The COVID-19 pandemic has got everyone scrambling to get healthy and stay healthy. The COVID-19 scare should cause us all to take time to focus on our health. Getting or staying healthy is always important but now, at least for some, it’s essential. Avoiding processed foods, sugar and simple carbohydrates, is a BIG step in the right direction.
In today’s blog I want to continue sharing ways you can get healthier as well as boost your immune system. One of the easiest ways to improve your health is to change your diet. Later on in this series I’ll share what is and isn’t a healthy diet. But today, let’s focus on a simple diet change that has shown itself, to be a valuable tool for improving health.
I realize this is contrary to what we have been told. Eating a big breakfast is as American as apple pie.
However, with new science we are learning that food has the power to make you healthier or make you sicker. Same for when you and how much you eat.
Fasting has been used for centuries.
From the ancient Greeks to Gandhi, fasting was advocated for either supporting your immune system or achieving dramatic positive health changes.
Fasting has been shown to have numerous health benefits including boosting your immune system.
A 2014 study by Valter Longo at USC, showed 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.
The study found that fasting for 3 days or longer–drinking only water and eating less than 200 calories per day–can truly “reset” and strengthen the immune system.
Unfortunately, a three-day fast is not practical for most people.
“When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged,” Longo said.
During each cycle of fasting, this depletion of white blood cells induces changes that trigger stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells.
Eating, digesting, detoxing, and then eliminating waste, requires a lot of energy. It diverts energy away from other body processes.
Eating triggers the immune system to increase inflammatory conditions to ward off any unwanted microorganisms (bugs) within the food.
Two major cytokines Interleukin-6 and Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha promote an inflammatory response in the body. Studies have shown that fasting reduces the release of these inflammatory mediators.
Calorie Restriction and Intermittent Fasting (IF)
As reported in a New England Journal of Medicine study, Rafael de Cabo and Mark Mattson reviewed multiple strategies for fasting. They found that Intermittent Fasting (short term fasting) and calorie restriction (similar to the 2Transformhealth.com diet) provides the same health benefits as extended fasting (2-3 days).
There are numerous health benefits to IF.
Cabo and Mattson reported that IF benefits included improvements in:
- Boosting immune function
- Boosts your metabolism
- Reducing elevated blood pressure
- Reduced heart rate
- Lower cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL levels
- Reduced glucose (blood sugar) and insulin levels
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduced oxidative stress
A study in the June 5 issue of the Cell Stem Cell shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage —and helps induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal. And fasting frees these white blood cells up to destroy dormant infections and other problematic areas.
IF will increase human growth hormone levels (which naturally decline as we age) by 1,300-2,000%. Human growth hormone helps to maintain, build, and repair healthy tissue in the brain and other organs. It can help to speed up healing after an injury and repair muscle tissue after exercise. This helps to build muscle mass, boost metabolism, and burn fat.
Frequent IF helps your body to become an efficient fat burner (lose that cellulite, and belly fat). Since it takes the average person 8-12 hours to burn through sugars stored in the body, your body will never burn fat, if you eat every 2-3 hours.
Here is how you do it-You fast 16 hours each day, by eating all of your food in a 6-hour or 8-hour window.
An example of this is to skip breakfast and eat all your food between noon and 8 pm.
Simply eat all your food within an eight-hour window and “fast” the other sixteen hours. It’s easier than it first appears, you’ll be asleep for 7-9 of those sixteen hours.
I recommend IF daily or 3-4 days a week to boost your immune system, increase your metabolism, help with losing or keeping weight off, and reducing inflammation.
Intermittent Fasting Protocol
Use this protocol to help heal up leaky gut, reduce allergies, boost your mental clarity, detox, boost human growth hormone (repairs and strengthen muscles, reduce fat, boost your metabolism, energy, mental clarity, and yes lose or maintain weight loss.
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is when you consume all your calories (food) you would normally in a 24 hour day, but in a 6-8 hour window.
This 16-18 hours of fasting allows your body to devote extra energy to repairing tissue, building muscle, burning fat instead of sugar, for fuel.
IF also allows your digestive system time to repair itself instead of expending energy to process foodstuff.
For those with adrenal fatigue, eating something, breaking the fast is important but periodic IF can have a powerful health affect on all tissues including the adrenal glands.
An example of IF is when you eat all your food/calories before 8pm and then the following day, skip breakfast, and then break your fast at noon.
You can go a little longer, but the goal is to fast for 16-18 hours at a time.
It is best to fast in the morning,
letting the 6-9 hours of sleep be the time when your body is doing the bulk of the fasting (and repair).
I routinely do IF Monday-Thursday and then become less vigilant on weekends with family functions.
This is a great time to clean up your diet. Try IF for a few days a week and see how you feel.
If you need to lose weight this is a good place to start. If you want to lose weight fast, usually half a pound a day, then check out the diet my patients use at
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