Probably one of the biggest trends in the diet world is fasting.
In fact, over the last few years, fasting (whether intermittent, alternate day or once to twice a week) has become a phenomenon. And people around the world are using it for everything from losing weight and detoxifying to boosting metabolism and promoting longevity.
Now, a new study published in Cell by Mount Sinai researchers has proven that fasting should not be dismissed as simply a fad.
In fact, they’ve discovered fasting could be the secret weapon we’ve been searching for to fight the root cause of chronic disease…
Fasting puts inflammatory cells to sleep
You’ve probably already heard of the Inflammation Theory of Disease — but if not, here’s a quick overview.
While acute inflammation (the kind that happens quickly and goes away quickly in response to an injury or illness) is a normal immune process that helps fight off infections, chronic inflammation can have serious consequences for your health.
In fact, scientists now believe that chronic inflammation causes and advances many of our most common and worst diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel diseases.
So, those Mount Sinai researchers set out to find a way to put an end to inflammation — at least the disease-causing kind.
They already knew that caloric restriction had been shown to improve inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. However, the mechanisms behind how caloric restriction controlled inflammation had never been understood.
Working with both human and mouse immune cells, the team discovered that intermittent fasting reduces the release of pro-inflammatory cells called monocytes (a type of white blood cell).
And they also found that during periods of fasting, these cells go into “sleep mode” and are less inflammatory than monocytes found in your blood when you eat.
This means that fasting reduces your risk of chronic inflammation and the disease it causes in three very important ways.
Inflammation fighting tips
So, if you want to ward off inflammation, fasting might be the surest way to accomplish your goal.
Fasting options to consider include:
16/8 Method — In this type of intermittent fasting, you eat only during an eight hour window and then fast the other 16 hours per day.
5:2 — This twice a week fast allows you to eat anything you want for five days and then eat only 500-600 calories the other two days of the week.
Alternate Day — This method of fasting is exactly as it sounds. Simply fast every other day — eating for 12 hours and then fasting for 36 hours.
However, fasting is not so easy. But don’t worry, in addition to fasting, there are other proven ways to lower inflammation levels in your body. You can:
#1 — Inflammation-proof your diet
Some types of food and drink are inflammation waiting to happen while others can help you lower your levels to feel better.
In fact, according to James Gray, M.D., a cardiologist at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, “Your food choices are just as important as the medications and supplements you may be taking for overall health since they can protect against inflammation.”
Inflammation fighting foods include fresh fruits and veggies, cold water fish and healthy fats such as olive oil and avocadoes.
Some of the best fruits to include are grapes, blueberries and other superfruits. You can either eat these fresh or use a superfruit supplement.
Foods to avoid since they’re known to skyrocket inflammation include processed and fried foods, foods laden with trans fats such as corn oil and margarine, refined sugars, white foods (breads, pastas, rice) and red meat.
#2 — Exercise
Regular physical activity is a great way to lower your inflammation levels naturally while also supporting the health of your heart, brain, joints and more.
Shoot for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise plus an additional 10 minutes of resistance training at least four times a week for the best results.
#3 — Manage stress
Stress and inflammation go hand in hand so managing your stress also gives you a great way to manage your inflammation levels and fight off disease. You can do yoga, meditate, get a massage, read a good book, or take a warm bath. The only right answer is the one that works for you.
Inflammation could be behind the worst diseases of our time but knowing that arms you with the information you need to stay health. Use the tips above, including fasting to turn off inflammation and live better, longer.