Constant access to food is a relatively recent phenomenon. For most of our history, food was something that had to be foraged for or hunted down, with limited options for long-term storage. Today, food is much easier to come by, leading to round-the-clock eating habits that can affect our health.
This is one reason intermittent fasting is gaining in popularity. By spending less time each day eating, we’re doing more than just consuming fewer calories. It’s giving our bodies a break from constantly digesting food, which helps us out in a lot of ways.
One of the benefits of fasting is that it supports gut health. What you eat, and when you eat, has a big effect on your microbiome, and also affects your digestive system as a whole.
Why gut health is important
Gut troubles are hard to ignore and can have a real impact on your quality of life. A healthy gut can also support your mood and brain function, as well as help ward off other health issues.
Diet is usually the source we go to first to support gut health. Eating a variety of microbiome-friendly foods like whole grains, vegetables, yogurt, and fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut is important for a healthy, happy gut.
Research is also showing that the timing of our meals, not just the contents, can have an impact on gut health, too.
3 ways intermittent fasting benefits gut health
When it comes to gut health, most of the focus is on the foods we eat. But it’s becoming more and more clear that when you eat (or rather, when you don’t eat) can play a big role in gut health, too.
Supports the microbiome
The gut is home to millions of microorganisms. The gut microbiome can change in response to what we eat, when we eat, and other health factors. These changes in the microbiome can be a good thing; diversity in the gut is something our bodies need. Intermittent fasting can improve gut microbiome diversity by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and reducing the growth of harmful bacteria.
One way to improve digestion? Give your body breaks from having to digest food. Digestion uses up a lot of energy, and if we’re eating all the time, our bodies have to dedicate extra energy to it. When it’s been a while (at least 12 hours) since you’ve eaten, on the other hand, your body gets some R&R, aka, rest and repair. This process is called autophagy. During this time, old or damaged cells are removed or repaired, which can help strengthen the gut lining and support the digestive system.
Supports a healthy gut-brain balance
There’s a strong link between gut health and brain health. It’s not uncommon to hear the gut referred to as the “second brain.” One benefit of intermittent fasting is that it helps modulate certain hormones and neurotransmitters related to digestive processes, like appetite and hunger (and even mood). Intermittent fasting helps your body keep up an overall healthy balance, which is one reason it gets easier to do once you’ve adjusted to a new schedule.
The easier route to intermittent fasting
Unicity’s Feel Great program was launched, in part, as a way to make intermittent fasting easier so more people can experience the amazing benefits of intermittent fasting. Balance and Unimate help extend the time between dinner and your first meal the next day, as well as provide nutrients that promote proper digestion.
Intermittent fasting can be a safe and effective way to support your overall health. If you have any health conditions or are pregnant or nursing, please consult your healthcare provider before starting any new health regimen. Learn more about Feel Great today, and how it can help you meet your health goals.