You have probably heard before that happier people live longer. A major reason why this is true is that happier people tend to manage stress better than unhappy people. When we are stressed, our bodies produce a lot of cortisol which can lead to negative health impacts such as blood sugar dysregulation, hormone fluctuations, weight gain, and more. This is why stress management is so essential to longevity.
Stress Management and Longevity
When we are chronically stressed, our bodies produce a ton of cortisol, which is our stress hormone. Now don’t get me wrong, we need cortisol! It helps us to focus, stay alert, and do our work, but what we don’t need is an insane amount of cortisol rushing through our bodies every second of every day. Fortunately, there are lots of great ways to manage cortisol in the body, but the key is finding something that works for you, individually.
Perhaps you love meditation, or yoga, or maybe walking outside is your cortisol-management therapy. Whatever it is that brings you joy and helps you breathe, continue to do it!
Unfortunately, a lot of us believe that stress-management is a luxury and something that isn’t essential to our well-being, but I am here to tell you that in order to promote longevity, you MUST have a stress-management system in place.
Some of our Daily Dose programs include mindfulness and meditation which may be just the thing you need to help with stress. It also might help to have someone else do the cooking for you, so don’t hesitate to sign up for any of our meal plans today!
Just to close the loop on the stress conversation, chronic emotional stress leads to unfavorable changes to the gut microbiome. We know, based on a lot of good data, that a healthy and robust microbiome is absolutely essential to longevity.
Longevity and the Gut Connection
We hear all the time about how important it is to have a balanced gut microbiome, but what is the connection between a healthy gut and longevity? Well, what we know is that having a diverse microbiome impacts our ability to fight disease and inflammation.
New data emerging shows that a healthy gut could help to reduce biological age by restoring aging-related immune and cognitive impairments. What this means is that it can be so easy to eat your way into feeling younger!
Some ways to help support a diverse and healthy microbiome are by reducing stress, eating a wide array of nutrients-including plenty of fiber, incorporating probiotic-rich foods in your routine like yogurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi, and focusing on blood sugar balance.
All of our meal plans at the Daily Dose help to balance blood sugar like our paleo plan and ketotarian plan, but specifically our fasting programs- Rehab 28 and Longevity Fast are designed to support blood sugar management via increased insulin sensitivity.
Intermittent Fasting and Longevity
Intermittent fasting (IF) is proving to be an incredible strategy at promoting longevity and reducing biological age. IF has been shown to reduce inflammation, minimize cellular aging, promote blood sugar regulation, and reduce oxidative stress.
Before we get into the types of IF, you should know that IF is not safe for everyone. First and foremost, do not try IF without consulting with your provider, but it is definitely not safe for children, pregnant women, individuals with eating disorders or a history of eating disorders, women who are breastfeeding, and those who are underweight. You may also want to hold back on IF if you are chronically stressed or have hormone imbalances until those conditions are managed.
Okay, so now let’s chat about the major types of fasting:
- 5:2 Fasting: In this type of fast, you eat normally for 5 days and then fast for 2 days of the week where you consume about 500-600 calories.
- Time restricted eating: In this type of fast, you are eating in a specific window of time and fasting in a specific window- usually 14-16 hours. So for example, you may eat from 9AM-5PM, or 10AM-6PM
- Stop. Eat: This fast involves a 24 hour (complete) fast 1-2x a week.
- Alternate Day Fasting: The goal is to do a modified fast every other day (about 500 calories)
How Exactly Does Intermittent Fasting Improve Longevity?
- For one, IF is helpful in regulating blood sugar levels and has actually been shown to prevent individuals with prediabetes from getting type 2 diabetes. Fasting helps reduce hemoglobin A1C levels which is a marker that looks at how your body processes blood sugar in a 3 month time frame.
- IF helps to promote weight loss which can be very helpful for blood sugar management, and can help to lower insulin requirements, thus improving insulin sensitivity.
- IF helps reduce inflammation in the body, and as we know, many diseases can be caused by chronic inflammation. The thought process here is that intermittent fasting reduces oxidative stress to the cells, thus protecting them from oxidative damage.
- Lastly, IF has been found to be helpful in reducing brain inflammation, improving cognitive function, and reducing brain plaque, thus minimizing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
How We Can Support You Here at the Daily Dose!
You might feel overwhelmed at the prospect of IF, which is totally understandable! A great place to start is with our Rehab28 program which eases you into a 5 day fast. This program provides a 5 day plant-based fast and 21 days clean eating cleanse. You can expect to feel energized, rejuvenated, and refreshed during this program which also includes an exercise and meditation program. If you want a shorter program, you can try our longevity fast which is a 5 day fasting program for a total metabolic reset. Whatever you choose you can feel that here at The Daily Dose we have your back (and your longevity too!).
Tricia Williams is a talented Chef recognized as a leader in the fields of Nutrition and Holistic Health. Some years ago, Tricia founded Food Matters, a boutique, nutritionally-sound meal delivery service. Closely collaborating with her clients’ coaches, integrative physicians, and nutritionists, Tricia was able to successfully tailor meal plans that met both their taste preferences and their health goals.
Rehab28 is a system-based approach designed to help you get back on track and reclaim your health. Let’s face it, today’s modern life often comes with a side of stress, bad food choices, insomnia and then some. Most of it can be addressed with proper nutrition, mindfulness and movement. more info