There is a growing area of research that not only promises better brain health but also improvements in all-round health and even reverses aging. It is steadily gaining evidence that seems to back up these claims. The problem is that most of the evidence comes from animal studies, at least until now. The research in question is in the area of Intermittent Fasting (IF).
You may have heard of the 5:2 Diet, Lean Gains or a host of other methods. These diets are gaining in popularity because the results from the animal studies are so promising. Longer life spans, reductions in cognitive decline, better health, you name it, IF promises it.
Proponents claim that IF switches the body from a Growth State, where all its energy is put to creating new cells, to a Repair State where it cleans up damaged cells that may accumulate otherwise. This state is also known as Autophagy, literally to eat one’s self, as the cells are consumed and recycled by the body. It is thought that autophagy is important in slowing or reversing Cognitive Decline as we age. It is also be induced by exercise.
Unfortunately, not eating is not easy for much of the world where we are bombarded with cheap unhealthy foods. However Professor Valter Longo, an expert in fasting, may have made it easier by coming up with a new diet. Stop sighing, this diet has a bit more research behind it than the usual fad, even if many of the promises sound familiar (reduction in belly fat as well as slowing aging). But the best news is that it only lasts 5 days a month and the average person need only do it 2 -4 equally spaced months in the year!
“It’s about reprogramming the body so it enters a slower aging mode, but also rejuvenating it through stem cell-based regeneration.” – Professor Longo
The diet entails halving your calorie consumption for the five fast-mimicking days, so around 1,000 calories instead of 2,000 for the average woman and 1,250 for the average man. You can eat normally for the rest of the month!
The study behind the diet was conducted on mice and humans. Both test groups showed an increase in regeneration and a decline in markers for common diseases like Diabetes, Heart Disease and Cancer as well as a reduction in aging bio-markers.
From the study “A Periodic Diet that Mimics Fasting Promotes Multi-System Regeneration, Enhanced Cognitive Performance, and Healthspan”
Intermittent Fasting is not for everyone however. Always check with your Doctor before making any dietary changes. No one under the age of eighteen should embark on calorie restriction as the body and brain are still developing.
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