As a Brain Warrior, you probably know that intermittent fasting has been making headlines as a weight-loss strategy. Intermittent fasting is when you give your body a chance to rest between meals. Typically, this age-old practice involves fasting for about 12-16 hours at a time. I find that it makes me think more clearly and feel more energetic. But what does it really do to your brain and body? Here are 7 science-backed health benefits of taking a break from eating.
1. Takes out the “brain trash”
Think of a little Pacman going through your brain and body gobbling up debris—that’s what intermittent fasting is like. It triggers a process called autophagy, in which your body literally consumes defective tissues and clears out debris called amyloid plaques that build up and are believed to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease. By clearing out damaged cells, it promotes regeneration of newer, healthier cells.
2. Fights insulin resistance
Research in the British Journal of Nutrition shows that intermittent fasting produces greater improvements in insulin sensitivity, which helps you prevent type 2 diabetes. Having too much insulin distorts your hunger/satiety hormones, causing you to feel hungry even though you’ve just eaten. Improving insulin sensitivity reverses this trend so you feel full.
3. Lowers blood pressure during sleep
Time-restricted feeding helps reduce blood pressure while you sleep, which is really good for your heart, and what’s good for your heart is good for your brain. Avoiding meals for 2-3 hours prior to bedtime decreases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
4. Burns more fat
Intermittent fasting helps to accelerate metabolism, rev up growth hormone production, increase muscle mass, and burn more fat. Basically, it’s the fountain of youth.
5. Boosts memory
Restricting the hours when you eat has been shown to significantly improve memory, according to a study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
6. Decreases inflammatory markers
Inflammation has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, obesity, and more. Intermittent fasting lowers inflammation, according to findings in Nutrition Research, which can have powerful benefits for your physical and mental health.
7. Enhances mood
Research in the Journal of Nutrition Health & Aging found that after 3 months of intermittent fasting, study participants reported improved moods and decreased tension, anger, and confusion.
Because there is such a wealth of research pointing to important health benefits, I recommend intermittent fasting to Brain Warriors. The best way to do it is to begin fasting several hours before bedtime. For example, you can stop eating at 7 p.m. and then don’t eat again until after 7 a.m. the following morning.
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