Fasting is the new health craze. Although it’s a bit odd that anyone would deprive themselves of food voluntarily, this form of dieting has tons of overlooked benefits.

Fasting can be great for the body, and some research suggests it may actually help you live longer. Here’s how.

What Is Fasting?

During a fast, people abstain from eating food completely. However, many fasting regimens allow people to drink water and other zero-calorie beverages such as black coffee and unsweetened tea during fasting hours.

Some people choose to fast for an entire 24 hours or more, while others adopt what is known as time-restricted eating. With this method, people restrict eating times to eight hours or less and fast for the additional portion of the day. We know, it sounds intense. But there’s more.

Weight Loss, Decreased Disease Risk, And More

When fasting, people obviously ingest fewer calories. Therefore, a lot of people lose weight during this time, even if they only commit to time-restricted eating.

While weight loss is a major bonus of fasting, studies involving animals have shown fasting decreases the likelihood of obesity, which can increase your risk of cancer, coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and more. Avoiding all these health risks will help increase your longevity.

What’s more, animal studies have shown restricting access to food actually does help animals live longer. A recent study conducted on mice found that those that were forced to fast were healthier and lived longer than those who had access to food all the time. Amazing stuff, right?

Incredible Regeneration

Fasting also helps to regenerate many of the body’s systems in several ways. One example includes damaged blood cells. By fasting, you lower your damaged white blood cells. When you break the fast and eat again, the body rebuilds new healthy cells.

“You get rid of the junk during starvation – and once you have food, you can rebuild,” said Valter Longo, who co-authored a clinical study on fasting. “The damaged cells are replaced with new cells, working cells – and now the system starts working properly.”

While it is nearly impossible for scientists to measure the longevity of the human life in clinical trials, many fasting benefits such as lowered risk of disease, weight loss, and cellular regeneration all contribute to a healthier body. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can look forward to a longer life more fulfilling years to come.