Just when we thought fasting couldn’t have any more health benefits, a new study has suggested that it might be a powerful tool in helping heal your gut.

Researchers from the University of Southern California point to what they call the fasting-mimicking diet (FMD), a program Valter Longo, Ph.D. – director of the Longevity Institute at USC in Los Angeles, author of The Longevity Diet – as a new approach to consider.

To conduct the study, the team of researchers reduced the caloric intake of mice by half for a day, then down to 10 per cent of what they’d normally eat for three or more days. These four days were considered the “fasting” period.

The study, published in Cell Reports, found that when this FMD eating plan was repeated every once in a while, the mice reaped digestive benefits.

They then compared it to a group of mice who were put through comparison water-only fasting periods, and saw no change in gut-healthy improvements, proving that even little amounts of food allows the body to still rebuild its healthy cells and tissues.

The researchers explained that the FMD plan could be especially beneficial in reducing inflammation in humans and reversing some IBS symptoms.

It’s certainly not the first time fasting has come into the spotlight. Previous studies have shown that regular intermittent fasting not only helps with weight loss, but it can also improve heart health, brain health, prevent cancer, and lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

So, if you’re one of the one in five Australian women living with IBS, or you just experience digestive issues, focusing on the timing of your diet, not only the foods in your diet, might be a good place to start.