How intermittent fasting fuels your microbiome

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intermittent-fasting(NaturalHealth365)  The International Food Information Council (IFIC) recently conducted a survey that shows 10% of those living in the United States fast intermittently.  Intermittent fasting is becoming more popular with each passing year for good reason.

Chinese researchers recently published a study in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology detailing how intermittent fasting enhances the gut microbiome.  Intermittent fasting is especially helpful for obese individuals.  This is your inside look at the study, including its somewhat surprising findings.

Shed those pesky pounds with a focus on your gut bacteria

Recent findings illustrate the pivotal role of gut microbiome diversity in weight management and overall health enhancement.  Within the human body, the microbiome is a bustling community of bacteria, viruses, microbes, and, notably, archaea – single-cell organisms distinct for their absence of cellular nuclei.  On average, an adult’s microbiome boasts a complex ensemble of around 1,000 unique bacterial species.

A noteworthy study has spotlighted the potential of fasting in enhancing the gut’s microbial balance, particularly in individuals with diminished microbial diversity – a prevalent issue among those grappling with obesity.

Researchers from China delved into the intricacies of intermittent energy restriction (IER), commonly known as fasting.  This approach involves maintaining standard portion sizes on regular days but interspersing them with periods of fasting or stringent caloric restriction.  The tangible benefits of this method manifest in the form of enhanced microbiome diversity and reduced intestinal permeability, both crucial factors linked to weight loss.

While the study encompassed a modest cohort of 25 overweight or severely obese participants, its findings were compelling.  These individuals, free from other major health conditions, underwent a structured dietary regimen over four days.  The researchers documented their energy intake during regular meals and juxtaposed these observations with data from fasting or caloric-restricted phases.

SHOCKING PROBIOTICS UPDATE: Discover the True Value of Probiotics and How to Dramatically Improve Your Physical, Mental and Emotional Wellbeing with ONE Easy Lifestyle Habit.

The study demanded regular collection of blood and stool samples.  Additionally, participants underwent evaluations assessing:

  • Body fat composition
  • Blood pressure levels
  • Total body weight
  • Waist circumference

Over two months, intermittent fasting emerged as a potent tool, facilitating a significant 7.8% reduction in body weight among obese participants.  Furthermore, fasting initiated notable shifts in the gut microbiota composition, evident in the decline of Escherichia coli and the rise of beneficial bacteria such as Bacteroides, Parabacteroides, and Faecalibacterium.

Practical ways to diversify your gut microbiome

Fermented foods and beverages help boost microbiome diversity while simultaneously reducing inflammatory proteins.  Examples of fermented foods and beverages include:

It will also help to expand your fiber intake, consuming apples, raisins, prunes, and prebiotic supplements for even more microbiota diversification.

Dietary fiber plays a crucial role in our digestive health.  These edible carbohydrate compounds, composed of multiple monomers, act as a defense mechanism against harmful endogenous enzymes in our gastrointestinal system.  By doing so, they help minimize the accumulation of these enzymes in our digestive organs.

Moreover, dietary fibers interact synergistically with organisms in the microbiome, fostering an environment that promotes beneficial microbial diversity.  Found abundantly in various foods, dietary fiber sources include vegetables, seeds, nuts, and fruits.

Of course, we should mention that a true “fast” is all about avoiding any food or drink for at least 24 hours.  But, having said that, ‘intermittent fasting’ does have health benefits.  Just be sure to favor organic produce to minimize the harmful effects of pesticides, whenever you decide to eat.

For those seeking to incorporate more fiber-rich foods into their diet, options like organic black beans, lentils, split peas, avocados, and sweet potatoes are excellent choices.  And, one final note, try to avoid eating late at night for a better night’s sleep and a “jump start” on all those hours you give a rest to digesting food.

Sources for this article include:

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