We have talked about intermittent fasting many times before, and now I want to emphasize how IF (intermittent fasting) can enhance your immune system. This is especially important with it being the cold and flu season.
Just to review, here are just a few of the MANY benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Protection against inflammatory related conditions such as Alzheimers, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and obesity
- Lowered cortisol levels at night, the stress hormone when constantly in the “on” position is unhealthy and can lead to cellular aging
- Increased insulin sensitivity (which means your body burns fat more readily)
- Improved lipid profile
- Supports healing of the gut lining
- Slows progression of diabetes and obesity
- Increased weight loss
- Help in preventing metabolic and neurological diseases
INTERMITTENT FASTING CAN HELP YOU FIGHT OFF INFECTION!
The number one benefit of IF is autophagy, which involves the recycling of the old, damaged, and redundant cells in order to produce fresh new cells that are superior in function and health. During this process, defective immune cells or their parts are replaced and toxins and pathogens can be released from the cells. Fasting helps your body focus on the work of this cleanup operation and not have to be occupied by working to sweep away new toxins and excess calories in the food you eat.
The benefits of IF on the immune system include:
- Reduced immunosenescence, which is aging of the immune system
- Lower white blood cell numbers including lymphocytes, natural killer cells, and neutrophils
- Lowered inflammation and fewer pro-inflammatory markers
- Protection against inflammatory-related conditions
Now the question is, how long should you fast? Valter Longo, one of the world’s leading authorities on fasting, recommends 48-72 hour fasting to enhance the immune system. With this longer fast, the body eats up the old immune cells and regenerates new immune cells. During this 2-4 day fast, the protein kinase A gene, which regulates carbohydrate and fat metabolism within the cell, is turned off, which triggers stem cells to produce new immune cells.
I am sure you are thinking, HOW CAN I FAST FOR 3 DAYS? That is impossible!
The solution I have for you is to start slow with time restricted eating. You should shorten your eating window to 6-8 hours per day. This means you should fast for about 16-18 hours per day (this fasting time includes sleeping). A bigger eating window of more than 10 hours produces a significant drop in benefits.
Good luck! If anyone is interested I fast every Monday for about 40-44 hours. My last meal is Sunday evening and I start eating again Tuesday lunch. Feel free to text or email me and we can fast together!