We discuss the relationship between fasting and your skin
Timing our meals with our body’s circadian rhythm has tremendous health benefits: Weight management, improved immune function, lower inflammation and balanced insulin levels among others. But did you ever think that fasting could be responsible for healing and supporting skin? Skin is the largest organ of our body, so when our skin is healthy and radiant, it’s usually a good sign that the rest of our organs are functioning properly as well. Fasting can have incredible effects on your skin’s health and appearance—here’s how.
Improves cell renewal
Aligning our bodily functions with our body's circadian rhythm has been linked with the regeneration of new, healthy tissues. The skin, along with our intestines and blood tissues, respond more efficiently when the body works according to its natural clock. Studies have shown that the regenerative capacity of these tissues rely on the time of day, which makes circadian rhythm and fasting an important factor in this process.
To explain how complex our skin’s regeneration process can be, let’s look at an example. When a wound occurs, skin regeneration happens through a coordinated process between keratinocytes, fibroblasts, hair follicle bulge stem cells, immune cells and vascular cells. Individual cellular response to this wound is influenced by its own circadian influence and is not consistent across all cell types. The skin’s regeneration capacity also differs depending on the time that wounds occur. It is proven that wounds inflicted at night heal significantly faster. This further reveals that fasting at night serves as a time for better cell repair and rejuvenation, stress resistance and vitality.
Fasting helps reduce infections and chronic inflammation, which can cause serious health issues. It also reduces the release of pro-inflammatory cells in the blood. During the period of fasting, these pro-inflammatory cells go into sleep mode and become less inflammatory as compared to when these cells are fed. This proves that circadian fasting can help promote sleep mode in these inflammatory cells while the body is at rest and in repair mode. A study done at the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, found that due to an increase in cell turnover and the skin’s permeability at night, its ability to absorb topical ingredients is strongest, around 4:00am.
It is known that we are what we eat, but if you do not portion control, foods can cause worries and problems for your skin’s health and appearance. Some of the foods that you should avoid:
- Sugary foods: They have a high glycemic index, meaning these foods give you a sugar rush that is harmful for your skin. Increased blood sugar levels in your bloodstream is a cause for inflammation, which can cause acne and other breakouts.
- Refined carbs: This group simply has no nutritional value, and the only thing they contribute to is feeding harmful bacteria in your gut. It allows them to flourish, killing good bacteria, causing digestive problems and leading to breakouts. Refined carbs also age the skin by producing molecules, called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), leading to premature aging.
- Packaged food: They contain high and unnecessary amounts of salt and sodium content, which can cause swelling and water retention.
Fasting helps us avoid eating foods that are not beneficial for our health and also reduces our sugar cravings. When fasting, leptin—the body’s satiety hormone—inhibits hunger and uses the fat storage in our body for energy.
The mounting evidence says that if you want to optimize your overall health, and of course, your skin health, you should try syncing up your mealtimes with the natural cycles of sunlight. Calories seem to be metabolized better in the morning and eating after sunset jolts the brain into thinking it’s daytime and can disrupt our body’s circadian rhythm, which is critical for our health and our skin’s health. Also remember to get enough sleep for good skin—sleep is a necessary phase of profound regeneration for the skin. While we rest, our skin cells are renewing, regenerating and restoring themselves, and so is our entire body.
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