Fast Diets For Dummies
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The research is clear: Fasting helps to ward off the odds of neurodegenerative diseases. In fact, even if you have no interest in losing weight or gaining muscle, the positive benefits of fasting on the brain alone merit your great consideration. In fact, fasting puts mild stresses on brain cells, similar to how exercise does on the muscles.

Your brain grows stronger and more resistant to neurodegenerative diseases through fasting. Fasting works to improve your neural circuitry, bolster concentration, and enhance focus.

A common objection to fasting is the false notion that you won't be able to concentrate when you're hungry. And although this may be true at first, all the evidence points to the contrary in the long run. Those individuals who stick it out and adapt to a fasting lifestyle often report improved attention span, concentration, and focus.

Regenerating the brain

Fasting keeps the brain healthy in more than one way. Here are just a few of the major benefits fasting has on the brain — the center of the nervous system and the very thing that separates humans from apes, monkeys, and congressmen:

  • Fasting upsurges a process known as autophagy. Think of autophagy as a sort of cellular waste removal service. It disposes of damaged molecules, ones that may be tied to neurological diseases. Really, it's the brain's way of taking out the trash, and without it, the garbage piles up. Through fasting, this cellular cleansing may run its course, ensuring that the brain both develops and functions optimally.

  • Fasting increases a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF prevents stressed neurons from dying. Low levels of BDNF have been linked to Alzheimer's, dementia, and other cognitive disorders.

  • Fasting also spurs the growth of new brain cells. This process, known as neurogenesis, helps to establish new connections in the brain and may very well improve your cognitive abilities.

The brain follows the same “use it or lose it” principle that muscles do. If you want to keep your brain strong and healthy, you have to stress it from time to time. Fasting (along with physical exercise and mental exercises) can help you.

Increasing your productivity

Food is a distraction. So imagine now, briefly, how much time you would save and how much more work you would get done if you didn't have to eat. Fasting allows you to focus. It sets your mind on a smooth and steady course, so to speak.

You don't have to worry about what's for breakfast, or where you're going to get lunch. Those concerns become obsolete — at least on your fasting days.

Some scientific circles believe that during the morning and for most of the daytime, people are meant to be on the move, expending energy (hunting and gathering, if you will). Only when night comes along are people meant to eat, relax, and recuperate. Some say this is the natural order of things, or a human's natural biorhythm.

After you discover how to get in tune with your hunger, which may take a couple of days or even a few weeks, you can find that concentration comes easy, in fact easier than it probably ever did before. Some scientists believe this concentration factor is linked to a sort of primal mechanism.

That is, hunger provides impetus to get work done, which makes sense, because hunger compels one to hunt and to scavenge. Hunger clearly requires focus.

Think about it another way. What do you want to do after a big lunch? You probably want to take a big nap. After you eat, your body releases certain hormones that quite often make you feel sleepy. Surely you know that feeling. And you should also note that digestion itself requires much energy that you could otherwise direct toward more productive endeavors.

Hunger can be a distraction as well, but through fasting, you can train yourself to embrace hunger and discover how to use it to your advantage.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Dr. Kellyann Petrucci, author and nutritionist, appears on various news streams nationally and conducts workshops and seminars worldwide to help people feel — and look — their best. She is also the author of the popular website and gives daily news, tips and inspiration on twitter @drkellyann. Patrick Flynn, a fitness minimalist, is the coauthor of Paleo Workouts For Dummies, and the driving force behind a top 500 Health and Wellness blog

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