using intermittent fasting to heal injuries

Close up of a foot with bandage.
Close up of a foot with bandage.

i have been personally using intermittent fasting to improve my injuries for the past few months and i have seen that it does enhance the body’s natural healing abilities.

there have been a number of studies that have helped to prove this idea but i think its better injunction with a low carb high fat diet because it will help your body heal faster.

a study on endurance athletes showed that when you train in a fasted state will help to quickly increase your muscle protein translation, as compared to athletes who just ate carbohydrates before training.

while another study on cyclists found that after three weeks of overnight fasting your post workout recovery increased significantly while lowering your bodyfat, improving performance and helping with lean muscle mass.

There is also benefits to fasting for weight training. A 2009 study found that subjects who lifted weights in a fasted state had a greater  anabolic response to a post-workout meal (7). In this case, levels of p70s6 kinase, a muscle protein synthesis signaling mechanism that acts as indicator of muscle growth, doubled in the fasted vs. the fed group.

I personally use fasting in two ways:

1) a daily overnight fast of 13-15 hours, from 8-9pm-ish in the evening to 9-11am-ish in the morning, leaving me with a 9-11 hour daily “feeding window”;

2) a weekly “low calorie intake” day on my main, zero-exercise recovery day of the week, during which I primarily only use greens or algae, an amino acids supplement, and coffee. 

A word of warning: I’ve found from my experience in wellness and nutrition consulting that for extremely lean individuals with low essential body fat stores, people prone to eating disorders, and women who deal with adrenal fatigue or hormonal imbalances, the risks and stresses of fasting outweigh any benefits.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

It is especially important for injured or recovering athletes to avoid inflammatory foods. One huge pet peeve of mine is to see an athlete “pulling out all the stops” to fix a hip, knee, shoulder or low back injury, or fighting constant joint soreness – all while eating huge whole wheat bread sandwiches, drinking sugary sports drinks, and consuming multiple cups of coffee every morning.

The aforementioned foods can all aggravate inflammation, so trying to fix an injury without fixing your nutrition is synonymous to spraying a firehose full of water on a roaring fire on one side of your house, while dumping gasoline on the other side of your house.

So what can make a food inflammatory? There are at least two dozen factors that affect a food’s inflammatory potential, including the amounts and proportion of various fatty acids, the amount of antioxidants and other nutrients, and a food’s glycemic impact, or effect on blood sugar levels (32).

But when it comes to choosing anti-inflammatory foods, things are not exactly clearcut. Some foods have a combination of inflammation-producing and inflammation-reducing factors.  An orange, for example, contains antioxidants that can fight inflammation, but also contains natural sugars that can have a mild inflammatory effect. Beef is another good example. A nice cut of steak contains mildly inflammatory saturated fats, but also has a high amount of anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fats.

A good way to cut through the confusion is, an excellent website that actually gives an “Inflammation Factor” (IF) for food. The IF Rating system allows you to take a quick glance at whether a specific food is going an inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effect, and to determine the inflammatory potential of entire meals or recipes, you can simply total up the IF Ratings of the individual foods.

Some convenient anti-inflammatory foods include:

-Pineapple – pineapple is rich in a proteolytic enzyme called bromelain, which produces substances that help fight pain and inflammation.

-Blue, red and purple colored fruits and vegetables – all of which contain antioxidant flavonoids that limit inflammation, stop tissue breakdown, improve circulation and promote a strong collagen matrix. This includes pomegranates  eggplant, berries or tart cherry juice.

-Ginger – two studies from the University of Georgia show that 2 grams of ginger per day helps fight inflammation and reduce exercise-induced muscle pain, and this can easily be consumed by boiling chunks of ginger, juicing ginger, or tossing ginger into a smoothie.

Other foods with very high IF ratings include garlic, peppers, parsley, dark leafy greens, onions, salmon, avocado and apple cider vinegar. There is a free Superhuman Food Pyramid on my website that is categorized into Eat, Moderate, and Avoid categories, and for a proper anti-inflammatory food intake, especially if you’re injured or trying to optimize recovery, you’d only want to choose foods in the “Eat” category.

The post using intermittent fasting to heal injuries appeared first on intermittent fasting Blog.


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