By: Martin Johnson, DHM, Owner and Natural Health Consultant
The main reason for fasting is it improves most health conditions by reducing cellular inflammation. There are two types of inflammation chronic and acute. Acute inflammation lasts just a short period of time (seconds to a few days). It is a normal and healthy biological response in helping wounds heal from infection. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, occurs over a longer time period (often many years). It is not healthy, and is directly implicated in most if not all modern health disorders, including autoimmune disease, obesity, diabetes, hormone challenges, and more. To create a positive impact on most health challenges we must decrease chronic inflammation. And there is simply no quicker way to decrease inflammation than fasting.
A recent study suggested that fasting for three consecutive days “flips a switch” to ignite regeneration of the immune system. It triggers the body to begin producing new white blood cells. It’s like pressing the reset button on your body’s wiring system.
The Many Benefits of Fasting
Fasting and daily intermittent fasting spikes human growth hormone (HGH) levels, which offer strong anti-aging effects by literally slowing the rate at which your cells age. In addition, fasting dramatically increases energy levels since the body isn’t burdened by digesting food all day. Without the burden of digesting, the gut is able to heal from conditions like IBS, Leaky Gut, and other severe inflammation driven conditions like Crohn’s and Colitis.
Other positive side effects of fasting and intermittent fasting include weight-loss, increased brain function and cognitive skills, powerful detoxification effects, life extension, improved hormone balance and insulin sensitivity, enhanced digestion, decreased disease risk, reduced appetite and the list goes on.
How does the Body Function While Fasting?
If we are considering how our bodies were designed it makes sense that intermittent fasting positively impacts the body. The method works in harmony with our circadian rhythm given that humans are inherently nocturnal eaters, as evidenced by our nervous system. Fasting during the day kicks the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) nervous system into gear, in a good way, for all day energy and vitality. Later on, the evening “feast” of good fat, protein, and carbs, functions to raise blood sugar enough to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system response. This promotes relaxation and lulls you off to a peaceful slumber. The larger nightly meal also informs the body that it is not starving, so there is no need to hang onto stored fat. Therefore, your body burns stored fat for lasting energy. This is how you truly dip into those hard to burn areas that never leave no matter how much you exercise or what you eat.
How do you Start Intermittent Fasting?
The goal with intermittent fasting is to lengthen the time between the last meal of the day and the first meal you eat the next day. An example would be, if the last time you ate was 8pm the day before and you eat breakfast at 8am you are fasting for 12 hrs. The goal is to push your morning meal out more, little by little, till you can comfortably go 16-18 or more hours without eating. The goal is to eat a decent number of healthy calories in a small window of time.
Due to less overall food consumption while fasting it is crucial to make every calorie count by eating a very nutrient rich diet. I suggest consuming plenty of good quality fat, grass-fed and pastured animal protein, cultured, grass fed dairy, and organic, non-GMO veggies along with low-glycemic fruits.
Problems with Fasting Incorrectly
If you don’t eat enough at dinner while you’re intermittent fasting, your body will remain in sympathetic mode and believe it’s not getting enough food to survive. It will then hang onto every calorie, keep you awake at night, tax your adrenal glands, and you will not reap the benefits. Worse yet, you will lose muscle and gain fat, the same thing that happens on caloric restricted diets.
In our clinic, we often teach people different variations of fasting as a tool to aide in healing the body and improving overall health.
If you struggle with poor digestive health, weight loss resistance, allergies, fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, or even an autoimmune disease, I would encourage you to get to the root cause and don’t settle for it being covered up with medication. It will only get worse over time.
Give us a call 262-251-2929 to schedule a no-charge 10-minute phone consult with a natural health practitioner, to see how we can help!
You can also learn more at one of our Free Seminars!