Introduction & History
Intermittent fasting (IF) is not a new concept in the health and wellness field. In fact, fasting has been practiced as long as mankind has existed. The early practice of fasting was to train the body to survive times of food shortages. Today, fasting is still commonly used by many for cultural, spiritual, or religious reasons.
Firstly, let us clarify that IF is not a diet. It is an eating pattern, and it is certainly not a process of starvation. Fasting and starvation are not the same. Fasting is voluntary and you can start or stop at any time while starvation is forced with no alternatives.
Put simply, IF involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating. When you think about it most people already “fast” every day, while they sleep. IF can be as simple as extending that fast a little longer. There are different recommended IF regimes and we would suggest you seek professional input before incorporating IF into your dietary approach.
How fasting can improve your health and wellness
Wellness; the process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life.
So, how does fasting improve our health and wellbeing? Intermittent fasting not only allows your body to perform its repairing and detoxifying processes more efficiently but also helps to create mental awareness of understanding hunger feelings and to conquer the fear of being hungry. Fasting activates a conditioning response by the body, which kind of acts as a survival mode to adjust to the lack of incoming energy. The survival response creates a beneficial metabolic shift from a growth state, to a focused maintenance stage. This state allows the body time to regenerate, repair cells, and to secrete waste. It gives our system a break from dealing with the constant influx of chemicals and bacteria we are inhaling, eating, and soaking into our skin.
Benefits of intermittent fasting, backed by science
Although fasting has become increasingly popular over recent years for its weight loss results, it has many more benefits for overall health, let’s explore some:
Assists in weight loss
Intermittent fasting promotes weight loss, especially focusing on the reduction of belly fat. This is mainly due to lowering the usual daily calories by missing a meal.
Fights oxidative stress
Free radicals are rogue cells in our body that can damage our healthy cells when there is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants. This is known as oxidative stress. Free radicals can be a result of metabolic processes and waste, but can also result from factors such as smoking and drinking, a diet high in sugar, pollution, and chemicals. Studies have shown that IF reduces oxidative stress and protects cells from DNA damage and suppressing cell growth which works to prevent the formation of cancers. IF also works to combat this damage because you are restraining your cells from glucose which is a form of sugar and sugar promotes inflammation of the cells.
Reduces the risk of chronic conditions
You may be able to reduce your risk of several metabolic and age-related diseases by fasting. This includes diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and strokes.
Promotes the growth of good bacteria for a healthy gut
Studies have investigated the impact of fasting on the gut microbiota (bacteria) and have found good news for our gut health. The process of IF boosts the levels of good bacteria in our gut, and decreases the amount of bad bacteria. Why is gut health so important? Poor gut health can be linked to depression, poor immunity, inflammation, sleeping problems, skin eruptions, and many other conditions.
IF can reduce harmful inflammation which is the biomarker for many diseases, fasting works by decreasing the number of inflammation inducing cells (monocytes) in the blood.
Help you have better awareness of whether you are actually hungry or not!
We believe it is important for people to learn how to accurately decipher the signals your body gives you, and intermittent fasting is a great way to understand the cycle of hunger. Before true hunger sets in and the body, if not fed, you’ll feel pangs of “hunger” that can generally be attributed to psychological cravings. This emotional desire is confused with hunger all the time, but fasting will give people trying (IF) an opportunity to experience real “hunger pains” in the stomach.
What is involved in intermittent fasting ?
There are several IF approaches which involve different periods of time that you fast. While practicing a fast, you restrain from eating foods, as well as any beverages that contain calories. You can consume water, black tea and coffee, or certain herbal teas.
Here is an example of a common IF regime, known as the 16/8 method.
You can do this by missing breakfast, eating your first meal at noon and your last meal at 8 pm the day before.
Then you’re technically fasting for 16 hours, and restricting your eating to an 8-hour eating window.
Intermittent Fasting can be a positive way to take back control of your health and achieve a number of health goals you may need to tackle, although fasting is not suited for everyone. It is important to seek professional support so you thoroughly understand IF and are adapting this method into your lifestyle in a way that will suit your own personal needs.
If you would like to embark on an IF routine, we have put our fasting knowledge and experience together to bring you an Intermittent Fasting Guide. The guide explains the practice of fasting, complete instructions on how to do a successful, healthy fast, and also provides a meal plan to follow.
Or alternatively if you wish to speak to one of our practitioners individually please use the contact form HERE to send us your details so that we can make contact with you.
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