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The Key to Unlocking the Benefits of Tea

The Key to Unlocking the Benefits of Tea

Are You Ready For This Simple Key To Excellent Health?

The key to unlocking the benefits of tea is quantity. We can’t repeat this enough times – Quantity, Quantity, Quantity.

In the Far East, tea is consumed like water throughout the day. When you wake up, you drink tea with breakfast. When you go to the office in Hong Kong, tea servers circulate the office serving tea at your desk. At lunch, the first question your server will ask you is what tea you’d like. When you visit friends in their home in Korea, they serve you tea. In China, people carry their tea with them in bottles everywhere they go. In Japan, vending machines with a huge assortment of high quality, unsweetened bottled teas are on every street and every corner.

asian-lady

How much is enough? Studies show that a minimum of 400-500mg of EGCG (a type of polyphenol) is required to experience tea benefits. The number of cups this equates to depends largely on what kind of tea is consumed. Not all tea is created equal. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends a minimum of 3 cups of tea a day for health benefits. In the case of Pique, 1 serving of our Jasmine delivers a whopping 300mg of naturally occurring (not added) polyphenols.

So here’s the bottom line: Drink 3 or more cups of high-quality tea a day to unlock the benefits of tea.

Sound like a lot? Don’t worry, check out our post on when to drink tea for maximum health benefits. Not only is it very easy, you’ll love the experience and want to tell all your friends about the amazing benefits you’ve experienced!

Why Aren’t More People Benefiting From Tea?

If you’ve been drinking tea and not experienced health benefits or know someone like this, you’ve come to the right place. Simply not enough people are benefiting from this powerful and easy way to significantly improve their health and performance and it breaks my heart.

The top 2 reasons people don’t experience the benefits of tea are: 1) The tea they are drinking is not potent enough, and 2) They are not drinking enough (doctors suggest at least 3 cups a day). Surprisingly, most people don’t drink more tea because they find it too cumbersome for the payoff. This was exactly my predicament when life got too busy and fast paced. I drank the occasional teabag but never found it enjoyable and defaulted to bottled teas thinking they were healthier when in reality they were just tea flavored sugar water! Then I collected a cupboard full of loose leaf teas which I never brewed and expired. All the while, I considered myself a tea drinker but never experienced any of the benefits like stronger immunity, reduced brain fog, stronger gut health and digestion.

tea collection

Finding the right tea can be both confusing and overwhelming. Hundreds are available from brands around the world. So many of you have asked us for help choosing the right tea, we decided to share our proprietary framework called the Tea Healthfulness Guide™. The Guide was made after years collaborating with the world’s leading doctors, nutritionists and tea experts to distill the properties that make tea effective for health improvement and boosting performance into 3 criteria: 1) Nutrient Density, 2) Purity and 3) Ease of Use. It’s the same tool that the scientists on our R&D team use.Now you can all make informed decisions on your tea selection and start experiencing sustained energy, reduced stress, and improved gut health today! If you haven’t gotten the guide yet, download it here!

The Key to Unlocking the Benefits of Tea

When To Drink Tea for Maximum Health Benefits

When To Drink Tea for Maximum Health Benefits

Here are the times when tea is most commonly consumed according to customers. They key is to approach tea as both a functional beverage and a form of hydration, just like people do in the Far East, where tea is most widely consumed for health benefits! The more you understand about tea, the more you will be able to use its health benefits to cater to your personal needs.

Best Times To Drink Tea

The immediate effects you feel from tea is heightened energy and a boost in digestion. Therefore, the best times to drink tea are when you are most tired or full in the day. For most people, this is first thing in the morning and during/after lunch and dinner.

calm mornings

Cup #1 – Tea In The Morning

If you are looking for coffee-like energy (without the jitters, anxiety, energy roller coaster, food cravings, and dehydration), black tea in the morning will deliver a fast-acting boost of energy that instantly dispels brain fog and kickstarts peak mental performance.

Since black tea has lower levels of catechins than green tea (whose molecules are larger and bound to caffeine leading to a time release effect), caffeine in black tea is faster acting and shorter lasting. You will feel the immediate effects of caffeine and they will last under 3-4 hours. Black teas are so popular in the morning that the English coined black teas, English Breakfast. One cup of Pique – English Breakfast has about 45mg of caffeine or roughly the same as half a cup of coffee.

