Fasting is growing in popularity, but what does it mean and is it really beneficial to skip the ‘most important meal of the day’ ?
The Benefits of Fasting.
Research is showing more and more evidence for the benefits of taking a break from eating. It has been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, address obesity and type 2 diabetes, help cardiovascular disease, reduce inflammation and help cellular processes. It can also help with;
- Increased energy and vitality
- Improved mental clarity and focus
- Better digestion and absorption of nutrients – less bowel-related symptoms such as bloating, gas and constipation
- Balanced insulin levels (this is the hormone responsible for blood sugar regulation)
- Clearer and more radiant skin
- Weight loss and reduced cellulite
- Less pain and inflammation
- Improved immune function and a decrease in allergic symptoms
What is intermittent fasting?
Time-restricted feeding is a dietary pattern that optimizes circadian elements such as daily rhythms for insulin peaks and glucose tolerance by consuming food and beverages within a shortened window of time during the day. Intermittent fasting promotes weight loss and using fat stores as energy. Stored fats are the primary fuel used by the body in the fasted state because insulin levels are low. If you eat more than two meals a day, it’s unlikely that stored fat will be burned for energy. Types of fasting can include;
- Fast overnight for 12 hours or more.
- Fasting overnight for 16 hours (and eating within an 8-hour window in the day)
- Eat Stop method – once or twice a week you don’t eat anything from dinner until dinner the next day (this is a 24 hour fast)
- Pick one meal a day that you can skip. This can be much more sustainable.
- Alternate-day fasting: A cycle of fasting on one day and eating on the next day.
- 5:2 diet: Five days of unrestricted eating, two non-consecutive days with one meal at 500-700 calories.
Intermittent fasting tips
- Choose the best method of intermittent fasting to suit your lifestyle and schedule.
- Whilst you fast, only drink purified water and herbal teas. Avoid coffee and alcohol.
- Increase vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains and avoid sugar, refined carbohydrate and dairy that can cause more work for your digestive system.
- Take time for relaxation on fast days – walk in nature, have a salt bath and do some gentle yoga. Dry skin brushing can also be helpful in supporting the liver.
It is my passion to support people in understanding what is at the root of the health conditions that they are facing. Functional medicine hand in hand with nutritional therapy helps me unearth the reasons for ill health and the obstacles that have been preventing recovery.
I wholeheartedly believe we are a blend of our histories; our food and lifestyle choices and our genetics – in fact, we are unique walking recipes ourselves. Finding the ingredients to help you make the best version of yourself is part of my work, so you can establish a loving friendship with your body and find balance in your life.