Research Roundup #3: This Week’s Fasting News from Around the Web
THE LATEST NEWS AND RESEARCH UPDATES ON FASTING
Welcome to the Fast Insider News Roundup
Every week, we’re bringing you a round-up of the latest fasting, health, and wellness news to hit the wire. There are many ways that fasting converges with lifestyle to improve change day to day life as we know it. This week, we look at intermittent fasting’s potential to boost immunity against COVID-19 infection, how sleep experts wind down in this age of anxiety, and whether or not a smoothie is the best choice to break your fast.
Boosting Your Body’s Immune Response with Intermittent Fasting
With no vaccine yet approved for the coronavirus, researchers have begun looking at tools to boost the body’s immune response to better help people survive the disease if they are exposed, including intermittent fasting (IF).
Because IF’s calorie restriction activates autophagy, the body’s process of cleaning out damaged cells to regenerate newer, healthier cells, scientists speculate that it could be a powerful tool in boosting immunity and fighting this infection. COVID-19, like other pathogenic coronaviruses, infects host cells by binding with a receptor in pulmonary alveolar epithelial cells, taking over their machinery, and causing damage to the cells. Autophagy can stimulate the production of antibodies to a virus, encouraging immune-mediated cells to release antibodies and cytokines to fight the infection, ultimately resulting in adaptive immunity. In addition to priming the body’s immunity system, fasting-induced autophagy can improve cellular resistance to stress by increasing the metabolic buffering capacity of the cells. It also has been shown to reduce biomarkers associated with inflammation in asthma patients. However, patients who test positive for the disease should discontinue IF during treatment, as it could put them at risk of nutritional deficiency essential for the immune system. In addition, during fasting, it’s important to get essential micronutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc that can also help boost immunity and anti-stress mechanisms.
Anxiety Keeping You Up? Try These Five Sleep Tips
There’s certainly plenty to keep us up at night this year, between the pandemic, racial injustice, and the election. We’re both too affected by the outside world and too cut off from it, sleep experts said, and that’s wreaking havoc on the quality of our sleep. Here are some of the tips sleep experts use to quiet their mind and get more shut-eye.
- Make your bedroom a place for rest. Don’t check the news or have stressful conversations in bed before you turn in.
- Wake up at the same time each morning and go to bed only when you’re genuinely sleepy and are having trouble keeping your eyes open. On days when you didn’t have much activity, tuck-in time may be later.
- Move your body a little bit each day, preferably outside. Exercise releases endorphins which boosts our mood and ability to handle stressors, which in turn, improves sleep. Moreover, exposing your body to as much sunlight as possible preps the brain for sleep when it gets dark. Even a short walk when the sun is out or sitting in the backyard can be helpful, experts said.
- Keep to a routine of regular meals during your eating window. Eating at regular intervals keeps the circadian
rhythm synchronized to the passage of the day.
- Engage in mindless activities before bed such as folding clothes or washing dishes. Journal to get anxiety-inducing thoughts out of your head. Or try listening to a less-than-stimulating audiobook or doing a visualization or body scan meditation in bed to distract the mind.
Should You Drink That First Meal?
It’s no secret that sugary starches aren’t the best choices to break your fast. But is there a hierarchy among healthy choices for that first meal of the day? Are smoothies a solid choice or should you turn to solid food? Both have advantages, said Ellie Krieger, RD, nutritionist, and host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite. Smoothies are good because the blending process can release more nutrients by breaking op the cell walls of food. Chewing does this too, but a blender can get those particles even more fine. Eating solid food slows you down so you can register when you feel full and the act of chewing releases satiety hormones in the gut, making you feel satisfied. But even blended meals rated high on the fullness scale. A 2012 study found that people who consumed roast chicken and vegetables blended into a soup felt fuller longer in comparison to those who ate the same meal in solid form. The bottom line is as long as you are eating whole food with the right balance of nutrients at your first meal, you’re winning.
Fasting.com is committed to investigating and reporting on the many ways fasting, health, nutrition, and wellness can help all of us rise to meet the challenges we face in life and, in doing so, liberates us to live our lives, longer and better. Together, especially when we are healthy and happy, we can address the world’s greatest problems.
Check-in weekly for our research round-up and look forward to even more in-depth fasting science coverage, analysis, and takeaways in the near future.
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