Connector March 2024

CONNECTOR.AE 50 CONNECTOR.AE 51 Health and Wellness Health and Wellness and other additions, as they are considered whole food and add to your calorie intake. When it’s time to eat, ‘eating normally’ doesn’t mean indulging excessively. Opt for nutritious foods like leafy greens, healthy fats, lean protein, and whole grains. Avoid high-calorie junk food and fried items. Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting Intermittent fasting has become a lifestyle for weight management and improving health. And explaining the benefits of intermittent fasting, Dr. Zemer Wang, Medical Director at DP World’s Aviv Clinics Dubai, shares a few pointers that one must note. As per Dr Zemer Wang, the potential benefits of intermittent fasting are: 1.Weight Loss and Fat Loss: By reducing the eating window, intermittent fasting can lead to a natural reduction in calorie intake, thus promoting weight loss. 1. Simplicity: Many find intermittent fasting simple and convenient, as it reduces meal planning and preparation time. 1. Autophagy: This process, where cells remove toxins and repair themselves, is increased during fasting states, potentially reducing inflammation and the risk of several chronic diseases. Recent scientific reports hypothesise that this process may also play a role in contributing to longevity. 1. Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Intermittent fasting improves the insulin sensitivity of the cells, which may lead to a reduction of the risk of type 2 diabetes and improve diabetic control for those suffering from the disease. 1. Heart Health: Intermittent fasting may contribute to a reduction in risk factors for heart disease. 1. Brain Health: It has been suggested that intermittent fasting can improve neuroplasticity andmay also be a protective factor against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis; however more scientific data is needed for validation. Adding to this, Mariam Al Shamsi, Senior Clinical Dietitian at Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, said, “Several studies suggest that intermittent fasting not only exhibits anti-aging effects but also contributes to enhanced cognitive functions, promoting improved thinking and memory. However, it’s crucial to be mindful of improper fasting practices, such as breaking the fast with heavy meals, as they can trigger digestive discomfort like bloating, indigestion, and acid reflux.” Risk Of Intermittent Fasting And Who Should Avoid Before starting intermittent fasting, consult your doctor to assess your health and objectives. While some use it for weight management or to address health issues like high cholesterol, it’s not suitable for everyone. Avoid intermittent fasting if you’re under 18, pregnant or breastfeeding, have type 1 diabetes and take insulin, or have a history of eating disorders. Explaining this in detail, Dr. Zemer Wang, Medical Director at DP World’s Aviv Clinics Dubai, says, “Fasting may not be suitable for individuals with certain medical conditions or those taking specific medications. Changing eating patterns from three meals a day to one or two meals may be challenging for some. Intermittent fasting could potentially trigger disordered eating behaviours in sensitive individuals, such as binge eating. During fasting periods, some may experience fatigue, irritability, or mood swings, though this often improves over time. While there’s limited evidence on its impact on fertility and pregnancy, radical dietary changes during pregnancy should be avoided without medical consultation.” Intermittent Fasting And Gut Health Beyond the simplicity of skipping meals, intermittent fasting delves into a realm where eating habits and nutrition intake link to one’s gut’s tiny inhabitants. There is without a doubt, a connection between intermittent fasting, a well-nourished body, and the flourishing ecosystem within the gut microbiome (the collection of all microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and their genes, that naturally live on our bodies and inside us.) Dr. Pranab Gyawali, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Mubadala Health Dubai, emphasised the crucial role the microbiome plays in digestive well-being, shedding light on how intermittent fasting can influence it. He highlighted the microbiome’s significance in supporting gut health, aiding digestion, fortifying the immune system, and preventing the entry of pathogens into the body. The microbiome, consisting of trillions of bacteria in the large bowel, undergoes notable changes during intermittent fasting. He said: “Intermittent fasting can significantly impact the gut microbiome by altering its composition and increasing bacterial diversity, essential for good gut health.” Research findings, as mentioned by Dr. Pranab Gyawali, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Mubadala Health Dubai, indicated that intermittent fasting promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. These bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, known for their anti-inflammatory properties and role in strengthening the gut barrier. Dr. Gyawali said, “These changes can contribute to improving metabolism, enhancing metabolic health, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.” Dr. Pranab Gyawali, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Mubadala Health Dubai, outlined several benefits, including improved gut motility, reduced inflammation, and enhanced gut barrier function. Fasting periods also provide an opportunity for repair and maintenance of the gut lining.