Momentum in the Mountains 2024


The Only Food that Will Not Break a Fast

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 07/19/2024

You’ve probably heard about trendy diets and their supposed health benefits. But have you ever wondered how your body actually cleanses and repairs itself on a cellular level? This process is called autophagy, and fasting is one of the most effective ways to trigger it.

What is Autophagy?

Autophagy is your body’s way of taking out the trash. This natural recycling process clears out damaged cells, proteins, and other waste products that can build up in your body over time.

Think of it like hitting the reset button on your cells. By removing this cellular debris, autophagy may help protect against various health issues. Some research suggests it may even slow down the aging process.

How Fasting Activates Autophagy and Fasting Benefits

While autophagy happens at a basal level all the time, there are ways to boost this cellular housekeeping. This is where fasting comes in.

Fasting is about more than just calorie restriction; it shifts your body into a different metabolic state. When you fast, your body senses a decrease in nutrient availability.

It responds by increasing autophagy to conserve energy and resources. This is one of the major reasons why autophagy and fasting go hand-in-hand.

One of the biggest benefits of this dynamic duo is their potential to fight inflammation. Chronic inflammation is linked to many modern health problems. Autophagy induced by fasting may help clear out inflammatory molecules, reducing inflammation throughout the body.

Other Benefits of Autophagy and Fasting

Besides the anti-aging and anti-inflammatory benefits, autophagy and fasting can positively impact many aspects of your health. Let’s break those benefits down:

Weight loss concept

Weight Management

When you fast and trigger autophagy, your body starts burning stored fat for energy, which could make it easier to reach your weight loss goals.

It may also help you feel fuller between meals, further supporting healthy weight management. However, it’s essential to adopt a balanced approach and combine fasting with a nutritious diet for sustainable results.

Brain Health

Fasting has been shown to potentially promote the growth of new brain cells, improving cognitive function, memory, and focus. Research also shows it may even protect your brain against neurodegenerative diseases.

Heart Health

By potentially improving your cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and insulin sensitivity, fasting may reduce your risk of developing heart disease. However, more research is needed to confirm these benefits.

These factors combined contribute to a healthier cardiovascular system. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a balanced diet, is crucial for optimal heart health.

Immune Support

When you activate autophagy through fasting, your body can more easily identify and destroy harmful invaders like viruses and bacteria. This may result in a more robust immune response.

Fasting Methods and Their Autophagy Benefits

While the concept of fasting might seem intimidating, several different methods can be adapted to suit your lifestyle and experience level:

Intermittent Fasting

This popular approach to fasting cycles between periods of eating and voluntary fasting on a regular schedule, making it a flexible option for many people.

Some common examples of intermittent fasting include the 16/8 method (fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window) and alternate-day fasting.

Prolonged Fasting

This method involves fasting for 24 hours or longer. Prolonged fasts can be beneficial; however, it’s important to consult with your healthcare professional before undertaking a fast this long, especially if you’re new to fasting.

Food as Medicine: What to Eat to Support Autophagy

When you are not fasting, specific foods can actually amplify your autophagy efforts. Incorporating these foods into your diet can provide additional support for cellular cleansing and overall well-being.


Known for its vibrant yellow color, turmeric, and specifically curcumin, is a potent anti-inflammatory. Try adding a teaspoon of turmeric to your next smoothie, soup, or stir-fry for an extra nutritional punch.

Red Wine

Resveratrol, found in red wine, has shown potential in activating autophagy. However, moderation is key. Excessive alcohol consumption can have detrimental effects on your health.

Cruciferous vegetables in a wooden bowl

Cruciferous Vegetables

This group of veggies includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower. Cruciferous vegetables are abundant sources of sulforaphane, a powerful compound. Research reveals this powerhouse compound may promote autophagy.

Eating these foods can also lower your risk of certain types of cancer, according to The National Cancer Institute.

Foods to Limit

While focusing on incorporating foods that boost autophagy, limiting those known to hinder this process is also essential. These include processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive alcohol.

Autophagy, Fasting, and Your Health Journey

Embracing autophagy and fasting offers a multifaceted approach to optimizing your health. It's important to approach any new dietary changes gradually and listen to your body’s signals.

Experimenting with fasting can take time to find what works best for you. These practices empower you to take charge of your health.

It's always best to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making significant dietary changes, especially if you have underlying health conditions.

Boost Your Health

Boosting your health can be significantly enhanced by understanding and incorporating autophagy and the benefits of fasting into your routine.

Autophagy, a natural process where the body cleans out damaged cells and regenerates new ones, is stimulated by fasting. This process can lead to improved cellular health, reduced inflammation, and potentially increased longevity.

Fasting benefits include weight loss, better metabolic health, and improved mental clarity. However, it's crucial to know what breaks a fast.

Consuming any caloric intake, such as food or drinks with sugar, disrupts the fasting state, thereby halting autophagy.

By carefully managing what you consume, you can maximize the health benefits of fasting and support your body's natural rejuvenation processes.


Autophagy and fasting represent a powerful duo in the world of natural health optimization. Understanding how they work provides you with valuable knowledge about your body’s processes.

Harness the combined power of these processes to boost your well-being from the inside out.

Remember, these practices should complement, not replace, other healthy lifestyle habits like regular exercise, quality sleep, stress management, and a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources.

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