Wellness Wednesday- Fasting
Fasting – the word itself sounds scary and impossible but this simple and powerful tool is a powerful healing modality. Nurse Fiona recommends introducing short, easy fasts into your daily routine so that your body has a chance to perform some internal maintenance.
Humans evolved during periods of regular feast and famine where our bodies were designed to go for periods of time without food. Fast-forward to the present day where we are surrounded by the temptation to eat, from the moment we wake to the time we go to sleep. Breakfast has this name for a reason – it is food consumed after breaking a fast.
As soon as you give your body a break from constant eating, incredible things start to happen. Think of our bodies like a house. Most of us the take time to regularly clean our houses, wash our dishes, clean our clothes but we don’t invest the same time into cleaning our insides of oxidative damage. We must give our bodies a chance to clean up the damage that builds up as a by-product of going about its daily functions.
Benefits of fasting
- Weight loss
Intermittent fasting can force your body to use up fat stores as fuel. When you eat your body uses glucose as its primary source of energy and stores whatever is left as glycogen in your muscles and liver. When you don’t give your body a steady stream of glucose, it begins breaking down the glycogen to use as fuel. After the glycogen has been depleted, your body seeks out alternative sources of energy, such as fat cells. (
- Improved blood sugar control
When we eat macronutrients, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose. When there is glucose in your bloodstream a hormone called insulin is released to shuttle glucose out of your bloodstream and into your cells to be used for energy. A high carbohydrate diet can lead to insulin resistance, which has been linked to diabetes, PCOS amongst many other conditions. Recent research has shown that fasting can reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. One particular study showed that fasting decreased blood sugar by 12 % and also lowered insulin levels by nearly 53 %. (2)
- Lower levels of inflammation
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have found that a compound produced by the body when fasting can block a part of the immune system involved in promoting inflammation. This study suggested that fasting may help with inflammatory disorders such as type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease (3)
- Supports mitochondria
- Improved immunity
- Liver support
Tip for fasting
- Get into the habit of eating all of your food within a 12 -hour time window for example 7am-7pm eat your food. Outside your eating window, stick to water or herbal tea.
- When you are comfortable with 12-hour fasts, you may choose to experiment with shorter eating windows on different days. If you do this, keep a journal of how the change makes you feel