Other than justifying your religious sentiments, fasting can also add to your health. A new study shows that fasting for eight days in a year can strengthen your immunity.
According to the researchers, fasting helps the body in replacing the old and damaged cells - especially if the immune system has grown weak due to aging. Fasting helps in renewing, repairing and rejuvenating your immune system. The study also revealed that fasting is actually effective for people suffering with cancer, where there damage to cells due to chemotherapy.
"With a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system," Longo noted.
The study revealed that fasting for two to four days every six months pushed the body towards survival mode which resulted in breaking down of old cells and utilizing stored sugar and fat reserves. A signal to the stem cells was generated demanding to rebuild the entire system.
"When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged," explained Valter Longo, a longevity expert from University of Southern California.
The study further showed that fasting also reduced ill effects and the probability of death in mice exposed to chemotherapy drugs and shot up immunity in aging mice.
"The results suggest that fasting may mitigate some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy," added Tanya Dorff, a co-author of the research published in the journal Cell Stem Cell. With inputs from IANS