Beyond weight loss: How fasting can reset your immune system and keep you fighting fit this winter.

Summer is well and truly over and it’s the season of coughs, colds and comfort food. During the winter months it can take a little more effort than usual to stay fit and healthy. So how can you support your immune system health and stay on top of your game this season? 

Harley St Nutritionist Kim Pearson says; “If there is one sure way to hack your health this winter, it’s with prolonged fasting.”

Fasting and your immune system

Professor Valter Longo, leading expert in the field of fasting and creator of the fast mimicking diet ProLon explains that fasting is one scientifically proven way of promoting a healthy immune system. “When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged.” He added “What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back.” Fasting also activates stem cells of the immune system to renew and repair themselves. Simply put, fasting has regenerating effects on the immune system helping to get rid of old and damaged immune cells white promoting healthy new ones. 

Preventing winter weight gain

“What motivates many to fast is the promise of rapid weight loss. When used in conjunction with a healthy, balanced diet, we know that prolonged fasting can be a very effective way of speeding up fat loss. Research has also highlighted the fact that it’s particularly effective at targeting abdominal fat, the more dangerous fat stored centrally around the middle. In the winter it can be more challenging to stick to a healthy diet with salads losing their appeal and the lure of warming comfort foods. Fasting can be an ideal way to counterbalance seasonal excesses or reset after a period of indulgence.” says Kim.

Additional measures

In addition to fasting, there are a few other steps you can take to stay healthy this winter. Despite cooler temperatures, it’s still important to stay hydrated. If you find drinking cold water a challenge, consider warming herbal teas, or hot water with lemon and ginger. “Due to the fact that so many of us are deficient, the government now recommend that we all take a vitamin D supplement during autumn and winter months. Take a daily supplement with a minimum dose of 1000iu, more if you are deficient. As party season fast approaches, this can mean more late nights than usual so do your best to compensate for late nights by factoring in extra time to catch up on sleep when you do get the opportunity. Get into the habit of tuning into your body’s needs and doing what you need to in order to support your health and wellbeing through these colder months.” says Pearson.

ProLon is a five-day diet designed to mimic a fast. It provides all of the health benefits associated with prolonged fasting, while allowing you to enjoy tasty, plant based mini meals. It’s available for £225 from

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