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Autophagy - what is it?

Autophagy is a natural process whereby the gut wall regenerates itself.

When given time to rest, in the absence of solid foods, your gut does a bit of housekeeping and sheds it's superficial layer.

This has many benefits including a reduction in inflammation, creating a conducive environment for probiotic bacterial growth and improving your immune response. Autophagy starts following a fast of about 12 hours. In fact I believe it is one of the main benefits of intermittent fasting alongside achieving a lower total daily calorie intake.

You can achieve this relatively easily when you include your overnight fast which is typically 8 hours already in the bank. Breakfast is not King and by skipping breakfast many find they actually feel more focused up until lunch time. And the good news is that coffee is on the menu (preferably black without sugar) - now is not the time to start a caffeine detox.

So what actually happens during autphagy? Well blood flow to your gut reduces when you are active and increases when you rest. That's why practicing autophagy for gut health works better overnight - blood flow to your gut is at it's greatest post meal and in a rested state. Timing of your meals and snacks is important too. Skipping your evening meal and going to bed hungry can disturb your sleep? Having a moderate amount of carbs at night will help your body 'rest and digest and release hormones such as melatonin that aid sleep.

Getting adequate water on board during autophagy is key. Aim for at least 1.5l before midday. I particularly enjoy rooibos tea during this period.

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