5 Day Fasting Mimicking Diet Improves Cognitive Function

A 5 day diet that rejuvenates memory and learning? Alright, you’ve got my attention…

About FMD

FMD is a type of diet that mimics fasting (fasting mimicking diet = FMD). In the study, subjects were required to eat around 50% less calories over five days in a month (FMD). For the remaining 25 days of the month, they reverted to their normal diet.

Study Results

The study was performed on mice and human test subjects. These were the results:

  • FMD rejuvenates the immune system and reduces cancer incidence in C57BL/6 mice
  • FMD promotes hippocampal neurogenesis and improves cognitive performance in mice
  • FMD causes beneficial changes in risk factors of age-related diseases in humans

Well, okay, so the memory and learning bit was only relevant to the mice, but there was good news for the human test subjects, too. They reduced biomarkers of aging, diabetes, cardiovascular risk and cancer just by restricting their dietary intake for 5 days in a month. And Professor Valter Longo, the expert on longevity who led the study believes that normal people would only need to go on the FMD every 3 to 6 months to reap the benefits.

Admittedly, the study is small – only 19 subjects but the results are promising enough to warrant further study.

Image Source: Science Direct

What’s the Diet?

I didn’t have access to the journal article, but the Telegraph has kindly provided the details:

Day 1: 10 per cent protein, 56 per cent fat and 34 per cent carbohydrate, making 1,090 calories.

Day 2-5: Nine per cent protein, 44 per cent fat and 47 per cent carbohydrate, making 725 calories.

* As always, you should seek your doctor’s advice before embarking on such significant dietary alterations. Also remember that fasting poses significant health risks when performed incorrectly.

See also: Fasting-mimicking diet’ may promote health and longevity

The Profound Effect of Music to Inspire, to Enhance, to Regulate, to Empower

Image Source: Tackk

Music is powerful. We have seen how it:

Even more fundamentally, music has the power to change how you feel – it can empower you, it can calm you, it can help you perform better. Listen to the right music and it can help you get into the right frame of mind when you need it.

Music Makes You Powerful

Music with a strong bass-line can make you feel powerful. Although bass levels are unlikely to be the only aspect of music that affects how powerful you feel, it was pretty universal across the board. In the study, the songs subjects listened to were:

Indeed, when I think of some of the music I used to listen to that made me feel empowered, they do have strong bass-lines:

Whenever I have to go out and I really don’t feel up for it, I find Black Eyed Peas’ “I Got a Feeling” can help me get in the mood:

Although the study found that the lyrics of the music had little effect, I do think a good combination of bass with lyrics can be pretty powerful, like R Kelly’s World’s Greatest:

If you really want maximum efficacy:

For more bass heavy music, you can try these:

Image Source: Lifehack Quotes

Music Calms the Savage Beast

…Even when it’s angry music.

Sharman & Dingle tested to see if extreme music calms or angers and found that it actually regulated sadness and enhanced positive emotions. Likewise, listening to sad music can also help to regulate our sadness.

Music Enhances Athletic Performance

Music’s effect on athletic performance is so pronounced that it has been likened to performance enhancing drugs.

When music was played, cyclists completed the time trial in an average of 1,030 seconds; when music wasn’t being played average time was 1,052 seconds, a statistically and practically significant difference. Interestingly, even though cyclists performed faster under the music condition, their perceptions of the effort required to cycle were higher under the music condition than under the no-music condition, suggesting that listening to music didn’t make the exercise seem easier. Music brought about the largest increases in time trial performance and heart rate during the first 3 kilometers of the time trials. Participants rated the “tempo” and “rhythm” aspects of the music as more motivating than the “harmony” and “melody” aspects. – Human Kinetics

There are several  key ways in which music can influence preparation and competitive performances:

  • dissociation – it diverts attention away from the sensations of fatigue and pain, and it makes exercise feel more enjoyable
  • arousal regulation – in competitive sports, music can help calm anxiety and foster an optimal mindset
  • synchronization – music can balance and adjust movement to increase output and prolong performance
  • attainment of flow – helps athletes get into “the zone”, a state of energised focus where the body and mind function seamlessly with minimal conscious effort

The next time you need to prepare yourself mentally, why don’t you turn on the music?

Training for Lucid Dreams

If you are unfamiliar with lucid dreaming, please see our earlier post on lucid dreaming and dream control.

What are the benefits of lucid dreaming?

There are many reasons why you might want to learn how to lucid dream but these are some of the tangible benefits of lucid dreaming:

  • It is a technique that we can utilise to help solve problems
  • It can help spur creativity – e.g. some people have used it to overcome writer’s block
  • It can help overcome fears and nightmares
  • It allows the dreamer to practice physical skills
  • It may help improve depressive symptoms and mental health in general

Research has also found the individuals with the ability to lucid dream:

How can we train ourselves to have lucid dreams?

The following video offers some insight…

Here are the four techniques discussed in the video above:

  1. Keep a Dream Diary – these help us become familiar with our dreams so that it is easier to recognise when we are dreaming.
  2. Reality Checks – these help us notice the odd things that happen in dreams that are out of place or “impossible” so we can recognise that we are in a dream
  3. M-I-L-D – Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dream
    • step 1: you need to be able to vividly recall your dreams
    • step 2: have a reality check – something you frequently perform during the day to check if you are dreaming or awake (when you repeat this and the result is different from what you would expect, you will know you are dreaming)
    • step 3: lucid affirmations – keep telling yourself you will have a lucid dream and do this before you fall asleep
    • step 4: visualise your dream – recall a dream and play it through your mind as you are falling asleep (you can try to change the ending)
  4. W-I-L-D – Wake Induced Lucid Dream
    • step 1: physical and mental relaxation
    • step 2: hypnagogic state
    • step 3: create a dream scene
    • step 4: enter the lucid dream

See also: how to remember your dreams

Expert lucid dreamer Beverly D’Urso recommends the following technique:

The best technique for becoming lucid is to actually become more aware and look and listen and pay attention to details, because when you see things that don’t fit, that’s a clue that you’re dreaming. To facilitate the process you can form the habit of examining the environment or your state of awareness during the day. Mental habits you practice during the day tend to continue in dreams. So you examine your environment during the day, you examine your awareness, and then you may notice that something is different once you start dreaming. – Psychology Today

So start being more aware of your surroundings and taking note of the details in the environment around you.

A study has also shown that video gamers have more lucid dreams than non-gamers, although this may not work for you if you aren’t already a gamer because the study looked at individuals who had been gamers for years and played at least 2 hours, several times a week.

Image Source: Spirit Science