The gastrointestinal (GI) tract, commonly refereed to as the gut, is a complex system responsible for functions like digesting food, storing energy, and removal of waste.

The gut also hosts trillions of microbes that perform many digestive functions and effect our health and life quality. These micro-organisms create vital nutrients, combat pathogens, improve organ activity and defend us against infection and disease. [1]

We know that what we eat impacts our gut and overall health. But, recent research shows that when we eat also affects our GI system and trillions of its microbial residents. In short, abstaining from food can improve digestive and metabolic processes along with healthier microbiome stocks. [2]

Let us take a closer look at how intermittent fasting (IF) benefits the digestive system, and when we eat may be as important as what we eat. 

Related Posts:

Intermittent Fasting a Beginner’s Guide

tea bag in a cup

What is the Gut Microbiome?

Microbial colonies collection within the body is believed to be around 37.2 trillion cells that are made up of bacteria, fungi, and viruses which reside on our skin, mouth, digestive tract, nasal and vaginal cavities. [5]

Together this micro-population is called microbiome. [5-6] The microbes that live inside our digestive tract are often called gut flora made up of the biggest and most diverse varieties. Gut microbes help us break down foods and produce important compounds that we don’t have machinery for (like vitamins B, K and short-chain fatty acids).

Microbes compete for GI tract real-estate and oppose invading pathogens from setting up camp to cause disruptions and disease. [6] Just like any living organism, microbiomes also adapt to their environment which happens to be us.

What we do, eat, even feel affects our gut flora’s diversity. [6] Some of the negative changes may result in bloating, physical discomforts and greater risk of the metabolic, immune and behavioural type diseases. [6-8,16]

ELEVATE Chai (Digestion & Detox Tea)

Elevate Gut Power Tea

Flavour: Cafe Tea Latte (prominent Star Anise and Nutmeg Tea)

Function:  5-Spice Gut Support Blend (1,250 mg spices / teabag)

    • Black Tea helps weight-loss, improves good gut bacteria.
    • Ginger eases stomach pains, improves digestion.
    • Cinnamon balances blood sugar levels.
    • Cardamom combats harmful bacteria.
    • Nutmeg soothes the gut, enhances digestive processes.
    • Star Anise stops dangerous bacteria.

Intermittent Fasting can improve Gut Health

1. Improve Gut’s Circadian Rhythm

Our gut, like our body, operates on a circadian rhythm also known as sleep-wake cycle.  To produce uninterrupted energy, our metabolism continuously switches between using sugars during the day and fats at night.

Side note, scientists are still learning about this complex process that activates specific genes, adjusts hormones (insulin during day, melatonin at night), and times during energy production (maximizing mitochondrial activity). [9]

What we know for sure is, a healthy metabolism is a flexible one, capable of adjusting its activities and energy based on the time of the day.

Take insulin as an example; a hormone that triggers energy storage by moving sugar out of bloodstream into cells. Insulin is most effective during the morning and midday, and less so in the late evening and night time.

Therefore, late snacking triggers a less functional insulin response resulting in longer lasting elevated blood sugar levels. Because such habits fall outside the optimal circadian eating window, they can increase our risk for metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even some cancers. [9,10]

Intermittent fasting eating windows often fall within sleep-wake cycles, thus improving insulin sensitivity and reversing any metabolic inefficiencies.

2. Boost Microbiome Diversity

As part of our metabolism, gut microbes also do better when aligned with the circadian rhythm. [11,16] Microbiome fluctuates from what we eat (diet) as well as when we eat.

For example, high fat diet lowers Bacteroidetes phylum bacteria while increasing cultures within Firmicutes phylum—changes associated with obesity. [11,12] Bacteriodetes digest wide range of proteins and complex sugars; while Firmicutes are involved in energy reabsorption.

Reducing late night eating and extending fasting periods can produce various wellness benefits including weight loss and healthier gut microbiome. [11-13]

Fasting not only modifies gut flora but also improve their effectiveness, which reduces inflammation and lower rates of digestive diseases. [12-13,18] Bad bacteria are more sensitive to fasting which slows down their growth (reproduction).

Fasting can even help fight pathogenic strains (like Salmonella typhimurium) eliminating unhealthy gut symptoms altogether. [14] Hence, fasting can aid in making good gut bacteria more resilient while relieving digestive issues.

Eating wide varieties of foods further helps with increasing microbiome diversity, which is a win-win. [13]

3. Strengthen Gut Barrier

Digesting food on daily basis is hard work, and doing so continuously can be exhausting. Fasting provides the digestive tract time to rest and restore some of its integrity.

