June 1, 2023

Breakfast is also good for the immune system, if we respect biological rhythms

An experiment (for now on mice) suggests that our defenses could be to some extent influenced by the type of diet we adopt during the day, also respecting the biological rhythms of the body

We’ve all heard that the breakfast the most important meal of the day. The new appearance, according to researchers of the Icahn School of Medicine of Mount Sinai Hospital (USA), that skipping it could compromise the immune system.

Less efficient immune system

The results of the survey, which appeared on immunity, are based on the study of two groups of mice of which only one ate breakfast immediately after waking up. The scholars then collected blood samples from both groups upon awakening, after 4 hours and after 8. The analysis revealed that after 4 hours, 90 percent of the monocytes, a type of white blood cell, of fasting mice for 24 hours had migrated from the bloodstream, where it plays a sentinel role, to the bone marrow to return a few hours after the reintroduction of food. These monocytes, however, had become altered, making the body least efficient at fighting infection.

Respect circadian rhythms

While on the one hand the study seeks to investigate fundamental aspects of the biology of fasting, on the other the main limitation of the research is the sample: Mice have a very different metabolism from ours (in relation to body mass, they eat much larger quantities of food of us) and have reversed (nocturnal) circadian rhythms. This means that the results found in mice are not directly transferable to humans, explains Stefano Erzegovesi, nutritionist and psychiatrist, expert in preventive nutrition and eating disorders. There are numerous evidences according to which the fast
in man, a weapon in the prevention of most diseases related to aging. My advice is to respect its most physiological form, which is to pass 12 hours between the end of dinner and breakfast time. All other forms of fasting, regardless of the data from this study, should be discussed with your doctor. Beyond fasting, it is always useful, from a practical point of view, to follow how human circadian rhythms work: more “awake”, and less resistant to insulin, in the hours when the sun rises above the horizon, and gradually less awake , and more resistant to insulin as bedtime approaches. Therefore preferable concludes the expert, eat more in the first part of the dayespecially if it is about refined flours and sugars, and gradually less as we get closer to bedtime. The other best ally of the immune system is to follow the true Mediterranean diet, varied, mainly based on whole grains, fruit, vegetables, legumes and dried fruit.

March 20, 2023 (change March 20, 2023 | 06:54)

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