The number of cups you should drink in the morning if you are trying to switch from coffee to tea will depend on a number of variables.

Green tea is great in the morning if you are looking for a more gradual onset of mellower energy that lasts 4-5 hours or more. Given the calming effects of l-theanine in green tea, this is a great way to start the day if you need to tap into your creative energy and tackle challenges requiring more thought and contemplation. Green tea is ideal for creative work, brainstorming, solving strategic problems and when interpersonal dynamics are key to a successful outcome. After all, it is what Buddhist monks most commonly drink to help them reach the highest levels of meditation!

tea after lunch

Cup #2 – Tea After Lunch

The hours after lunch is one of the absolute best times in the day to drink tea! You’re halfway through the day and even the most disciplined and thoughtful eaters can’t avoid fatigue or slower brain function after lunch. This is due to the simple fact that energy is required to digest food and lunch is a sizable meal. If you don’t have access to fresh, clean food, environmental toxicity compounds the load to your metabolic system leading to even more physical fatigue and mental exhaustion. The caffeine and polyphenols in tea give you exactly the kind of energy and digestive boost you need.

Black teas in the afternoon will give you a fast acting energy boost and aid with rapid digestion by detoxifying the oils and sugars in your body. Green teas will give you a more gradual and mellow energy boost that lasts through the afternoon and speeds up your metabolism to prevent weight gain from sitting for long periods after meals.

Finally, the polyphenols in black and green teas are prebiotics that will increase the good bacteria (probiotics in your gut) and help you maintain healthy gut flora. Healthy gut flora aids with the absorption and conversion of nutrients in your meal into beneficial metabolites and processes unwanted waste and toxins. This leads to a huge array of long-term benefits for your immunity, metabolic system, brain function, and skin.

Think about how much time you’ve lost to reduced productivity and procrastination in the hours after lunch. Drinking coffee at this time compromises your sleep quality. The easy way out? Sugar. While providing short-term gratification and energy, this leads to a negative spiral of weight gain and exhaustion by the end of the day, not to mention long-term damage to your health. Drinking tea after lunch is the easiest way to put a stop to this and realize outsized improvements to your health right away.

tea in the evening

Cup #3 – Tea in the evening

Tea is often drunk in large quantities during dinner in the Far East and caffeine tolerance builds up over time. For all the same reasons above, drinking tea with dinner is extremely beneficial to digestive and gut health. Which tea to drink in the evening really depends on what your body is used to and whether you are able to sleep after drinking it.

For the many people who have issues sleeping after drinking tea in the evening, there are an amazing array of herbal teas or tisanes made from many of nature’s other beneficial superplants. Not only do herbal teas taste wonderful, they provide a delightful way for your body to access and unlock the benefits of different types of plant polyphenols. Mexicans love hibiscus tea for its digestive properties as much as the ancient Egyptians prized it for beautification. Ginger is a key super plant ingredient in almost all Asia foods and improves circulation, digestion and warms your body. Rooibos is the ancient go-to in South Africa for a powerful antioxidant boost. All these amazing plants are caffeine free and have their own unique polyphenols.

3 Or More Cups A Day

Between 1 cup in the morning, 1 cup after lunch and 1 cup in the evenings, you can see how it’s not just extremely easy, but thoroughly enjoyable to consume at least 3 or more cups of tea a day. It’s really that easy to do just what the top doctors and nutritionists (who understand the importance of prevention) are prescribing to unlock the amazing benefits of tea!

Tea Drinking Pro Tips

If you really want to drink tea like a pro, however, tea drinking should not be limited to having 3 cups a day in 3 distinct settings. Whether you drink 3 cups or 10 cups a day, the best way to drink tea is to hydrate with it, or as if you were drinking water. This means taking sips continuously throughout the day so you are constantly getting microdoses of polyphenols, l-theanine, and time-released caffeine. At least this is how tea is consumed in the Far East where a pot of loose leaves is always nearby and constantly refilled with hot water and re-steeped. After brewing the same pot of loose leaf tea repeatedly, it gets weaker and weaker and you start to drink more water than tea.

