Is fasting for you?
Did you ever think about the word “breakfast”? It literally means to break the fast from the night before. Fasting has been around since the beginning. It is part of many religious practices and one of the commonalities of The Blue Zones is they all perform some type of fast.
There is so much conflicting information out there about what is healthy and what isn’t. It can be a little overwhelming, to say the least. I do not think nutrition is a one size fits all. Some people feel excellent on keto, others do well with a Mediterranean diet, while some enjoy a vegetarian-based diet. I believe we need to be more intuitive with our eating. We live these busy lives packed full of responsibilities and non-stop stimulation. I think as a whole we’ve lost touch with our physical bodies.
What is your body telling you?
To keep or regain health we need to slow down. We need to listen to the messages our body is sending. Do you have aches and pains? Do you wake up puffy and tired? Does your skin break out and is your hair dull? These are all signs you are inflamed. Your body is struggling to maintain its homeostasis (a fancy word for alignment).
I like to investigate ways to optimize my feeling of well being. Since I’m getting older I’m also understandably interested in the best ways to extend my life and keep the quality high.
Some universally healthy practices are eating a plant-rich (I eat meat, I just fill 3/4 of my plate with veggies) diet. Drinking at least 80-90 oz of water. Coffee (without all the sugar and dairy) and tea are also healthy and occasionally some wine (gotta enjoy!) Also, making sure that the quality of your food is the best that you can afford is super important. I chose organic vegetables and grass-fed/grass-finished proteins. Still, I struggle with a little extra weight around my middle. I think this is why they call it middle-age!!!! I also have some minor issues with thyroid function and my digestion. All autoimmune-related which tells me my body could be in better alignment.
The benefits of fasting
The word fasting is all over the internet as the latest dietary craze but it isn’t anything new. It does, however, have some great health benefits.
- Fasting promotes longevity. The process of autophagy, another fancy word that describes our cellular housekeeping process helps us live longer. During times of fasting, the body cleans up cellular debris which is very necessary for health and longevity.
- Fasting speeds up your metabolism. First, you’re obviously consuming fewer calories if you haven’t eaten for a whole day so that’s about 2,000 cal for the average American. Second, it increases our insulin sensitivity enabling our bodies to utilize the calories it does receive better. Metabolic flexibility is when the body can switch from burning carbohydrates to burning ketones for fuel. A healthy person is able to do this. Once your body can tap into its fat stores (and who doesn’t want that?!) it will begin to burn a greater percentage of fat for energy.
- Fasting boosts your immune system. When you fast the body activates its stem cells to repair and renew themselves.
- Fasting boosts your brain function. Fasting helps to boost your brain’s natural growth factors which aid in the survival and growth of our neurons. With Alzheimer’s on the rise who wouldn’t want to do something to preserve their cognitive function?
Fasting can be a healthy part of your wellness practices
Fasting, like every other health practice out there, isn’t for everyone and it shouldn’t be used as a primary way to lose weight. People with disordered eating practices might want to refrain from fasting. Anyone struggling with significant health issues also needs to be careful with a fast. As always a great first step in taking control of your health is a full checkup with blood work. Wellness practices and the sense of physical well being come from caring for our bodies. Fasting is a worthwhile practice that can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle to boost well being.
The information shared by Tracey L. Cassara RNC is for educational purposes and is intended to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. You should always consult with your physician before starting a fitness regimen, adding supplements to your diet regimen, or any other changes that can affect your medications or treatment plan. This information is not to be used to diagnose or treat any condition. Tracey L. Cassara, RNC is not liable for how you use and implement the information you receive.