The Habit Society

⚡️ Mentally Fit

To: Society Members

Good Morning!

For those of you who missed last week’s newsletter and want to know more about intermittent fasting, listen to THS co-founder Ashley’s deep dive with Habit Coach Azzy Aslam.

Now, let’s continue on the IF train…

– ⚡️ Nikki

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Mentally Fit

In today’s scoop on intermittent fasting:

Its evolutionary basis

How it enhances mental acuity

• The long-term benefits

Food?

Let’s Rewind

Let’s go back about 100 thousand years:

• It’s been about a day without food so it’s time for another hunt.

• You’d expect to feel weak and tired after not eating for so long, right? Nope.

• How? Your body activates its backup power chord to help you survive. Your brain becomes active, sharp, and attentive. If it didn’t, you wouldn’t be able to find food.

This sequence of events was typical. In long periods of food scarcity, hunters needed to summon the energy to find food. And the only way to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of hunting a large animal was to outsmart it with wit, vigilance and mental strength. So, it’s really no surprise or coincidence that we’re alert AF when we lack food. We’ve evolved to be mentally fit when we’re unfed.

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How Did We Maintain Energy?
Fuel

Ketones

Ketones fuel your brain when your body begins burning fat.

Here’s how that process goes:

After not eating for multiple hours (at least 8-12), the sugar supplies in our blood and liver are empty (since we’ve used them up for energy and they haven’t been replenished with new food).

• Now, our bodies can and need to burn fat instead.

By burning fat, we end up with ketones which pass the blood-brain barrier (i.e. they can actually reach our brains) to fuel the brain with the majority of its necessary energy.

In other words, you can thank ketones for saving us from extinction! If we hadn’t had this alternative (and preferred) source of fuel during periods of food scarcity, we would have become quite silly as a species. Sadly, our intellect was (and is) really the only advantage we had over lions and tigers and bears (oh my…).

You can actually increase ketones with my most beloved substance…coffee. Two cups of black coffee while fasting will double your ketone levels and help you feel less hungry during the fast. The cherry on top: ketones also jack up BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which is the brain’s ultimate neuroprotective protein.

Blood Flow

Another factor to this is that our digestive system gets a rest, which means it doesn’t need nearly as much blood flow. And guess where that extra blood can now be shipped off to? Bingo! The brain. The result? More energy for cognitive tasks (like finding food, or more relatable these daysgetting some deep work done).

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For Future You

Fasting also protects our future brain. Research on rats found that fasting (by reducing insulin as we explained last week) can lead to:

• increased brain connectivity

• new neuron growth from stem cells

…All good things, we promise

• And, they also found less age-related deterioration of neurons and fewer symptoms of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.

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Read: Check out the New York Times agreeing with us!

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