When most people think of nutrition, they think about the benefits they will receive from the neck down. The problem is, what you put in your mouth has ramifications on the wetware between your ears as well.
The cognitive benefits of intermittent fasting are worth investigating for anyone from entrepreneurs, students, knowledge workers and more. That's what we will look at today.
1. Reduce Inflammation
Intermittent fasting reduces systemic inflammation in the body, full stop.
A link has been shown between inflammation and neural diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia. Reducing inflammation in the system can have numerous benefits in staving off these diseases long term. Some studies have looked at the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, but why not try to get the same results without the drugs?
Intermittent fasting reduces inflammation in three key ways: By increasing autophagy, by increasing ketone production, and by curbing or resolving insulin resistance.
2. Boost Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor
Plants need food to grow - so does your brain.
Brain derived neurotropic factor, or BDNF for short, plays a key role in neuron protection and new growth. From producing new brain cells, protecting the ones you already have, to even improving memory and improving mood, BDNF is something we all need to produce at a high level.
3. Naturally Increase HGH
Human growth hormone, or HGH for short, isn't just beneficial for building new muscle and getting jacked.
HGH has also been shown to improve cognition, be neuroprotective, and increase neurogenesis (more on this term in just a moment).
Intermittent fasting can massively improve your natural production of HGH so you can get most, if not all, of the benefits of this hormone without exogenous injections.
Not only will you get the mental benefits of more HGH, but with the right training and diet, you'll look better too. That's a win-win all around.
4. Increase Neurogenesis
Intermittent fasting has been shown to increase neurogenesis, or the production of new brain cells.
Obviously, building new brain cells will keep your mind sharp, young, and healthy over the long-term.
By simply manipulating the times that you eat you can help foster an environment that is conducive to building new cells.
5. Increase Mitochondrial Biogenesis
Mitochondria are essentially the little power plants of your cells. By increasing these little guys, you have more sustained energy through your day, your workouts, and your life.
More mitochondria in the brain means more brain power.
Intermittent fasting improves the production of new mitochondria (biogenesis) exponentially.
Humans evolved to move through periods of fasting and periods of feasting - we were not designed to eat six meals a day out of tupperware. By aligning with this natural tendency you will start to reap the benefits and you will do so fairly quickly.
In the next article on intermittent fasting, we will look at how to get started and a few different ways to live this lifestyle.