everything from our cognitive function to digestive health. So let's appreciate the power of water and remember to incorporate it into our daily routines. Each sip is a step towards better health. Stay hydrated, my friends, your body will thank you for it.