The simplest way to ‘drink tea like water’ in our busy lives is to make a large container of it and keep it next to you. Diluting one serving of tea in a large amount of water is a great way to make your water interesting and beneficial, which hydrates you while decreasing your likelihood of reaching for an unhealthy beverage. How diluted or strong should your tea be? See what works for your body and what tastes good to you. Just remember, drink at least 3 cups a day if you want to unlock its amazing benefits!

Drink Tea With Food

Whether you drink black or green tea in the morning, it can be beneficial to do so with a small amount of food (like a biscuit) or adding milk, nut milk, butter or ghee to it. If you have a sensitive stomach, this will help protect your stomach lining and facilitate the absorption of the polyphenols in tea.

Other Times To Drink Tea

Other popular times our customers love to drink tea (aside from the 3 times mentioned above) are before workouts, before meditation, before meetings, in traffic jams, enjoying the outdoors, during any endurance sport, reading, writing or engaging in any activity that requires creativity (green tea is best for boosting creativity).

jumpstart your workout with tea

When To Drink Tea for Maximum Health Benefits

The Powerful Plant Medicine in Tea

The Powerful Plant Medicine in Tea

Polyphenols – Nature’s Clean Up Crew

So why is tea so beneficial to our health? According to the Nutrition Source, a publication by the Harvard School of Public Health, the key is polyphenols, the antioxidants found in tea and other plants. Antioxidants fight against free radicals in the body and neutralize the many threats they pose. Tea antioxidants are so effective, they are able to eliminate and possibly even reverse the oxidative damage your body is subjected to every day.

plant medicine

Every time I drink tea, I can literally feel it rinse away all of the unhealthy things I’ve done before:

  • It makes me feel strong and vitalized when my immunity is low,
  • It makes my body feel cleaner and lighter when I’ve eaten poorly or not eaten enough vegetables,
  • It rinses away the gross film in my mouth after eating unhealthy snacks,
  • It helps me digest my meal when I’ve overeaten,
  • It helps me wake up and stay energized and focused when I’ve slept late,
  • It speeds up my recovery from hangovers when I’ve drunk too much…

L-Theanine – Nature’s Xanax

In studies performed in Japan, researchers discovered that amino acids in tea can also play a huge role in your health. This is because they have the ability to reduce stress and boost your mental performance. L-theanine, in particular, helps the brain generate alpha activity which is experienced in the early stages of meditation. It helps us stay calm, collected and focused in stressful situations which not only increases our ability to cope but also helps prevent damage to our body from stress. That’s why L-theanine is truly nature’s Xanax!

As a very dedicated breathwork practitioner, I have experienced tremendous benefits from consuming tea and can attest that it 100% helps you enter a deep meditative state (DMS) which requires just the right balance of relaxation and awareness. Tea is also the one thing that Buddhist and Daoist monks consume throughout the day, every day no matter whether they’re in Tibet, Japan, Taiwan, China, the US or Europe!

tea in nature

Tea Caffeine – Nature’s Sustainable Energy Source

The final component of the tea trifecta is tea caffeine. Caffeine in green tea is bound to larger molecules called catechins (a type of polyphenols). Catechins take longer for your body to break down and so caffeine in tea is time released in smaller doses over 4-6 hours. At the same time, l-theanine keeps you calm which is why energy from green tea lasts longer and does not lead to the spikes and crashes of coffee. There is simply no other way I could imagine getting through the 15 hour work days I maintain to build Pique!

Caffeine From Coffee - A Fat Inducing Energy Roller Coaster

Caffeine From Coffee – A Fat Inducing Energy Roller Coaster

This would be a good time to note the differences between tea and coffee caffeine. Studies show that coffee delivers so much caffeine to your nervous system in a short burst that the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) produced by your body are comparable to those experienced during acute stress. Not only is chronic stress damaging, cortisol activates your body’s flight or fight mechanism leading to excess fat storage and increased appetite. When the effects of caffeine wear out and your energy levels crash, a common pattern for avoiding more coffee is to reach for sugary foods and unhealthy snacks instead. Snacks and sugar deliver short bursts of energy but cause even more damage in the long run! I actually love the aroma and texture of a good cup of coffee but reserve it for moments when I can get an exceptional cup or when I’m on vacation in Europe where the coffee is irresistible.

The Powerful Plant Medicine in Tea

The Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting

The Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting

A diet that is super easy to follow and also has heaps of health benefits, way beyond just weight loss.  That’s pretty much the dream combination, right?  Welcome to the beginner’s guide to intermittent fasting.  We’re here to break it all down for you, so you can even start today if you’d like!

