Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital have been evaluating possible health benefits from fasting. (If you haven’t noticed, fasting has become very trendy). The key findings from their study:
“Fasting improves inflammatory diseases without compromising antimicrobial immunity.”
“Fasting also reduces monocyte metabolic and inflammatory activity.”
From our layman’s viewpoint: inflammation is a normal body response to injuries. Get a cut or an insect bite, swelling and redness results. That’s inflammation. It’s an important defense against infections. But too much inflammation is unhealthy.
The research findings are that intermittent fasting reduces inflammation. In turn, too much inflammation is associated with diseases like diabetes. Diabetes, as everyone likely knows by now, is linked to heart disease - and an increased risk for Covid 19. Neither of those is good for maintaining and growing a bigger brain.
One of the study authors is the Director of the Immunology Institute at Mount Sinai, Miriam Merad, MD, PhD. She stated: “What I’m saying is we probably eat too much and too often- definitely we eat too often.”
Other members of the research group from Mount Sinai were Stefan Jordan, PhD, Maria Casanova Acebes, PhD and Post Doc, Emily J. Gallagher, MD, PhD and Assistant Professor of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Diseases. Additionally, Navpreet Tung, Scientist at Regeneron (if Regeneron sounds familiar, it’s because it is in the news for its Covid-19 research) and Marie-Luise Berres, MD, and Post Doc, practicing at the University Hospital Aachen in Germany were also part of the team.
Intermittent fasting can take different paths, but one that appears common is to skip eating for 16-24 hours once or twice a week. Anyone thinking about trying fasting should talk to their physician. And drink a lot of water while fasting.
Other researchers think there may be some benefit from simply compressing the hours of eating. Say breakfast at 9, dinner at 4 and no snacking between dinner and breakfast. That would result in a 16 hour break.
There you have it. Cook with olive oil, then skip eating a day a week or so. Add olives to your meal and snack choices, but heed Dr. Merad’s advice: don’t eat too often. (In my case that means cutting out those multiple trips I make to the pantry each day between meals. This stay-at-home regime makes all day snacking too convenient). If you try fasting, please let us know how it turns out.
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