One Day Water Fast and its Benefits
One-day (24-hour) water fasts have become a popular way to maintain health and vigor. Fasting uses the self-healing properties of the human body. Health improvements happen when the digestive system is given rest and the organs get ample time to repair and heal themselves.
A regular practice of a fasting can improve digestive efficiency, increase mental clarity, increase physical and mental vigor, remove toxins, improve vision and give a general feeling of well being. A 24-hour fast, once a week, is a common religious practice in many communities.
How to prepare for a One day fast?
Those who are experienced in fasting do not need any external advice, as they have studied the reactions of their own body during the fasting period. A one-day fast is pretty simple for them. But for beginners, a little more care is required.
Beginners should choose a day that is stress free, with relatively less activities planned. Do not consider any heavy work or excessive travel during that day. Light activities, like reading, slow yoga movements, working on your computer, walking in the woods, meditation, watching television, driving short distances, etc., are acceptable. But avoid stressful activities, like heavy exercises, going to the gym, lifting heavy weights, running long distances, etc., as these consume a lot of calories and will make you unnecessarily hungry.
A normal human body can go for weeks without food. Hence, a one-day fast is relatively easy to do. Once one starts doing it, one will experience great health benefits. Those with serious medical conditions can also fast under the supervision of an expert. If one has a serious illness, it’s important to consult a physician first before attempting to fast.
How to do a One-day (24-hour) Fast?
In a one-day fast, one must drink only water for 24 hours. No solid food or other liquids that contain nutrition (like fruit juice, milk, etc.) are allowed. Simple pure mineral water is the best. One can also use boiled and cooled water. Do not add anything in the water during boiling. One may drink about 1 ½ liters to 3 liters of plain water in one full day, according to ones capacity. There is no harm in drinking even more, if need be.
The best time to start the fast is during early morning. After getting up from bed and brushing the teeth, drink about two glasses of water. This will also help with bowel movements. The rest of the day, one can drink water any time. There is no restriction on the quantity of water to drink each time or the number of times to consume water. Continue this for a whole day, till the next day morning.
Body reactions during a One-day (24-Hour) fast
During the one day fast, one will notice a few reactions in the body, which is considered normal. As a habit, the body is used to consuming food many times a day. When there is sudden lack of food intake, one may feel weakness, dizziness, nausea, etc. There may be also a drop in blood pressure and slight headaches. One need not get frightened by these reactions. These are quite normal during a one-day fast. Those who fast regularly won’t even feel these symptoms. But beginners should just take rest or lie down whenever these symptoms become intense.
One may even feel a sudden bout of hunger. Just take one or two glasses of water to dilute the gastric secretions. Then lie down and take rest. The hunger should go away in a short time.
How to break a One-day (24-Hour)fast?
Learning how to break a fast is very important. During the fasting period, there is hardly any digestive activity. One should be gentle on the stomach when breaking the fast. Do not overload the stomach. The best way to break a fast is with lime juice or orange juice.Half a spoon of honey may also be added to the juice. If needed, even fruits can be taken, as they are easy to digest. Boiled vegetables are also fine. Use little or no spice with vegetables as it can irritate the linings of the stomach.
The second meal of the day can be normal.
Benefits of a One-day (24-Hour) fast
- A one-day fast (once every week) will give tremendous health benefits. Our digestive system works without any rest, day and night. A fast will give the much needed rest to the entire digestive system to repair and heal itself. The human body has self healing abilities. Even animals instinctively take to fasting when they are sick. Animals are guided by their natural instincts, while as humans we tend to ignore them, and thus aggravate our sickness.
- It gives improved energy and vigor.
- It removes many mental blocks and gives clarity of mind.
- It eliminates toxins from the body and can go a long way to prevent future illnesses.
- It can give slight improvements in the eye sight, though this effect is seen more during long term fasts.
- Fasting can improve immunity and has anti-aging benefits.
- It gives an overall sense of well being.
- Fasting is the easiest way to lose weight. Those who do intermittent one day water fasts can benefit more by integrating yoga into their lifestyle. See articles – Obesity and Yoga Management & Pranayama for Weight Loss.
- One-day fasts have been followed, for thousands of years, for their spiritual benefits. Hindus follow the fast on ‘Pradosham’ days, which come on the 13th day of the lunar cycle (‘Triyodashi’). It is said to remove sins or bad karma, which limits our life energies. ‘Ekadashi’ fasting (on the 11th day of lunar cycle) is done by worshippers of Vishnu. Some fast on Saturdays to alleviate the problems due to Saturn in their planetary chart, while some fast on Tuesdays to remove problems due to afflicted Mars. Fasting is an ancient spiritual practice known to Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and almost all known religious faiths throughout the world. Fasting gives inner strength and confidence. It makes one feel that one is the spirit and is not limited to the body alone.
Contraindications for a One-day Water fast
- Those suffering from any chronic medical condition, terminal illness or mental illness should first consult a doctor before taking up a one-day water fast.
- Pregnant women should not take up long term water fasts, though a one day water fast can be taken up with doctor’s advice.
- Children below 18 years are advised to take parental consent and medical advice before attempting water fasts.
- Those with kidney and Liver problems should consult a doctor before attempting it.