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is as simple as a schedule that divides your day into two parts:  an eating window and a fasting window. While most diet plans are fundamentally concerned with WHAT you eat, this plan is all about WHEN you eat, and that’s it.

There’s no meal planning, no shopping lists or other advance preparation.  You can customize your eating schedule based on your lifestyle, and then all you have to do is follow the schedule!  The structure of intermittent fasting is meant to make the most of your body’s natural metabolic processes every day, so that you can be on your way to long-term optimal health. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Fasting Schedules here.

intermittent fasting weight loss

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting might just be the simplest diet you’ve ever encountered, and it has something for everyone–whether you’re looking to lose weight, increase your athletic performance or boost your brain health.  In fact, the results are so potent, they almost seem to good to be true. We were skeptical too, so we’ve compiled a list of all the health benefits supported by scientific studies:

1. Weight loss and maintenance

By training your body to burn fat for energy, intermittent fasting will tap into your body’s natural weight loss mechanisms.  Plus, the simplicity of the plan means you’re much more likely to stick with it!

2. Increased energy

Unlike so many calorie restriction diets that can make you feel sluggish, the intermittent fasting schedule is designed to regulate your hormones so that you’re always easily accessing stored fat for energy.  No more afternoon slumps!

3. Increased mental clarity and focus

Intermittent fasting has the ability to boost your brainpower because it increases your BDNF, which supports brain connectivity and new neuron growth. (1)

4. Better cognitive function

The hormonal changes that occur when you follow intermittent fasting have actually been shown to provide protection against neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. (2)

5. Regulated blood sugar and insulin levels

The quickest and most efficient way to lower insulin levels is through fasting.  While you’re in your fasting window, no new glucose is being supplied to your body, which means your body has no choice but to use up stored glucose. (3)

6. Lower cholesterol and blood pressure

Intermittent fasting is an excellent prescription for heart health, because of its ability to decrease your liver’s production of cholesterol.  Studies have shown that 70 days of alternate-day fasting can reduce LDL cholesterol by 25 percent. (4)

7. Reduced inflammation

Your body relies on a process called “autophagy” to clear out old and damaged tissues and cells.  When you fast and give your body a break from the constant effort of digesting food, it seems to be able to focus more energy on repair, which means alleviating inflammation in the body. (5)

8. Increased metabolic rate

When you practice intermittent fasting and successfully switch your body into fat-burning mode, your body is actually using adrenaline to release stored glycogen and access fat to burn.  These increased adrenaline levels will speed up your metabolism. (6)

9. Long term anti-aging benefits

There are numerous studies indicating that intermittent fasting can help you live longer (7), plus it might be able to help you fight off cancer and cardiovascular disease (8).

Pique Fasting: Amazing Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

You can read more about the amazing benefits of intermittent fasting here.  And if you’re interested in how to use intermittent fasting specifically for weight loss, you can read all about that here.

Types of Intermittent Fasting

There’s a wide variety of intermittent fasting schedules to choose from.  Your choice will depend on factors such as your lifestyle, health goals, sleep cycle, exercise schedule and more.  If you have no experience with fasting, we recommended starting with a 12-hour eating window and a 12-hour fasting window.  After that, you can progressively move to the 16:8 plan, which is the most commonly used schedule.

The 16:8 plan

Eat during an 8-hour window and fast for 16 hours.

Sample schedules: Only eat between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m OR only eat between noon and 8:00 p.m.

The 18:6 plan

Eat during a 6-hour window, fast for 18 hours.

Sample schedules: Only eat between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m OR only eat between noon and 6:00 p.m.

The 5:2 plan

Pick two non-consecutive days of the week and only eat 500-600 calories on those days.  These are your “fasting” days. You would then eat normally during the other 5 days of the week.

The 24-hour fast 

Did you know you can do a 24-hour fast and not actually skip a day of eating?  What? What magic is this? Think about it: you’re having a normal Wednesday and you intentionally stop eating by 7:00 p.m.  Thursday dawns and you give your digestive system a little break from all the hard work it does – you know, keeping you alive and stuff – and then you sit down to a nice dinner at 7:00 p.m.  Congratulations, you’ve just completed a 24-hour fast but you didn’t have an entire day of no food. (Please note, it is not recommended to incorporate a 24-hour fast more than twice a week.)

