Fasting of any kind requires a strong and dedicated mindset but the immune system benefits are definitely worth it!
Dr. Longo and colleagues at USC found that fasting lowered white blood cell counts, which in turn triggered the immune system to start producing new white blood cells. White blood cells (or lymphocytes) are a key component of your body’s immune system. Once you start eating again, according to Longo, your stem cells kick back into high gear to replenish the cells that were recycled.
For years, the verdict was that you would need to fast for 72-hours straight to get the immune system benefits. Because for it to work, you have to fully deplete your energy reserves (in the form of glycogen), and it takes your body at least 24 hours, and probably 48 hours or more, to do this. That's the not-so-good news. Because fasting or 72-hours straight doesn’t sound so great especially during these stressful times.Here’s the good news: Recent studies have proved that you can get many of the benefits of fasting without doing a 3-day fast, which for most people is really, really difficult to accomplish. Instead, you can try a much easier type of fasting, called "time-restricted" fasting also known as intermittent fasting.
With this strategy, you fast every day, by eating all of your food in a 6-hour or 8-hour window. Here are a couple of options to choose from:
Fasting is Your Immune System Superpower Here are some science-back benefits of I-F: lower blood pressure; resting heart rate; levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, and insulin resistance. In addition, intermittent fasting reduces markers of systemic inflammation and oxidative stress that are associated with atherosclerosis. Because intermittent fasting reduces inflammation, it may also improve symptoms of arthritis and even rheumatoid arthritis. But the big benefit, the one we really care about right now, intermittent fasting boosts our immune system powers!
Time to get nerdy for a bit, you can skip ahead of nerdy-nutrition science puts you to sleep… lol.
Why does fasting work? It's all about getting your body to switch over from glucose metabolism to ketone metabolism. Our usual 3-5 meal-a-day diet provides our body with a constant source of fuel in the form of glucose. Once that glucose is used up, though, our body switches to using fatty acids and ketone bodies. Ketone bodies provide more than fuel.
Ketone bodies regulate the expression and activity of many proteins and molecules that are known to influence health and aging and boost immunity to viruses and infections.
Ketone metabolism brings a host of health benefits. The trick is getting our bodies to switch over to it, now and then. If we eat constantly, then our bodies happily subsist on glucose and never make the switch.
In a nutshell: The more ketones we can produce the stronger our immune system gets. Accelerated metabolism is also a Bonus!
So, as of today start taking the steps to move all your meals into an 8-hour eating window.
If this change seems intimidating, start with a 10-hour window and cut it down by :30 minutes each day until you get to the 8-hour window. You will still eat the same amount of food each day you will just eat in a smaller period of time.
I like to workout out in a fasted state. But try both and see which one works best for you.
Happy Intermittent Fasting. This is a game-changer!