A dry fast is different from other forms of fasting. When you are on a dry fast, it means that you will consume neither food nor water for a given period.
Recently, this mode of fasting has become more popular. But the practice of dry fasting is not a new invention. It is an ancient practice that people have been undertaking since tens of centuries ago. However, people in the ancient world practiced dry fasting mostly for spiritual or religious purposes. Nowadays, however, there is an increasing awareness of the probable health benefits of dry fasting. Well, doing a dry fast may not be fun, but it is not complicated. Just avoid eating or drinking anything. How to break a dry fast is where things may become quite complex.
You need to take caution when you are breaking a dry fast. If not, you will end up placing too much burden on your digestive organs. You will get the best benefits from your dry fast if you break it properly. The rule here is to take things easy and slow. Remember that your body would go through many biological changes during the fast. For instance, your digestive enzymes will either stop being produced or, at best, diminish greatly. So you must re-introduce food slowly, lest your load your stomach with foods that your body’s enzyme production cannot handle. Even the mucous lining that protects your stomach may temporarily diminish during dry fasting. It will make your stomach more prone to irritation. It would take some time for that mucus lining to return to normal. So for that period, you must avoid foods that can irritate.
How to Break a Dry Fast
The right way to break a dry fast is as follows:
1. Drink 470ml water right after the fast
Once you finish your fast, the first thing you should do is drink 470ml water. But make sure you drink slowly, taking small sips intermittently so that you don’t overburden your system. Also, swish the water around in your mouth before swallowing.
Take your time to finish the water. Don’t rush it. And when you finish drinking the water, stay away from other foods or drinks for another one hour. If you drink water rapidly while breaking a fast, it might cause bloating.
2. Drink 470ml water every one hour after breaking
You will need to rehydrate your body over time. So slowly introduce water again y drinking 450ml every one hour. Remember to take only small sips. Continue this for about 3 to four hours before you start drinking water the normal way you would without fasting.
3. Try healthy foods in small amounts for the 1st day
Go for dried fruits like raisins, apricots, and figs for a light snacking for the 1st day. Don’t go beyond the portion (or serving) size that is written on the package so that you don’t accidentally overeat after finishing your fast. Keeping eating light snacks only throughout the day. Fruits and unsalted nuts are good options. From the second day onwards, you may begin to eat normally.
4. Avoid high-carb and high-sodium foods for 2 days, at least
Carbs and Sodium lead to water retention in your body. Water adds to your body weight. So if you eat high-carb and high-sodium foods too early, the weight-loss you achieved during the fast may be quickly reversed.
Don’t eat cured meats, sweets, grains, or soups. Rather, go for foods that contain low fat, carbs, and sodium for about 2 days. This includes using only light seasoning (if at all) till the third to fourth day. For instance, green veggies with chicken breast (plain, cooked) are great to have.
Dry Fasting Benefits
The probable benefits you can get from dry fasting are as follows:
1. Improvement in CAD (coronary artery disease)
A study by experts in 2012 found that dry fasting helped improve 10-years CAD score significantly.
2. Improved cognition
Generally, fasting also enhances cognitive functions and performance. Several studies have proven this to be true. But when it comes to dry fasting, one 2017 study found that serotonin, NGF, and BDNF, increased during dry fasting.
You may wonder what these names mean. They are all signaling molecules and they play vital roles in fostering cell growth, overall survival, and the function of neurons. BDNF, for instance, is the Neurotrophic Factor derived from your brain. Studies say it enhances neurogenesis. BDNF also plays a vital role in learning and memory.
3. Weight loss
If you lose weight from just fasting, it would likely be water weight. And once you begin to eat again, you would quickly gain the weight back. But then, fasting can enhance weight loss when you are already on a healthy eating plan like Keto.
Aside from your general body weight, your body fat composition and BMI will also improve. But if you don’t manage your diet after the fast, you would return to your previous weight after about 4 to 5 weeks.
4. May help improve cholesterol
One study in 2013 found that dry fasting may help improve your lipid profile, as well as increase good cholesterol (the HDL) by about 30 to 40 percent.
Fasting does have certain health benefits that are backed by scientific evidence. But you must avoid extreme fasting like a prolonged dry fast. This might cause starvation and its related consequences. If care is not taken, it might eventually cause death.
Remember that your body’s weight is 70 percent water. That shows you how vital water is for your survival. Expert researchers tell us that a person can survive with no food for many weeks. You can even stay without food for as long as 30 days. After that, starvation symptoms may start.
The story is, however, different about water. Many researchers say that you can only live without drinking water for a maximum of 3 days. After that, fatal symptoms might begin. As such, avoid staying without water for more than 24 to 48 hours.
How to break a dry fast is not as difficult as I may have seemed. So long as you take appropriate caution, you will get the best from your dry fast and stay safe.