Many women don’t know that they have an increased risk of cognitive decline after menopause due, in part, to decreasing estrogen levels.
Loss of estrogen causes women to have a higher chance of cognitive decline.
Estrogen is not just crucial for reproduction; it protects bone, the immune system, and heart health as well as regulates metabolism. The effects of reduced estrogen lead to weight gain, increased inflammation, decreased energy, and high risk of chronic diseases including cognitive decline.
And it’s not just circulating estrogen that drops later in life. Estrogens produced in the brain that protect and help produce new brain cells also plummet. This means women need to take extra precautions to protect their brains and combat age-related risks for cognitive decline.
Maintaining a healthy weight, eating an anti-inflammatory diet, and staying active and engaged set a good foundation, but studies now show that intermittent fasting can boost brain function and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Here are 3 reasons that women over 50 should consider intermittent fasting to prevent age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.
1. Blood Sugar Balance and Brain Cells
Continuously restricting calories is extremely difficult for most people, which is why dieting usually ends in defeat. But intermittent fasting can yield the same results and may be easier to adhere to only a couple times a week. Both a continuous restriction of calories and intermittent fasting lead to weight loss, especially around the midsection, but intermittent fasting has the added benefit of increasing insulin sensitivity, which means better metabolism and blood sugar regulation. Poor blood sugar metabolism is linked to Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline.
2. Shed Pounds and Slash Inflammation
Belly fat produces its own inflammatory chemicals that cause damage to neurons and diminish blood sugar control. So whenever belly fat is lost, inflammation is reduced as well. The brain gets a big win from weight loss: less fat cells to drive up inflammation and better blood sugar control, which also improves brain function.
3. Boosting Brain Function
Intermittent fasting is linked to longer lifespans, better mental clarity, and memory function. During fasting, brain cell production increases due to elevated levels of stem cells. Intermittent fasting also improves the plasticity of the brain and increases the production of growth factors involved in brain cell production.
Intermittent fasting can be a great tool for maintaining a healthy body and mind. However, it’s not appropriate for all people, and certain conditions may make fasting risky. There are also multiple ways to practice fasting, and it’s important to find the best way for you so that you can be successful. Check out part 2 of this blog to learn more about how to have a positive fasting experience. Fasting is safe for most people, but some conditions put people at a higher risk of side effects. That’s why I work directly with my clients and their unique situations to make sure they can use intermittent fasting safely and effectively to protect their brains from cognitive decline.