Updated: Oct 13
What if I told you there's a diet that has anti-aging effects and can rejuvenate and revive your skin, brain cells, heart tissue...everything! Would you be willing to give it a try?
Well, according to scientists and researchers there is actually one, and it's all because of a process called; Autophagy.
Autophagy which literally means Self-eating (Auto = Self + Phagy = eat) - was discovered by Belgian biochemist Dr. Christian De Duve who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for this discovery in 1975 then later on Japanese biologist Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi won a Nobel Prize in the same field in 2016 for discovering how to intensify it.
Now if you're anything like me - a female desperate to find a healthy lifestyle that keeps the pounds off and is easy to stick to for the longest while, then you've definitely come across that word in your search, however, if you haven't then allow me to tell you a thing or two about it.
Autophagy takes place in the "Lysosomes" in your cells, these Lysosomes take intercellular pathogens; bacteria, viruses, microbes .. etc, deformed cells, misfolded proteins; think of these as a result of a glitch in the system (in this case the system being your body) that caused the creation of said proteins, these misfolded proteins then accumulate and can cause diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cataract if the body doesn't get rid of them in some way. So Lysosomes "recycle" all those mentioned above producing free fatty acids and amino acids which are the building blocks of body tissue. And this is where autophagy got its fame for being an "anti-aging" process; as it helps build new healthy tissue from bad or damaged components.
Now, forget all this scientific talk, and let’s get down to business. How can we have that? How can we enhance autophagy in our bodies?
The answer is simple; Fasting! Or to be more specific intermittent fasting.
You see, there are 3 different kinds of autophagy, the most famous one we're speaking about here is through the stimulation of AMP protein kinase (an enzyme) to create energy. This is activated when your body runs out of carbohydrates to fuel itself and it has to depend on its own stored fat/glycogen for energy, which happens when you're fasting for a long period of time (12+ hours).
The easiest simplest way to do this is by skipping one meal/day so if your last meal was at 7 pm on a day, you don't eat anything until noon the next day. And it's recommended to do this at least twice/week.
It’s worth mentioning that there are some foods that enhance autophagy in the body. Meaning you have to be fasting for your body to use AMP but these foods have chemicals that either allow your body to produce more AMP or "doubles" its effect such as green tea, ginger, turmeric, and curcumin.
What else? Our personal favorite; working out and taking up HIIT (High-intensity interval training) or LISS (Low-intensity steady-state cardio) or resistant training like yoga can also enhance autophagy in your body.
To wrap up, autophagy is a wonderful miraculous process that happens within the body itself and there's so much more to learn about, I just peeled the first layer off for you, but you can easily google any of these guys, Naomi Whittel, Yoshinori Ohsumi and Thomas DeLauer for more on the topic.
May we always be healthier than we were yesterday.
Further resources: https://www.healthline.com/health/autophagy