(Alanna Ketler) Fasting has been a hot topic around the health community as of late and for good reason. More and more research has emerged which show just how healing fasting can be for our mind, body and spirit. To some this concept may sound completely erroneous as most of us have been taught since a very young age that not only do we need to eat to survive, but that we need to eat three meals a day.
by Alanna Ketler, June 3rd, 2018
The concept of going without food and in some cases, water, goes against our beliefs, however if we begin to look at this topic from a perspective of how our ancestors ate, this certainly begins to make more sense.
For thousands of years, our ancestors only ate food intermittently, when there was food available to eat. They would often go days at a time with no food at all. Nowadays, we can find food at just about every corner. We can find fast, cheap and nutritionally deficient food at our fingertips. If you live in a city, it is likely that you can have food delivered to your door. It is flaunted in our face at all times, one might wonder, so why wouldn’t I eat it if it’s available?
The Benefits Of Fasting
Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging and professor at John Hopkins University says that for optimal health our bodies need to have occasional breaks from eating.
Even intermittent fasting can boost our brain function, ward of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and can hold the key to longevity by speeding up the regeneration of our cells. Mattson discusses all of this and more in the Ted Talk posted below called, Why Fasting Bolsters Brain Power.
“It’s been known for a long time that one way to extend the lifespan of laboratory animals is simply to reduce their [calorie] intake,” he says.
The lifespan of lab rats has been increased by up to 40 percent by feeding them less. Mattson suggests humans could do the same by adopting a lifestyle of intermittent fasting.
“We started looking at the effects of energy restriction on the brain in the context of age-related neuro-degenerative disorders and found we could slow down … Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” Mattson said.
Mattson said fasting improves brain function by challenging it, “Your brain responds to the challenge of not having food by activating pathways that help it cope with stress and resist disease.”
Like vigorous exercise, intermittent fasting promotes neuron growth, strengthens synapses and increases production of new nerve cells. Fasting also increases the number of mitochondria in nerve cells, which improves cognition, memory and mood, and increases the ability of nerve cells to repair DNA, he says.
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