Frequently Asked Questions

How can an eating schedule have so many benefits?

Turns out, the time we spend eating can be just as important to our health as the foods we are eating.  Here’s why: at any point in time, your body is either “fed” or “fasted.” While you might assume that your “fed” time only includes the time spent eating, it actually refers to the approximately 4-hour period of time in which your body is digesting and absorbing the food you’ve eaten.  

So let’s say you finish eating dinner at 6pm.  Your body actually remains in a fed state until approximately 10pm.  Only then does your body enter the fasted state. Assuming, of course, you haven’t had any nighttime snacks after dinner!

beginner's guide to intermittent fasting

Why should you care about whether or not you’re in a fasted state?  Because that is where all the good stuff happens. Not only does your body shift to burning stored fat once it enters the fasted state, but a number of other metabolic changes happen here that are responsible for the wide array of health benefits described above. (9)

Getting into the fasted state is actually pretty rare for most of us.  That’s why the sole purpose of intermittent fasting is to allow your body to get into a fasted state and stay there for a couple hours.

So when can I eat?

Hands down the most popular intermittent fasting plan is called the 16:8.  It means you fast for 16 hours and eat during the remaining 8 hours of your day. We’ve created a handy chart you can use to keep track, which you can download here.

The best part is that you can start your 8-hour window anytime you want.  For example, you can try skipping breakfast and only eating lunch and dinner.  Need your breakfast? No problem, just skip your dinner instead. Experiment with different windows until you figure out what works well for your lifestyle and personality, and what makes you feel physically at your best.

What can I eat?

Because intermittent fasting plans are purely concerned with WHEN you eat, it’s easy to get confused about WHAT you should be eating during your eating window.  Technically, intermittent fasting has no rules about this. You’ll find many intermittent fasting guides that tell you to eat whatever you want.

That being said, it’s common sense that the benefits you reap from fasting will be limited by your food choices while eating.

We’ve put together a helpful guide on what you can eat and drink in order to maximize the benefits of intermittent fasting.

If you happen to be following a Ketogenic (“Keto”) diet or have been considering one, it actually complements intermittent fasting very well.  You can read more about combining the two here.

What can I drink?

During your fasting window, you need to refrain from consuming any food or beverages that contain calories.  So….. no food. But you have several beverage options, and these are important because it is critical to keep yourself hydrated while fasting.

Here’s a quick-start guide to the drinks that can help your fasting journey, and if you’d like to read more details about What to Eat and Drink While Intermittent Fasting, you can check out this post.

Can Tea Really Make a Difference while Intermittent Fasting?

Yes!  Science is unanimous on the fact that drinking tea not only make fasting easier, but it will actually increase the health benefits you experience.  Read all about the amazing ways tea enhances your fasting experience, and how much to drink, here.

Won’t I be tired while fasting?

This super common concern about fasting has actually been disproven time and time again.  Because intermittent fasting provides your body with more breaks from the digestive process, it will actually give you more energy and boost your productivity.

And if you’re worried that you won’t be able to keep up your regular fitness routine while fasting, not to fear.  Studies show that exercising while following an intermittent fasting plan can actually be even more beneficial than just exercise alone. (10)

Isn’t fasting bad for my metabolism?

Quite the opposite!  Long-term starvation diets can certainly harm your metabolism, but an intermittent fasting schedule has actually been proven to boost the metabolism (11).  And while many weight loss programs result in loss of lean muscle mass, intermittent fasting only targets your stored fat, so you get to preserve all your muscle tissue, which is so critical in keeping your metabolism humming along (12).

I’m terrible at diets, how do I stick through them?

You’re not alone.  But people who try intermittent fasting overwhelmingly discover that it is surprisingly easy to implement.  The main reason diets fail is because behavior change is hard. But with this, there’s only one rule to follow, and there’s zero advance planning.

In other words, it’s simple enough that you’ll actually be able to keep it up!  There’s even scientific research indicating that “subjects quickly adapt” to an intermittent fasting plan, making it a highly effective technique (13).

When can I expect to see results?

