12 hour fasts (during the follicular to luteal phase) can reduce menstrual symptoms
Fasting is a process used to cleanse and gives our bodies time to heal. It has been used as a ritual to cleanse ourselves for thousands of years. Fasting helps eliminate the toxins in our body and detoxifies.
"Fasting gives your body a rest from being overfed"
The reason being is that, after 90 minutes of not eating there is a cleaning system that is triggered called the 'Migrating Motor Complex' (MMC) which helps to prevent gut infections and move food particles through your body.
When we are constantly snacking there is no time for the MMC to come out and do their job, so we end up feeling more lethargic and are left with more gunk left in our gut.
This is why people believe that fasting can help with chronic illnesses, weight loss and other conditions, but this remains debatable.
Why is fasting for women different than it is for men? Well here's why...
Fasting while you are bleeding might increase your menstrual symptoms
Fasting during the week of your period isn’t a good idea for a number of reasons:
- Your body requires more nourishment during that week, not less
- Energy levels can be seriously affected, which can compromise our immunity and allow chronic infections to persist
- Can affect the hypothalamus or the part of the brain that regulates hormones like oestrogen that is crucial to menstruation
- Might lower progesterone levels, which reduces the chances of ovulation for your next period
- Your body needs 90-500 more calories during your period
- You lose more iron during your period
"Instead of medicine, Fast for a day" ~ Plutarch
Fasting can lower the stress hormone in the luteal phase
In this study (based on a 12 hour fast), fasting during the luteal and follicular phase resulted in lowering of heart rate. Specifically during the luteal phase there was higher parasympathetic activity and lower cortisol levels.
Meaning it is possible to produce an anti-stress effect in the luteal phase by fasting, which may reduce menstrual symptoms.
"The best of all medicines, are resting and fasting" ~ Benjamin Franklin
Bonus: Almost any intermittent fasting regimen can result in some weight loss
This recent study suggests fasting has vast improvements on weight loss. Let’s take a deeper look:
- Fasting improves metabolic profiles
- Fasting reduces the risk of obesity
- Fasting reduces obesity-related conditions such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,
- Fasting reduces chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
- Fasting reduces glucose and insulin concentrations in the body
What happens during an intermittent fast?
- 4 hours: Insulin levels drop
- 8 hours: Blood sugar normalises
- 10 hours: Fat burning starts
- 14 hours: Cell cleansing begins
Let’s get into how you can fast with your menstrual cycle…
Fast with your menstrual cycle (The easiest cheat sheet ever)
- Menstrual Phase (Days 1-7): No fasting while bleeding
- Follicular Phase (Days 7-14): 12-18 hour fast
- Ovulation Phase (Day 14): 12-18 hour fast
- Luteal Phase (Days 16-28): 16-28 hour fast
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So there you have it. What do you think? Has fasting worked for you? Let us know in the comments below! If you want to learn more, check out this best seller
"I fast for greater physical and mental clarity" ~ Plato
If you enjoyed this blog, check out: Seed Cycling: for the 80% of Women Who Suffer From Hormonal Imbalance