There are many different approaches to fasting. For those looking to make a long term lifestyle change, it’s about finding a pattern of eating that works for you. Depending on past or current health issues, you should always consult a healthcare professional before making changes to your health plan. Intermittent fasting is more about scheduling the consumption of your calories over specific periods of time for your body to get the most out of them.
Although more detailed research is needed, fasting has been linked to improving your gut health and overall well being. Intermittent fasting (IF) can be an excellent strategy for those who want to:
- start losing body fat
- improve gastrointestinal issues and energy levels
- reduce cardiovascular risk factors
Keep reading in order to learn the benefits of fasting for gut health.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting has been trending in the health and fitness industry for the past few years. For many, it’s effective. For many it’s an easy lifestyle change that can quickly deliver holistic benefits. One of the most attractive things about intermittent fasting: flexibility. Not only can you choose a schedule that works with your current work/life balance, but it also allows you to eat full meals! No stressing over counting calories or eliminating entire food groups.
During your fasting hours: only consume black coffee or tea and water, but no foods. When eating: eat regularly because there are technically no other dietary restrictions. This makes it especially ideal for people with food allergies or sensitivities to maintain a diet that includes their favorite foods. Like any habit, it may take a couple of weeks of your new structured eating pattern to get over the adjustment period and see substantial improvements.
The Benefits of Fasting for Gut Health
How Can Intermittent Fasting Improve Gut Health?
Much of your immune system and hormonal receptors are located in your gut. Your gut bacteria play an essential role in:
- regulating your mood
- protecting your immune system
- getting the most nutrition out of your food
Ways fasting improves gut health
There are two main ways in which intermittent fasting can improve gut health.
Firstly, it offers your body a much-needed break from the constant process of digestion. For conditions like SIBO or Candida, this break can help starve “bad” bacteria being overproduced, causing uncomfortable symptoms. It may also improve the composition of your friendly gut flora. Antibiotics are used to treat many infections and illnesses. Antibiotics can cause damaging side effects. One solution: help your body heal itself by eradicating the build-up of bacteria and encouraging the redistribution of the good bacteria between both intestines during this break.
The second way: rebalances your gut health by resetting your circadian rhythm. Your internal body clock is something you probably don’t monitor. Still, building and maintaining healthy sleep patterns is a critical step in reestablishing a healthy internal system. Many types of gut microbes oscillate in activity during the day and night, mostly run off their own circadian rhythm. Constant disruptions in these rhythms caused by lack of sleep or irregular eating can disrupt your microbiome and end up negatively impacting your metabolic health.
Intermittent Fasting Is Not A Cure All
As great as Intermittent Fasting is, it is always important to remember that it is not a magic fix for all your health and fitness problems. Many processed foods and excess sugar can wreak havoc on your gut and sabotage your efforts. It’s often recommended that you focus on getting as many calories as possible from well balanced, nutritionally dense meals. For those primarily concerned with building up their immune system and improving their gut health, it is essential to try incorporating a good amount of fermented, cultured, and probiotic-rich foods.
- other fermented veggies or foodstuffs containing favorable live bacteria
have been shown to improve the proliferation of good flora in your gut. If weight loss is your primary goal, pairing your fasting schedule with a good exercise regime is critical. Start small with daily walks, guided yoga classes, or brief 30-min home workouts is a great way to build up your strength and endurance.
If you are suffering from a specific gut problem or another chronic medical issue it’s crucial to work with a specialist familiar with your medical history and your current condition before making changes.
Intermittent fasting is an excellent complimentary lifestyle change that will likely help enhance prescribed gut-healing efforts. It’s something that can be easily maintained or adjusted as you learn what works best to keep you and your gut healthy and happy.
About the Writer: Gwen Lewis is a writer, and makeup artist, based in Southern California. Because of her passion for beauty and health, she hopes to help others not just look great, but feel great, whether through makeup, or her writing. In her free time, she enjoys shopping, and pick-up soccer games with her friends. Check her out on Twitter at @GwenEveLewis.