As with any diet, results certainly vary.  However, in most cases, you might have a one to two-week adjustment period where you experience lethargy or hunger cravings.  We highly recommend drinking tea to help you out, as it will quell your cravings, boost your energy, and assist in detoxification.

And despite this adjustment period, most people will lose one or two pounds in their first week and will subsequently start to see their energy levels and mental alertness rise while their cravings and excess fat disappear.

Is intermittent fasting really for everyone?

If you are a woman, it’s possible that intermittent fasting may affect you differently.  In general, it seems that women tend to respond better to using a schedule that has a wider eating window.  For example, some women have noticed increased health benefits by using a 10-hour eating window with a 14-hour fast, instead of the 16:8 plan popularized by male bodybuilders.  You can read an in-depth guide on intermittent fasting for women here.

As with any diet or exercise plan, we recommend trying different options and listening to your body to see what works best for YOU.  There’s a fantastic all-female intermittent fasting Facebook group here for you to check out if you’d like to connect with other women about their experiences.

Also, if you are diabetic, hypoglycemic, have any issues with blood sugar regulation, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have a history of disordered eating, intermittent fasting may not be for you.  You should talk to your doctor before making changes to your eating schedule.

is intermittent fasting right for me

 

Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting

The Amazing Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

The Amazing Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is definitely gaining popularity, but is it for you?  Well, are you interested in any of these benefits?

  • Losing weight and keeping it off
  • Increased athletic performance
  • Boosting your brain function
  • Preventing cancer
  • Living longer!

Wait… one more thing:  it just might be the simplest diet you’ve ever encountered.

Too good to be true?  We’re here to break it down for you.

Lose weight and keep it off

Diets are complicated.  That’s why they never stick!  Measuring grams of protein, counting calories, meal planning… Ugh, I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  You can stop the madness with intermittent fasting, which only has one rule:  eat all your food within a specific window of time.  Do this, and you wind up restricting calories without even noticing.  

Plus, your blood sugar levels stay regulated, your metabolic rate actually increases (hello!) and even your cholesterol can drop. (1)  One study showed that you can reduce your body weight by 3-8% within 3-24 weeks.  (2)  

If you want to learn more about how to use intermittent fasting specifically for weight loss, click here.

Increased performance

Ever tried a new diet and found yourself sluggish, dragging, and with zero energy to even think about working out?  Seriously, how is that fair?  Well, you’ll be happy to know that the opposite happens on an intermittent fasting plan, and you’ll actually find yourself brimming with more energy.  

Intermittent fasting regulates your hormone levels so that even when you’re not eating, your body can easily access stored fat for energy. (3)  Yes, please!  You can read more about to how to beat fatigue and increase your energy with intermittent fasting here.

Pro tip:  Timing your intermittent fasting plan right can actually make your workouts more effective. Cardio workouts will burn more fat and strength workouts will result in more lean muscle gain.

Boost your brain

Let’s be honest, not many of us think about brain health when we choose a diet.  With intermittent fasting, you don’t have to think about it.  Simply by following the plan, you’ll not only experience increased mental clarity and focus, but you’re actually gaining protection against neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. (4)  

All types of calorie restriction diets have repeatedly been linked to enhanced cognitive function, but studies have shown that intermittent fasting that has the greatest effect on brain health and performance with the fewest downsides.  (5)

Live longer

Many people are surprised to learn that fasting has been conclusively linked to longevity, but it has! (6)  A recent ground-breaking Harvard study demonstrates just how intermittent fasting may increase your lifespan.  (7)  In a nutshell, it’s based on the fact that any kind of calorie restriction provides anti-aging benefits.  (8)(9)

Here’s why:  your body relies on a process called “autophagy” to clear out old and damaged tissues and cells.  When you fast and give your body a break from the constant effort of digesting food, it is able to focus more energy on the repair functions of autophagy. (10)  That’s a good thing, because autophagy is necessary to maintain muscle mass, reduce the progression of age-related diseases, and maintain mental health and function.

Prevent Cancer

As mentioned above, intermittent fasting increases the rate of autophagy in your body, which can play a significant role in reducing your risk of ever getting cancer.  

