Supporting Brain Health with Intermittent Fasting

We all know that feeling…

Your day is slammed.
You try to eat, but you’re running late and barely manage to grab your coffee.
You slam a bar of some kind, and power into your morning.

Lunchtime passes by and you wave as you furiously work into the afternoon.
You superwoman through your day and a million more things get tacked on.

By evening, you don’t even remember what you ate or if you even managed more than coffee.

Life happens.
And our bodies suffer.

I am guilty of the quick standing-lunch between commitments!

Through the day, I used to constantly munch on snacks and hit that mid-afternoon slump with a diet Coke and Reese’s cup.

I thought I was keeping my body going, but now know I was doing more damage than I thought. I figured that starving myself wasn’t a good option, so instead, I chose spikes of sugar and caffeine to keep me on my energy rollercoaster.

But there’s a pattern of eating that is EASY and (despite what you may have heard) will not leave you starving and cranky…

Best known for its ability to help you lose weight, Intermittent Fasting (IF) is rising in popularity. Research is showing that IF can really be helpful for people to heal certain conditions beyond just losing weight. In particular, one area that IF shows promise is in the health of your brain—it may contribute to better memory, sharper focus, cleared brain fog, and enhanced energy.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is not about starving yourself. It is about making wise choices about what you put in your body and allowing your body time to get all the nutrients and energy from it.

You alternate periods of eating with periods of not eating on a regular schedule to allow your body a break from constant digestion.

Digestion takes a lot of energy from your cells, so other systems and organs—like your brain —begin to suffer if your body is constantly needing to digest.

There are many different protocols for IF, so it is best to do your research and work with a nutritionist to come up with a plan that will work with your needs and lifestyle.

Personally, I try to allow at least 12-14 hours between dinner and breakfast to allow my body to reset and focus its energy on other areas.

During the day, I try not to snack. Instead, I focus on getting quality fats, proteins, fruits, and vegetables at each meal to help keep me full until it is time to eat again.

Digestion Breaks

We live in a culture that treasures snacks and loves things in excess. All you have to do is stand in a grocery store checkout aisle to know we are suckers for treats and convenience!

When you are constantly putting food in your body, you aren’t allowing the cycle of digestion, absorption, and removal of waste to happen. Instead, it keeps having to restart mid-cycle, which means you aren’t getting the nutrients and energy you need, and waste products just build up in your cells. Gross, right?

Constant intake of calories leads to faster aging and other breakdowns in your body because of the inflammation caused by all of the waste products your cells just don’t have time to get rid of. (1) IF practices allow your cells time to process what you have eaten and detox to remove the waste.

Clear Your Mind

Brain fog is one of the most common complaints I hear from women on a daily basis. The health of your brain is directly linked to the health of your gut, and Intermittent Fasting may be the answer to clear your mind and give you the energy you are missing!

Constant inflammation in your gut also leads to inflammation in other areas of your body, especially the brain. Allowing your body to fully process the food that you eat is an important step in regaining your mental clarity and energy by cutting down on how inflamed your gut is.

Intermittent Fasting can help to prevent cognitive degeneration by keeping your neurons firing correctly. (2) If you feel foggy and fatigued, it may be time to look into your eating practices to help keep your brain working at its best!

Balance Blood Sugar

The reason most of us reach for that mid-afternoon pick-me-up is that our glucose levels are on a rollercoaster ride throughout the day.

High or low blood sugar can cause fatigue, sugar cravings, inability to concentrate, and that fog that makes it so hard to get things done. (3)

Constant snacking causes spikes and dips in your blood sugar, but IF can help regulate glucose levels and make you feel full longer. This is because your body learns to burn fat rather than sugar for energy. (4)

Imbalanced blood sugar and insulin levels are a major contributor to the worst parts of perimenopause and menopause. Disrupted sleep, annoying hot flashes, stubborn belly fat, and more all are rooted in these fluctuations (on top of crazy changes, thanks to your stage of life). IF may be one of the easiest ways to create more balance in your body and bring relief to all areas of your life, beyond your brain health!

A Word of Warning

Intermittent Fasting is not for everyone.

If you are pregnant, nursing, diabetic, or have a history of an eating disorder, this may not be for you—and that is ok! It is important to know your body and be the CEO of your health to make the right choices for you.

Work with a trusted practitioner before you decide to start IF so you can try to see any roadblocks that may keep you from success.

Healthy Practices

How we eat is just as important as what we eat for our health. Whether or not Intermittent Fasting is right for you at this stage of your life, here are a couple practices you can implement today to try to help your mind be clear, sharp, and focused:

  • Eat Mindfully: Instead of scarfing down your breakfast on your way out the door, or mindlessly munching throughout the day and calling it lunch, try incorporating mindful eating habits into your routine. Taste and chew your food. Enjoy deep breaths while you eat. Don’t multitask—when you are eating, put your phone away and turn off your computer. Mindful eating can help you feel full longer, help in weight loss, and help you make wiser choices in what you eat. (5)
  • Eat a Variety of Foods at Each Meal: The key to not feeling hungry a couple of hours after your meals is to make sure you are getting a good balance of foods when you do eat. Healthy fats and proteins will help you feel full longer. Fruits and vegetables provide you with the nutrients your brain needs to function. If your meals could come out of a vending machine, it is time to incorporate some fresh, healthy alternatives to give your brain a boost. One of the best ways to do this is with green smoothies! Check out this post for my best tips for smoothie-making success >>
  • Crush Cravings with Essential Oils and Supplements: I’m not going to lie: we all still deal with those sugar cravings from time to time. For a longer-term solution, check out my Crave Reset supplement. This supplement works powerfully to reprogram your brain chemistry, to get to the root cause of those pesky cravings to keep you from stress eating, over-indulging while rebalancing the neurochemicals that drive hunger so you can stick to your goals! Get Crave Reset here >>

Here’s one of my favorite rollerball blends which can also help at a moment’s notice when cravings pop up:

Ready for Extra Support?

One of the best tools you can have in your toolbox is a filling, satisfying breakfast. Green smoothies are my favorite tool to make sure I feel full between meals; to prevent extra snacking that will derail my schedule. Get this guide for delicious recipes and tips to make energy-boosting, hormone-loving green smoothies!

Free Download: Dr. Mariza’s Quick & Healthy Detox Smoothie Recipe Guide

Get the easiest and yummiest ways to upgrade your health to look and feel your best and fast. Find my top tips to help you create the ideal meal-on-the-go.

Download Your Free Essential Oil Checklist

References:
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17934054
2. https://www.cell.com/neuron/fulltext/S0896-6273(16)30837-6?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0896627316308376%3Fshowall%3Dtrue
3. http://drflannery.com/5-reasons-for-brain-fog/
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16011467
5. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/mindful-eating

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