How Intermittent Fasting Can Improve Gut Health
Intermittent fasting has become the world’s top lifestyle trends in the past few years, and there is a reason for it. For most people – It is an incredibly safe, effective and sustainable way to lose weight, boost energy levels, reduce hunger and optimise health. *
An often-overlooked benefit is the positive effect that Intermittent Fasting can have on Gut Health. Researchers have found that beyond its benefits on your body and brain, Intermittent Fasting could favourably influence the balance of beneficial gut flora that protects against metabolic syndrome, a cluster of issues that include high blood, insulin resistance and high levels of visceral fat.
Why is Gut Health Important?
Firstly, let’s look at why gut health is important.
The gut microbiome is a vast ecosystem of organisms such as bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses and protozoans, that live in our digestive pipes. Collectively, these organisms weigh up to 2kg (heavier than the average brain).
Scientists are now recognising it as an organ in its own right. Each gut contains about 100 trillion bacteria, many of which are vital, breaking down food and toxins, making vitamins and training our immune systems.
Over the past decade, research has suggested the gut microbiome might potentially be as complex and influential as our genes when it comes to our health and happiness. As well as being implicated in mental health issues, it’s also thought the gut microbiome may influence our athleticism, weight, immune function, inflammation, allergies, metabolism and appetite.
Our diets can dramatically change our gut microbe communities, although the science of how this contributes to human health and disease is still early in its development. We know from a variety of animal and human studies that what we eat, such as the relative amounts of fats, carbohydrates and proteins that we consume, can remodel the microbial communities living in our guts.
However, when we eat can also impact our gut microbiomes, and thus our metabolic health.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Improve Gut Health?
There are two main ways in which Intermittent Fasting can improve gut health.
Giving your body a break from constant digestion
Firstly, fasting gives your overworked gut a break from energy-intensive tasks like digesting and assimilating food. It has been shown to reduces something called postprandial endotoxemia, which has been found to increase the risk for obesity and insulin resistance. And potentially, it can improve the composition of your friendly gut flora.
Living in sync with your body clock
The second reason is that fasting benefits our gut bacteria because of our circadian rhythm – our internal body clock. This is another reason why it is so important to learn how to live in sync with your body clock.
Believe it or not, our gut microbes also have a circadian rhythm. Many types of gut microbes oscillate in activity and abundance throughout the day and night. For example, the gut microbe Enterobacter aerogenes is sensitive to melatonin (the “sleep” hormone). It is found in our guts and plays a role in fermenting sugars and producing gas. It can also cause opportunistic infections when spread to other tissues or when its relative abundance increases due to antibiotic treatment.
Disruption of the human circadian clock, for example through mutations in circadian clock genes, jetlag, or eating late at night, can cause disruption in the microbiome and can potentially negatively impact our metabolic health.
We are just starting to understand how intermittent fasting may impact gut health and microbiomes, and how this may, in turn, explain some of the health benefits of going without calories for extended periods of time (12+ hours) on a regular basis.
Scientific research, mostly in animal models, is revealing that intermittent fasting may restore microbe diversity in the gut, increase tolerance against “bad” gut microbes, and restore the integrity of the intestinal epithelium.
5 Tips to Consider When Implementing Intermittent Fasting for Gut Health
Try The 2 Meal Day
I created The 2 Meal Day through years of experimentation with different methods of Intermittent Fasting, and after realising there wasn’t a method that encouraged it to become a way of life, I developed The 2 Meal Day – the simplest and most effective method of Intermittent Fasting.
Intermittent Fasting is not a magic fix
As great as Intermittent Fasting is, it is always important to remember that it is not a magic fix for all your health and fitness problems.
If you suffer from specific gut problems, work with a doctor or someone who specializes in gut health to heal your gut. Intermittent Fasting will complement and enhance those gut-healing efforts, and once you’ve healed, will help you better maintain that happy gut.
Eat Real Food!
Processed food and sugar can wreak havoc on your gut and overall health while sabotaging your fasting efforts. I recommend limiting foods like cakes, biscuits, crisps, sweets and milk chocolate as much as possible.
If you are not sure where to start with this tip, take a look at what’s on my food shopping list. This is also a perfect starting point for beginning your 2 Meal Day Intermittent Fasting plan.
Incorporate plenty of fermented and cultured foods
A number of fermented and cultured foods can support the growth and proliferation of your “good” bacteria. Among them include cultured foods like yogurt or kefir, fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, and kimchi, as well as cultured beverages containing favorable live bacteria such as kombucha. If you’re not regularly eating these and other foods, you could try Symprove, which I have been using recently.
The 2 Meal Day plan contains many of these ingredients and is ready-made to help you combine Intermittent Fasting with improvements to your gut health.
You can start your own 2 Meal Day journey for a one-off payment of £49. This will give you full access to your very own tailored Intermittent Fasting Fat Loss Plan with over 80 recipes, hours of Workout Videos, A Comprehensive Intermittent Fasting Guides, and Unlimited Email Support. This could be the best decision you make for health and wellbeing! Find out more
Remember, gut health is affected by more than just your diet
Even when you’re doing everything correctly diet-wise, things like chronic stress, bad sleep, and lack of exercise can all affect your gut microbiome. In two recent studies (one rodent and the other human), when researchers isolated and stabilized other factors that might alter the intestinal microbiota, they found exercise alone could positively affect your gut microbes.
Improving Your Gut Health with Intermittent Fasting
Remember Intermittent Fasting is not a magic pill that will fix all your problems, however when used effectively in conjunction with other lifestyle changes it can profoundly affect your health and wellbeing on so many different levels!
Every single one of you that are reading this will be coming in with a different level of Intermittent Fasting experience. Some of you might not have even started fasting yet, and I hope this article gives you an idea of some of the wider and less publicised benefits of following my 2 Meal Day Intermittent Fasting plan.
For others, this may serve as a reminder that your fasting can be used for some many other purposes and it may alter the approach that you are currently taking with your diet, exercise, sleep or your lifestyle in general.
Whatever your circumstances, I think we can all agree on one thing – having a healthy gut is a very good thing and I hope this article has helped you discover a little bit more about how Intermittent Fasting can improve your gut health!
- Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
- Why 2 Meal Day Could Change Your Life This Year?
- The Three Pillars of Health You Need To Focus On This Year
- Why Fast? What’s it all about?
*As long as you have no pre-existing medical conditions, are not pregnant and don’t have a history of eating disorders.