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7 Ways Intermittent Fasting Can Transform Your Health

7 Ways Intermittent Fasting Can Transform Your Health

While most people that you mention your intermittent fasting schedule to will either call you crazy or say that “they could never do that,” the practice is relatively easy and has lifelong benefits. Why would anyone want to deprive themselves of food for hours or days at a time? Widely debated studies have existed on the medical implications of controlled fasting for some time. However, there are a number of great benefits to intermittent fasting.

1. You’ll have better cognitive abilities

Despite what Snickers would have you believe in their “Why wait?” campaign, being hungry during the day can help you think more clearly and keep your mind sharp.

2. You’ll get more of your day back

Think about it: if you start your fast at 12:00 am when you go to sleep and don’t eat again until 4:00 pm, that’s 2-3 meals you aren’t having to prepare and cook or go and pick up. When you stop thinking about food, you’ll realize how much of your time you actually spend worrying about where the next meal will come from, your grocery list, and who you’re going to lunch with.

3. It’s closer to how our cavemen ancestors ate.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors hunted and foraged for food all day and then prepared it and ate after sunset. Have you ever seen an overweight caveman?

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4. You’ll have a longer life

Simply put: your lifespan is directly related to what you eat, or in this case, what you don’t. While still being studied, some early clinicals suggest you’ll live longer.

5. It helps prevent disease

Two of the biggest killers today in America are directly food-related: heart disease and diabetes. With a scheduled eating regimen, you’ll be significantly reducing your risk factors for both.

6. You’ll have more energy

Assuming you are still getting your recommended caloric intake for the day, your body will expend less energy digesting and leave you with more energy to get all the things done in your day.

7. You’ll lose weight

With intermittent fasting, you are basically telling your body to stop burning sugars that you intake during the day and directing it towards burning fat.

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The program itself is fairly straightforward and simple: you have a fasting window in which you don’t eat and an eating window in which you can eat what you want. There are many variations of this, so you’ll want to find your own rhythm, but probably the easiest is to stop eating an hour or so before you go to bed and start a 16-hour clock for your fasting window. This schedule is nice because you’ll spend a large portion of your fast sleeping. Let’s say you go to bed at 12:00 am. In that case, you will fast until 5:00 pm and then eat until 11:00 pm. Pretty easy.

Tips to help you stick to your plan:

1. Stay hydrated

Not only is water excellent for every faucet of health, it also helps you maintain a feeling of being full, which will stave off cravings.

2. Exercise right before you eat

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This way, you’ll be able to resupply all those hungry muscles right after you finish your workout.

3. Set goals for yourself and measure your progress

If you don’t know where you’re going and consider your progress every now and again, how will you recognize the benefits?

4. Pack some emergency snacks the first few days

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While there is evidence eluding to the fact that intermittent fasting can help regulate your insulin levels, the first few days may be a little tough — it’s okay to grab a granola bar or piece of fruit if you start feeling faint.

5. Stick to your plan

It takes a few weeks to break or change a cycle, and the first few days will be toughest. New fasters typically describe day 3 as “the wall,” in which you may be driven to drop your guard — stick with it. You’ll soon be reaping the benefits and be glad that you made such a positive lifestyle decision.

6. Stay busy

If you’re active and engaged in work or play, you’ll seldom have time to ponder on your hunger status.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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