Intermittent Fasting to Boost Your Immune System
When you think about boosting your immune system, you probably think of consuming an array of supplements, vitamins and health foods that are touted to improve your body’s defenses. But what if we told you that one of the best ways to reset and boost your immune system is by eliminating foods? Back in 2014, a study conducted by USC’s Valter Longo, who studies aging and longevity, demonstrated that a three-day fast triggered the immune system to start producing new white blood cells, which are a large component of your immune system. But even more recently, a study just published in December 2019 found similar effects from intermittent fasting, specifically a 6-hour eating window and 18 hour fasting time.
These findings claim that this pattern of eating, or rather fasting, “can trigger a metabolic switch from glucose-based to ketone-based energy, with increased stress resistance, increased longevity, and a decreased incidence of diseases, including cancer and obesity.” What this basically means, is that removing the constant doses of glucose, which most of us get through our multiple daily meals, switches your body to ketone metabolism, which brings with it multiple health benefits. While the weight-loss benefits
Interestingly, this insight is also supported by holistic or Eastern medicine, which states that in our society, the vast majority of diseases rise from an excess in bodily heat and dampness caused by overeating rich, greasy foods. These include red meats, intoxicants, fried foods, eggs, cheese and other dairy products, highly seasoned, sweet, salty or processed foods. If this sounds like the basis of your diet, you wouldn’t be alone. A vast majority of the U.S. population consumes these types of foods in excess. When the body can no longer tolerate this excess it starts to manifest in the form of various diseases. But it also depletes your entire system and leaves it vulnerable for external attacks from viruses and germs.
So what does 18 hours without solid foods look like? You can choose to set your own 6-hour window, but let’s say you choose 12:00pm – 6:00pm. While you’re allowed your morning dose of caffeine, you’ll really want to focus on keeping up your hydration level so don’t go overboard on the cups of coffee. Instead, drink plenty of water and herbal tea. One of the best ways to promote more water intake is by making your own fruit or herbal infusions and keeping them close by. If you don’t already own one, our travel tumbler/infusers can go anywhere and look so good, you’ll never want to put them down.
When you do eat, you aren’t technically limited to any diet. However, your entire body including its immune system will greatly benefit from switching to a more whole-food diet. That means stocking up on unprocessed fruits and vegetables - especially the colorful ones as these tend to have the highest concentrations of vitamins and nutrients. Consuming whole foods will also offer plenty of antioxidants to help regenerate and revitalize your body.
Please note that it is extremely important to take precautions and speak to your doctor before starting any fasting regime, as it may cause adverse reactions in certain people. However, the recent findings of the benefits of intermittent fasting may be encouraging to those of us who aren’t prepared for drastic measures, but want a way to reset and recharge our immune defenses.