Inside the brain power boosting diet loved by Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Aniston

-Dec 6, Jenny Paul , Nutrition -

All of us would love a little extra brain power and it turns out that intermittent fasting promises exactly that. First made popular in the shape of the 5:2 diet, its latest iteration is the 16:8 diet, and Hugh Jackman says that was the secret he used to build his Wolverine body.

Jennifer Aniston is also a fan, and said recently, “I do intermittent fasting, so no food in the morning. I noticed a big difference in going without solid food for 16 hours.”

The dietary regime has been shown by several studies to boost cognitive function and devotees claim that it has a whole host of other health benefits, aside from rapid weight loss.

What is the 16:8 diet?

On the 16:8 diet, you fast for 16 hours of each day, but you’re allowed water and unsweetened coffee or tea (black or with a very tiny splash of nut milk). Then, you consume your entire day’s food during the remaining eight hour window.

Most people fast at night from 8pm onwards and skip breakfast, before eating their first meal at around noon. If you preferred, you could try eating after 10am and before 6pm. You can theoretically eat what you like on this diet, but many people combine 16/18 with a ketogenic diet to supercharge results.

At the very least, eating balanced meals with plenty of healthy fibre, healthy fats and lean protein to keep you full while you’re fasting is a good idea.

Does the 16:8 diet really work?

There have been a few studies on 16:8. They’ve mainly been conducted by researchers with groups of obese volunteers and have concluded that 16:8 does work for weight loss and better than eating only every other day (which is also huge at the moment). One of the reasons given was that participants found 16:8 easier to do.

Krista Varady, an associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said: “One of the benefits of the 16:8 diet may be that it is easier for people to maintain. We observed that fewer participants dropped out of this study when compared to studies on other fasting diets.”

Worth noting is that the systolic blood pressure of the volunteers who did a daily fast dropped by an average of 7 millimeters of mercury.

What are the brain boosting benefits of 16:8?

There have been several interesting studies into how 16:8 and fasting in general boosts brain health. In one small study, 10 volunteers with the early signs Alzheimer’s underwent a 12-hour fast every night. Within 3-6 months, 9 of the 10 participants had improved cognition.

Other studies have been encouraging when it comes to brain health and overall lifestyle benefits, including even possibly extending your life. Positives of daily fasting include reduced oxidation (and free radicals) reducing inflammation and stabilising blood sugar levels – which all also benefit your brain.

Are there other health benefits of 16:8?

Fasting has been shown to improve insulin resistance. It increases your metabolism, reduces your risk of heart disease, and reduces both inflammation and oxidation. There’s some evidence to suggest that it might reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, and even extend lifespan.

How to get started with 16:8?

If you want to try out 16:8 you may find it difficult in the first week. More than anything it will be hunger pangs while you adjust to a new eating schedule. We think that eating between 10am and 6pm would probably be easiest for most people, so long as your daily work set up allows you time to get your calorie requirements in before 6pm. If not then eating between noon and 8pm will simply mean that you skip breakfast but still have time for lunch and dinner, plus snacks.

What to eat on 16:8?

It might sound tempting to binge on junk foods during your eight hour eating window, but try not to do that.

Be sure to include all the usual suspects for great health, including: fruit, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and protein.

Which supplements to take on 16:8?

It’s always a good idea to include Lumity’s male or female Morning and Night supplements in your daily routine, whether you’re on a diet or not because we can’t get all that we need for optimised health and wellness from food alone.

Just be careful not to take piles of other vitamins because Lumity has been formulated as a stand alone supplement and you don’t want to end up taking more than the recommended daily amount.

What else is there to consider before starting 16:8?

As always if you have any health concerns see your doctor or a registered health professional in person.

Here at Lumity we’re not big on fad diets and believe that the best approach to nutrition is to eat healthy meals which are packed with organic veggies, lean protein and some slow burning carbs, with the odd treat thrown in, because life is for living.

That said, if you want to give 16:8 a try for yourself then so long as you’re happy, not starving or unwell and are enjoying yourself then, go ahead.

If you enjoyed this, why not read about how sleep cycles differ for men and women. Or find out all about our new supplement for males.

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