FebFast is upon us. It started in 2007 to raise funds for troubled youth by encouraging us to have a break from health depleting food or drink. For example, sugar, alcohol, processed foods, coffee, etc. It could also include behaviours such as gambling, drugs, and overeating. I would like to add other behaviours like having a break from self-defeating thoughts, overworking, not exercising, taking life too seriously, perfectionism, and so forth.
FebFast has become a recognisable month for putting into action the resolutions we made on January 1st. (see post for hints on how Focus = Results).
So, how good is fasting for us and, in particular, how beneficial is it for brain health?
Fasting is emerging as the new black over the last few years. I first became interested in it when Dr. Michael Mosley’s fasting books were published. He is the well-known British television presenter who has educated us on many a health topic since forever it seems. Some of you might know him for his 5:2 diet or his most recent 800 calories a day fasting book.
Dr. Mosley reminded us that humans have been fasting for millennia given that in our hunter gather days we didn’t have supermarkets to buy our food, we had to hunt and gather it; therefore, there were times when there was very little if any food. Over time, fasting was assimilated into human society through our culture, religious practices and for detoxing purposes.
It seems that the body has learnt to make the most of these fasting times by reaping some health benefits. For example, in his The Fast Diet book (2014), Mosley says that during fasting, a hormone, the Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF-1), decreases. This mechanism apparently has been shown to significantly increase lifespan, reduce ageing related diseases, and switch on genes that repair damage in the body.
> Watch a brief clip of Mosley on our Facebook page