Most of us are already sold on the fact that intermittent fasting is an easy, healthy and extremely effective weight loss method.
But did you know about the added benefits it has on the health of your brain? According to recent research, intermittent fasting once or twice a week can help ward off diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. What a bonus!
Numerous studies have shown a positive correlation between calorie restriction and reduced risk of disease. One recent study conducted by Mark Mattson, head of the National Institute of Aging’s neuroscience lab, showed that brain cells in rodents benefited from alternate day calorie restriction because it protected them from the malfunctioning effects associated with aging and disease.
So how exactly can eating less food help your brain? Just like your muscles, it is good to stress your brain in order to promote growth. Intermittent fasting puts mild stress on brain cells, which encourages the brain to rev up its defenses to protect you and cleans up its cells of any damage.
This process is called autophagy. In lay man’s terms, when you stress your biceps with heavy weights, your muscles are forced to protect themselves by growing and becoming stronger so they’re prepared for the next time you lift weights. This same type of process occurs in the brain through intermittent fasting to make it more resilient to disease later in life.
According to research, all it takes to boost your protection is fasting once or twice a week, which can be either a calorie intake of no more than 500 on those days (The 5:2 Method) or a 24 hour period of consuming no calories (24 hour fasts). Easy!
That’s more than enough to prompt the brain to build a counter-force against the molecular damage that cause disease.
Those of us who fast on a regular basis are less likely to suffer from an array of mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, dementia and even depression in the future, than those who don’t fast. In addition to this, fasting has an incredible fighting power against chronic disease such as cancer and diabetes so it seems like a no-brainer as a weight loss and lifestyle choice.
So if you ever lose motivation to fast, just think about the incredible effects it will have on your brain cell health and the fact they’ll be revved up to fight the first sign of neurological disease. Your future self will thank you for it!