This is something that really interests me and I am going to embark on to see how it effects me. Following on from chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment I was acutely aware how my gut microbiome had been effected. I am once again having milk kefir daily and water kefir and kombucha regularly – things I wasn’t allowed to have during treatment because of their powerful probiotic powers.
There are numerous studies showing that intermittent fasting can have benefits for our bodies and brains. For me, the main reason I want to do this is to improve my gut health. One particular species of bacteria (Akkermansia) thrive when fasting occurs and they strengthen the gut wall and reduce inflammation.
When we don’t eat for a while our bodies initiate important cellular repair processes and changes hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible. Insulin levels drop and human growth hormone increases. Studies show that intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body.
There seem to be 6 different popular methods and which one fits best will depend on the individual.
- 16/8 – fast for 16 hours a day. Generally recommended that women only fast for 14-15 hours. On each day eating is restricted to an 8-10 hour window.
- 5:2 – eat normally for 5 days of the week and restrict calories to 500-600 on two days a week – popularised by Dr Michael Mosley.
- Eat-stop-eat – do a 24 hour fast once or twice a week
- Alternate day fasting – either not eating every other day or restricting calories to 500-600.
- Warrior diet – only eat small amounts of raw vegetables and fruits during the day and then eat one huge meal at night.
- Spontaneous meal skipping – simply skip 1 or 2 meals a day when you don’t feel hungry.
For me, the 16/ 8 …or because I’m a woman -14/10 style of intermittent fasting is the type that I feel will fit with my lifestyle. So from now on my breakfast will really be breaking the fast 🙂 Of course, during the fasting hours drinking water/herbal tea is to be continued as normal.
Would love to read about your experiences of fasting.