By Renee Pantas
Whilst many have a basic understanding of what the 5:2 diet encompasses, very few understand exactly what it DOES to your body. The benefits of fasting have long been studied and it is suggested that by following the 5:2, you can dramatically impact the body and the mind for the better.
Here are 3 reasons why fasting can help you lead a better life.
THE BRAIN- Better memory, increased cognitive skills
Studies on mice showed that intermittent fasting increased levels of BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor)
This stimulates the growth of new brain cells in hippocampus which in turn leads to better memory (a smaller hippocampus has shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s) Whilst these results are based on animal studies, it makes sense that we would need to be more skillful and resourceful when needing to find food back in our caveman days.
THE BODY- Weight loss, immunity, longevity
Fasting has shown to boost the effectiveness of insulin, a hormone which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. Scientists from the Salk institute fed two groups of mice the exact same high-fat diet. Group A was left to graze on their food, whilst group B had to eat it in an 8-hour time period (fasting for 16-hours involuntarily)
After 100-days, results shows that Group B put on 28% less weight, suffered less liver damage, less chronic inflammation and had lower cholesterol and blood glucose. Proof that fasting can seriously impact weight-loss and weight management.
Fasting studies show that intermittently fasting works by reducing the amount of IGF-1 your body produces. Less IGF-1 (an insulin-like growth hormone) equals a reduction in cell growth, thereby reducing your risk of many age-related diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Human studies conducted at the University of Illinois, found that fasting was correlated with reductions in bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides and decreased blood pressure.
THE MIND- Clarity, peace, less anxiety, better moods
According to Professor Mark Matson, increased levels of BDNF (mentioned before) can not only combat age-related mental decline, but also improve mood, with the injection of BDNF into the brain having effects similar to that of an anti-depressant, making us happier and less anxious.
Fasting also FORCES us to be more appreciative and aware.
Once we strip away food (for a short period of time) we can truly focus on the inner self and the issues we have and LEARN to face them, accept them and deal with them, giving us greater mental strength and clarity.
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Open your heart and your mind to a cleanse and improve your life for the better.
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