04 Jun Intermittent Fasting – Is it right for you?
Intermittent Fasting – It is right for you?
Should you try intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not a new concept. It has been used for thousands of years to prevent or improve chronic illness. However, there is a lot of recent media hype surrounding intermittent fasting boasting all sorts of amazing health benefits. Are they true?
Firstly let’s explore what intermittent fasting is
Intermittent fasting is an eating plan alternating between periods of eating and periods of fasting. The most common method is a period of 8 hours eating and 16 hours of fasting. For example you eat for only 8 hours during the day say from 10am to 6pm. The remaining 16 hours of the day you only consume clear fluids such as water and herbal teas. It can also refer to fasting for a full 24 hours a couple of times a week.
This fits in with the pattern of eating our ancestors would have adopted in the times of hunting and gathering our food. They could not always find food to eat so their bodies adapted to times of fasting. Through research we have discovered many health benefits to intermittent fasting.
- Weight loss particularly tummy fat
- Reduced inflammation and oxidative stress
- Increased muscle growth
- Improved insulin sensitivity leading to reduced Type 2 Diabetes risk
- Reduced hypertension and cholesterol
- Better cellular repair slowing the aging process
- Good for your brain function and reduce Alzheimers risk
- Better gene expression for protection again disease
What if I have an auto immune disease – is intermittent fasting safe for me
The answer is maybe
When you fast for a period of time it gives your cells time to recover, recycle and detoxify. It also increases your level of glutathione, our body’s master antioxidant. Glutathione is a powerful detoxifier.
If you are a woman and experiencing Hashimotos or Graves disease. Intermittent fasting may not be right for you. Thyroid hormones can be disrupted by this style of eating. Female hormones can sometimes be thrown out of balance from fasting causing changes to your menstrual cycle and sleep patterns. Best to listen to your body.
If you have adrenal fatigue this style of eating is not be right for you until your adrenal health has improved.
How to start intermittent fasting safely
Start with breakfast an hour or so later than usual and dinner an hour or so earlier.
Listen to how your body is coping. If all is going well stretch the fast time a bit longer, until you get to a fasting period that is right for you. If its not the full 16 hours don’t worry.
If it doesn’t feel right for you don’t push it. One size does not fit everyone.
Another way to benefit is to replace a meal or two with bone broth a couple of times a week. I have posted a great bone broth recipe on my facebook page.
Tips for success with intermittent fasting
- No snacking – every time your eat your insulin level rises and prevents fat burning.
- Leave 4 hours between meals to refuel digestive enzymes
- Have FIBRE, FAT and PROTEIN at every meal
- Eat meals at 10am, 2pm and 6pm or round about those times to suit your schedule
- Having most of your fasting period while you are asleep stops your craving food and giving in to the urge to snack
1. Try to include the following foods every day to improve immune function
- Vitamin C rich foods – lemons, broccoli, kiwi fruit, capsicum. tomatoes
- Vitamin D rich foods – salmon, sardines, eggs, beef
- Zinc rich foods – eggs, pumpkin seeds, nuts, beef, chicken, mushrooms, leafy greens, oysters
- Selenium rich foods – brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sardines, spinach, shitake mushrooms
- Antioxidant rich foods – blueberries, sweet potato, beetroot, cabbage, broccoli,
- Anti-inflammatory – garlic, fennel, onion, ginger, tumeric, cayenne pepper,pineapple, salmon, green leafy veges
2. Keep up your exercise regime
It’s really important to keep moving even when it’s cold and dark at 6 in the morning! Make sure you do some weight bearing exercise to support strength and bone health. Keep up your normal routine or do some new things you haven’t tried before like yoga or pilates which we now have at our clinic.
It is a beautiful time of the year for bush walking. We are enjoying the walk from Harry’s restaurant to the falls at Buderim. Or how about climbing Mt Coolum if you’ve never done it. Or go for long walks along the beach enjoying the salt air. Grab some friends and exercise together.. Here’s a pic of my business group and I at the peak of Mt Coolum.
3. Ensure good gut health and digestive function
Intermittent fasting is a good time to concentrate on improving your digestive function. Particularly if you experience bloating, wind, reflux, diarrhoea or constipation.
- take a course of a quality probiotic to repopulate your good bacteria colony (please ask me which probiotic is right for you)
- consume probiotic rich foods daily such as yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha
- consume prebiotic rich foods daily such as asparagus, onions, garlic, cabbage, beans, legumes, apples, root vegetables
- book in for a live blood analysis to check for gut bacteria, parasites and candida
- have a regular daily sleep schedule – same time to bed and to rise
- avoid caffeine and alchohol 4-6 hours before bed
- make your room as dark as you can
- avoid exercise for 3 hours before bed
- have a smaller meal at night to aid digestion
- spray essential oils onto your pillow or rub on the souls of your feet before bed – lavender, ylang ylang, bergamot, chamomile or whichever works for you
- exercise with a friend – walk, talk and laugh at the same time
- leave work at work
- find time to enjoy the people and things you love
- relax – have a massage or facial, read a book, walk along the beach, yoga
- make time for family outings
- breathe deeply
- get out in the sun regularly and soak up Vitamin D
- holiday at least 3 weeks at a time to truly leave work behind
- make life as enjoyable as you can don’t focus on the negatives
If you would like any advice from Kerri Abbott Naturopath on how to include intermittent fasting into your daily routine, please book an appointment.