How to Improve Learning, Memory and Problem Solving Naturally through Fasting

How to Improve Learning, Memory and Problem Solving Naturally through Fasting

Are you feeling sluggish? Do you feel as if you’re in a fog, or are having difficulty with information recall or cognition? Interestingly enough, your diet may be playing a huge role in your brain’s ability to excel with daily tasks.

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at how you can use intermittent fasting to improve your brain’s overall health for today and in the future.

What is Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) isn’t a diet, but rather an eating pattern. With intermittent fasting, you alternate between periods of eating and periods of fasting. There are a few different ways you can practice IF, but they all subscribe to the same basic premise of restricting your food intake.

Scientists have been researching fasts for decades now, and fasting appears to have a positive impact on weight loss and our metabolic health. It also may help prevent or slow the progression of certain diseases, including Alzheimer’s and dementia and can even lead to a longer life.

Today, we’re going to focus on how intermittent fasting can have a positive effect on the brain and in areas such as learning, cognition, and memory.

How Intermittent Fasting Affects Learning, Memory, and Problem Solving

Beyond the facts that IF may help you lose weight or prevent illnesses, research shows that it has a profound effect on the health of our brains. Here are some of the many ways that IF can promote brain health.

IF Helps Your Brain Generate More BDNF

The most important area where intermittent fasting can promote brain health is in the area of BDNF production.

BDNF is short for brain derived neurotrophic factor, which is a protein in our brains that plays a major role in many key brain functions. In short, BDNF helps improve neuron function while also helping neurons to grow stronger while protecting them from premature cell death.

Healthy neurons are responsible for many of the processes that occur inside our brains, and they play a major role in cognitive processes as well as learning and memory. BDNF is critical to healthy brain function, and research suggests that intermittent fasting can have a major effect on the amount of BDNF that the brain produces.

As you’d imagine, the more BDNF the brain produces, the healthier the brain is, and the easier it is for the brain to process tasks related to memory and learning.

IF Can Generate New Brain Cells

Beyond helping with memory and cognition, intermittent fasting has shown that it can also help the brain generate new cells. A recent study funded by the ARC Future Fellowship and the Medical College of Georgia found that fasting on a 16:8 cycle increases neurogenesis in the brain.

Neurogenesis is the process of growth and development of new cells and tissues within the brain. Increased neurogenesis has been linked to improved memory, increased brain performance, improved mood and focus.

IF Keeps Our Brains Younger

One of the better-known benefits of fasting is that it results in a marked increase in the production of human growth hormone within the body. While most people know HGH as a substance that bodybuilders and athletes can use to build muscle and gain an advantage over the competition, it’s responsible for so much more.

The HGH that’s produced by our bodies shows impressive anti-aging effects, helping our brains to remain younger for longer. Beyond that, HGH also exhibits neuroprotective properties which help to preserve brain health and performance as we age.

Intermittent fasting may also help delay the onset of symptoms or reduce the severity of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Dementia. Preliminary studies have shown that fasting can also help improve cognition in patients dealing with a disease that results in cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s.

IF Leads to More Energy

If you’ve ever fasted before, you’ve probably noticed that your energy is low and you’re feeling moody for the first few days of your new routine. But, once you break through those first few days, fasting can provide you with more energy while also improving your mood.

In each cell in your body, there are mitochondria. Mitochondria provide your cells with the energy they need to complete the processes they’re responsible for. Mitochondria take the food we eat and turns it into energy that can be used at a cellular level.

Studies have revealed that intermittent fasting boosts mitochondrial biogenesis. In other words, intermittent fasting creates new mitochondria. These new mitochondria provide a boost in energy. In particular, new mitochondria in the brain can increase brain power, which has implications related to memory, cognition, and learning as well.

IF Can Protect the Brain from Trauma

Another reason why intermittent fasting is worth taking a closer look at is its ability to help protect the brain from trauma.

Animal studies suggest that intermittent fasting may reduce the severity of a stroke. Thanks to the increase of BDNF as well as other anti-inflammatory brain compounds, fasting animals that suffered a stroke experienced less brain damage and were less likely to die as a result of the stroke than animals that weren’t fasting.

A study by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provided promising results about the connection between fasting and a reduction in seizures in epileptic patients as well.

How to Fast for Brain Health

As you can see, there’s some pretty compelling research out there that suggests intermittent fasting can have a dramatic positive effect on brain health. Let’s take a closer look at how you can harness the power of IF to improve brain health.

Method I: The 16/8 Method

The first method of intermittent fasting you may wish to try is the 16/8 method. This is the easiest way to get started with fasting, and for some people, it doesn’t even represent a major change.

With the 16/8 method, you alternate between 16 hours of fasting, with an 8-hour window to eat. Most people who employ the 16/8 method fast from 8 pm to noon the next day. If you strive to get eight hours of sleep each night, you’ll only need to account for an extra four hours of fasting.

During periods of fasting, you should only consume water, although coffee or tea within moderation are also permitted, provided that you don’t use sugar. Any supplements you may be taking are also permitted, provided that they don’t have any calories.

Method II: The 5:2 Fast

The 5:2 method of fasting may seem a bit more extreme, but some people find that it’s much easier than the 16/8 method because you spend less time each week fasting.

With this method of IF, you spend five days each week eating as you regularly would. Then, for two days each week, you hardly eat at all. For men, that means consuming 600 calories or less each day. For women, that number is 500 or less.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a license to pig out. During the five days of non-fasting each week, you should strive to eat a balanced and healthy diet. If you’re not focused on healthy eating habits during the non-fasting days, you won’t reap nearly as many benefits as you would otherwise.

During the fasting days, your body’s metabolic rate increases, and your body can focus its energy on repairing itself instead of digesting food. You’ll also unlock the brain health benefits of fasting as well. This healthy lifestyle change may also help you to lose weight.

Considering that this fasting method requires you to enter into a near-starvation diet two days each week, you may want to start by trying the 16/8 method before moving on to this more advanced method of fasting.

Is Fasting Right for You?

For most people, intermittent fasting may have a broad range of benefits from weight loss to brain health. While scientists continue to study the effects of fasting, much more research in the field is needed before we can conclusively suggest that intermittent fasting is right for you.

Keep in mind that intermittent fasting has a dramatic effect on the body’s blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, if you deal with Diabetes, hypoglycemia or other blood sugar related conditions, it’s best to avoid intermittent fasting, at least until you have your blood sugar issues under control.

Intermittent fasting should also be avoided by children, pregnant women, or those dealing with certain medical conditions, such as ALS. If you’re unsure if IF is a good choice for you, consult with your doctor and get their professional opinion on the matter.

Getting Started

Intermittent fasting is something that humans have done for centuries without even being aware of the benefits. As scientists spend more time studying how the body reacts to fasting, we’re now beginning to understand the powerful benefits of fasting on our body and mind.

Knowing how intermittent fasting can affect brain power, cognition, learning, attention, mood and virtually every other aspect of brain function, now is as good a time as any to get started on the road to better brain health today. What are you waiting for? Get fasting!


About the Author:

Scott Fanello writes for to help men and women build the body of their dreams by focusing on fasting and longevity diets. Bust through your weight plateau and grab your Free Checklist To Restart Fat Burning Through Fasting.

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