Those who want to reduce weight, get healthier, or even live longer are increasingly following the trend of intermittent fasting. Yet if you’re sick, you might be unsure if it’s okay to keep fasting or whether it would be wiser to break your fast and eat normally. This article will discuss intermittent fasting and if it is safe to practice while ill.
Intermittent fasting: What is it?
An eating pattern known as intermittent fasting alternates between periods of fasting and eating. Intermittent fasting comes in a variety of forms, including:
- The 16/8 Method calls for a 16-hour period of fasting and an 8-hour interval for eating.
- The 5:2 method entails eating regularly for five days and limiting calories to 500–600 for two days.
- Alternate-day Fasting: This involves eating normally on non-fasting days while fasting every other day.
Weight loss, better blood sugar regulation, lower inflammation, and enhanced heart health are just a few of the health advantages of intermittent fasting. There are, however, a few possible drawbacks to take into account.
When you’re ill, is intermittent fasting safe?
Your body need more energy and nutrition while you are ill in order to fight off the infection or illness. Fasting during this period might not be a good choice because it could deny your body of the nutrition it needs to heal. Yet, because it depends on the nature of the fasting you’re doing and the degree of your condition, there is no definitive answer as to whether or not intermittent fasting is safe when you’re ill.
As long as you can eat enough nutrient-dense meals during your eating window, you might be able to maintain intermittent fasting even if you have a small illness like the flu or a cold. But, it’s crucial to put your health first and give your body the nutrients it needs to recuperate if you have a more serious sickness or a compromised immune system.
Considerations and Safety Measures
- There are a few things to take into account and safety measures to take into account if you choose to continue intermittent fasting while you’re ill:
- Maintaining enough hydration is crucial, particularly while you’re sick. Bone broth, herbal tea, and water are all sensible choices.
- Consume nutrient-dense foods to ensure that you are getting adequate vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients during your eating window. Put an emphasis on full, nutrient-dense foods including fruits, whole grains, veggies, and lean meats.
- Observe your body: Pay attention to how you’re feeling and change your eating or fasting schedule as necessary. You might need to break your fast and eat something if you’re feeling weak or exhausted.
- Consult your physician: Before beginning intermittent fasting or continuing it while you’re ill, it’s crucial to talk to your doctor if you have a pre-existing ailment or are taking medication.
Intermittent fasting advantages
Many health advantages of intermittent fasting have been connected, including:
- Weight loss: By lowering calorie intake and raising fat burning, intermittent fasting may aid in weight loss.
- Intermittent fasting may help to increase insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation, which may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Decreased inflammation: It has been demonstrated that intermittent fasting reduces inflammation in the body, which may lower the chance of developing chronic diseases including cancer and heart disease.
- Increased heart health: Blood pressure and cholesterol levels, two risk factors for heart disease, may be reduced with intermittent fasting.
Downsides of Intermittent Fasting
There are a few potential drawbacks of intermittent fasting to take into account as well:
- Hunger and desires: Increasing hunger and cravings are side effects of fasting that may make it challenging to keep to a fasting plan.
- Nutritional deficiencies: If you don’t consume nutrient-dense foods throughout your eating window, fasting may deplete your body of important nutrients.
- Intermittent fasting may cause some people to develop disordered eating habits, such as binge eating or restrictive eating.
- Adverse effects: Some persons who fast may develop headaches, vertigo, and poor energy levels.
Medical Studies on Intermittent Fasting
Even though there is little information on how intermittent fasting affects sickness, some studies have found promising results.
For instance, a study discovered that fasting for 24 hours can boost the immune system and enhance the production of white blood cells, which are crucial for battling infections. This finding was reported in the Journal of Immunology.
Another study indicated that intermittent fasting may assist sufferers of autoimmune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis by lowering cellular inflammation. This study was published in the journal Nutrients.
To assess the impact of fasting on human health and illness, more research is required. It’s crucial to keep in mind that these studies were carried out on animals.
Your health and wellness can be enhanced safely and effectively by intermittent fasting. While you’re unwell, it’s crucial to put your health first and provide your body with the nourishment it requires to recuperate. When you’re unwell, if you choose to continue intermittent fasting, remember to stay hydrated, consume nutrient-dense foods, pay attention to your body, and consult your doctor if you have any questions. A healthcare expert should be consulted before beginning any new diet or lifestyle modifications because intermittent fasting may not be suited for everyone.