Fasting allows time to fix issues such as “leaky gut” (or intestinal permeability), where gut lining is weakened allowing toxins, food particles and even pathogens to slip through and enter bloodstream. If untreated, leaky gut can trigger an inflammatory response like endotoxemia, leading to several metabolic and immunity risks. [15]

Furthermore, fasting can strengthen the gut barrier, lowering intestinal inflammation and reducing symptoms of gut related issues such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). [16] Stronger gut barrier further enhances conditions for good gut bacteria to live, grow and function.

4. Helps Gut Motility—Migrating Motor Complex

Gut motility is the movement of food through the GI tract. This process is regulated by migrating motor complex (MMC), a system of nerves in the intestines which synchronize wave-like contractions throughout the digestive system.

MMC acts as GI’s housekeeping system, helping with nutrient absorption and removal of overgrown bacteria from small intestine into the colon. Malfunctioning MMC produces discomforts like bloating, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or functional dyspepsia (FD). [17]

MMC occurs only during fasting (not eating), that is between meals or during sleep. Fasting enhances MMC and strengthens digestive processes, maintains a healthy gut flora while reducing inflammation and other related gut discomforts. [17,18]

This is why “when” we eat has become as important as “what” we eat. Coupled with a balanced diet comprised of fiber, pre- and pro-biotic foods, fasting can further digestive benefits such as insulin sensitivity, mitochondrial function, tissue repair, immune response as well as reducing bad gut bacteria and inflammation. [19]

Extent your fast, stay hydrated and meet your micronutrient profile with our IF-friendly and healthy Spiced Teas.

chai teabags product photo

Not all IF-Teas are created equal as many companies shortchange their versions of this traditional drink using flavours and sprays to create the feel without substance.

Health benefits of chai come from wide range of active ingredients found within spices and herbs.

These ingredients possess compounds called polyphenols which are released during the brewing process.

A chai tea with purpose and more benefits must be:

  • High Quality and Quantity of Ingredients: no dust, presses or extracts.
  • More Spices: as most potent superfoods, spices are what give chai its benefits.  
  • No Sugar: #1 ingredient in most chai blends, sugar and/or substitutes have been linked to cascade of health issues and should be avoided.
  • No “natural” or artificial Flavours: majority of Chai tea brands spray their blends with spice essence, flavours and alike rather than adding real ingredients. Cost saving strategy for them and no health benefits for you. 

Spiced Teas can Enhance Fasting Gut Health

To maximize on fasting benefits, it is wise to avoid any calories during the no-eating window. Drinking plain black coffee or tea is allowed as these drinks maintain the fasting state while keeping hunger at bay. [20]

Another benefit is that beverages like tea contain polyphenols, many of which are powerful antioxidants containing numerous health benefits. [20]

Polyphenols are strong enough to survive stomach acids and about 10% are ingested and absorbed in small intestine. Majority move into the colon to be metabolized and nourish good bacteria while inhibiting the bad cultures. [21]

Once processed by gut bacteria, polyphenol metabolites are absorbed into bloodstream and carried to various cells where they scavenge free radicals, reduce inflammation, and protect tissues from oxidative stress. [22,23] Polyphenols that don’t get absorbed and remain in the colon act as prebiotics, and used by bacterial enzymes to further gut function and health. [21-22]

Polyphenols are readily found in all plants. But, the most potent polyphenol superfoods on the planet are spices. Like plain tea and coffee, spices also don’t noticeably increase blood sugar while improving fasting experience through limiting hunger, revving up metabolism and burning fat. [23]

This is why Dupi’s Chai spiced teas contain 3x the amount of spice compared to any other tea/chai product and are powerful forms of all natural polyphenols available on the market.

Final Thoughts

Our body is a true super-organism made up of complex operating systems along with trillions of living microbe organisms. These microbiomes are housed throughout the body with the largest populations residing in our digestive tract. The gut microbes are capable of growing, diversifying and adapting to our internal environment in form of diet, stress and daily routines. 

Intermittent fasting can align with our circadian clocks creating improvements in metabolic energy, gut health as well as stronger and more resilient gut flora.

During fasting, many often use no or low caloric beverages such as teas and coffees. Teas, spices and coffee contain polyphenols, compounds that offer wide range of wellness benefits.

Dupi’s Chai works perfectly within any eating regime including intermittent fasting offering blends of all natural spiced teas that enhance fasting experience and benefits without sacrificing the taste.

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