Abstaining from certain foods in an effort to purify mind and body is an ancient therapy. Ancient philosophers like Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates encouraged fasting as do Ayurvedic and yogic practices, founded thousands of years ago.
Three square meals a day is a very modern phenomenon -- and may help explain why returning to ancestral methods of eating, including plant-based intermittent fasting has powerful benefits for both your body and brain.
Weight Loss When you fast, insulin levels drop,1 and norepinephrine production increases, both encouraging the breakdown of body fat and its use for energy.2 Fasting helps you eat fewer calories, while boosting metabolism.
Protection Against Disease Intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body, both key drivers of many common diseases.3,4 It’s also been shown to improve numerous risk factors, including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, and blood sugar levels.5,6
Brain Health Intermittent fasting improves various metabolic features known to be important for brain health, including reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, blood sugar levels, and insulin resistance.
We Do Mean Cleanse Finally, fasting triggers a metabolic pathway called autophagy, which removes waste material from cells.7 Increased autophagy may provide protection against several diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.8,9
- Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jan;81(1):69-73.Alternate-day fasting in nonobese subjects: effects on body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism. Heilbronn LK1, Smith SR, Martin CK, Anton SD, Ravussin E.
- Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jun;71(6):1511-5. Resting energy expenditure in short-term starvation is increased as a result of an increase in serum norepinephrine. Zauner C, Schneeweiss B, Kranz A, Madl C, Ratheiser K, Kramer L, Roth E, Schneider B, Lenz K.
- Alternate day calorie restriction improves clinical findings and reduces markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in overweight adults with moderate asthma. Johnson JB, Summer W, Cutler RG, Martin B, Hyun DH, Dixit VD, Pearson M, Nassar M, Telljohann R, Maudsley S, Carlson O, John S, Laub DR, Mattson MP.
- Beneficial effects of intermittent fasting and caloric restriction on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems. Mark P. Mattson, Ruiqian Wan.
- Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Nov;90(5):1138-43. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28380. Epub 2009 Sep 30. Short-term modified alternate-day fasting: a novel dietary strategy for weight loss and cardioprotection in obese adults. Varady KA, Bhutani S, Church EC, Klempel MC.
- Rona Antoni, Kelly L. Johnston, Adam L. Collins and M. Denise Robertson (2014), "The Effects of Intermittent Energy Restriction on Indices of Cardiometabolic Health," Research in Endocrinology, Vol. 2014 (2014), Article ID 459119, DOI: 10.5171/2014.459119
- Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy Mehrdad Alirezaei, Christopher C. Kemball,#1 Claudia T. Flynn,1 Malcolm R. Wood,2 J. Lindsay Whitton,corresponding author1 and William B. Kiosses2
- Autophagy suppresses tumorigenesis through elimination of p62. Mathew R, Karp CM, Beaudoin B, Vuong N, Chen G, Chen HY, Bray K, Reddy A, Bhanot G, Gelinas C, Dipaola RS, Karantza-Wadsworth V, White E.
- Eur J Neurosci. 2013 Jun;37(12):1949-61. doi: 10.1111/ejn.12169.Autophagy failure in Alzheimer's disease and the role of defective lysosomal acidification. Wolfe DM1, Lee JH, Kumar A, Lee S, Orenstein SJ, Nixon RA.