London: For many people, the key question regarding fasting is whether it`s good or bad for health. Now, a new study says that skipping meals for a couple of days a week could help a person live longer.
Researchers at the National Institute on Ageing have found that fasting for one day or two days a week is key to a longlife because it can protect the brain against Alzheimer`s,
Parkinson`s and other degenerative brain conditions.
Chemical messengers in the brain are boosted when calorie intake is restricted, say the researchers. It has long been known that severely restricting calorie intake can increase the lifespan of rats and mice and it has been suggested there could be a similar effect in humans too but the theory is difficult to test.
Now, the researchers have found the positive effects of fasting, `The Daily Telegraph` reported.
Prof Mark Mattson, head of the institute`s laboratory of neurosciences, said: "Reducing your calorie intake could help your brain, but doing so by cutting your intake of food is not likely to be the best method of triggering this protection.
"It is likely to be better to go on intermittent bouts of fasting, in which you eat hardly anything at all, and then have periods when you eat as much as you want."
The findings were presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Vancouver.