And, fasting could even help you fight cancer in two ways:  (1) calorie restriction helps to combat the proliferation of cancer cells, and (2) fasting during chemotherapy can reduce the negative side effects of the treatment.  (11) (12)

Increase your heart health

Intermittent fasting is an excellent prescription for heart health, because of its ability to decrease your liver’s production of cholesterol.  Studies have shown that 70 days of alternate-day fasting can reduce LDL cholesterol by 25 percent.  (13)

Those are a lot of benefits from one dietary plan!  Let’s summarize:

effects of intermittent fasting

But is it for me?

We’ll admit, the name “intermittent fasting” is a bit intimidating and maybe even sounds like you’re gonna be facing down some serious hunger pangs.  Don’t be scared off!  It’s not the type of fasting that involves starvation, and as far as dietary plans go, it’s actually quite accessible and convenient.

It’s not actually a diet – it’s a schedule

When we think of diets, we’re accustomed to being given instructions regarding what to eat, how much of it, and in what proportion.  Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, focuses on WHEN we eat.

It’s highly customizable

Instead of just one set plan or schedule, there are nearly infinite variations on what an intermittent fasting plan can look like.  That means you can adjust it to fit your lifestyle.

You’re already doing it!  

Any time you’re neither eating nor digesting food, you’re fasting.  Technically speaking, every night that doesn’t feature a midnight snack constitutes a fast.  That’s why we break our fast every morning with . . . you guessed it: “break-fast.”

Okay, so what exactly do I need to do?

In a nutshell, intermittent fasting asks you to split your 24-hour day into two distinct parts:

Eating:  a set window of time during which you are consciously choosing to consume all your calories for the day

Fasting:  a longer window of time during which you are choosing to avoid consuming calories

How long should each window be?

We’re so glad you asked.  This is the part that’s customizable.  The most common approach is called the 16/8 plan.  It’s where you alternate between an 8-hour eating window and a 16-hour fasting window.  So, eating only between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or 12 noon and 8:00 p.m.  Or during whatever 8 hours you choose to have your “feeding” window.  That’s not so drastic, right?

What are my other options?

Depending on your individual lifestyle, health goals, sleep cycle, exercise schedule, etc, you can choose shorter or longer windows, or even a plan where you fast for 24 hours a couple times a week.  You can read all about the different plans to choose from, and see how they work, in our Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting.

But I want to start now.

Sweet!  You can download our Ultimate Guide To Intermittent Fasting Schedules here.

Isn’t it better to eat frequent small meals all day long?

All that stuff you’ve heard about how eating every couple hours keeps your metabolism burning?  It’s junk.  We’ll have another blog post soon about that and other fasting-related myths.  Honestly, going 16 or more hours without food is way more “natural” to humans than indulging in a constant parade of meals and snacks throughout the day.  After all, cavemen and women didn’t have the luxury of grabbing food every couple hours from the fridge, vending machine or drive-thru.  They ate when food was available – more specifically, whenever they could find, hunt and gather it.  Fasting might be more authentically “paleo” than it’s been given credit for.

So what can I eat and drink?

We’re so glad you asked.  The beauty of intermittent fasting is that there really are no rules beyond the schedule.  No matter your dietary preferences or eating habits, you can make intermittent fasting work for you.  If you’d like more guidance, you can read our post here.  

We also have some suggestions for what to drink while fasting to make it easier, plus some information on how drinking tea can make your fasting experience more successful.

How do we know this will actually work?

Fad diets are sketchy, no doubt.  But did you know that fasting has existed eons longer than any other dietary fad in our modern society?  It’s actually an ancient prescription that has been used for centuries to heal illness, promote energy, focus the mind, increase cognitive abilities and accomplish cleansing or purification.

Final Thoughts

In a culture overrun with diets that obsess over every last detail about food, intermittent fasting is a refreshingly liberating and intuitive way to eat.  Plus, it typically requires less time spent on planning and preparing food and worrying about what to eat next.

Give it a try, and you just might find that this approach is easier to stick with than most other diets.  And with such a broad range of benefits, what do you have to lose?

Is intermittent fasting for everyone?

Women might notice that intermittent fasting works a bit differently for them than men.  We did a deep dive into this issue, which you can read more about here.

Please note:  If you are diabetic, hypoglycemic, have any issues with blood sugar regulation, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have a history of disordered eating, intermittent fasting may not be for you.  You should talk to your doctor before making changes to your eating schedule.

 

Pique health: Intermittent Fasting Benefits Beyond Weight Loss

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