Try this trick the day after Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Today, we celebrate the moment God sent his one and only Son to our sin-filled world to redeem us with the promise of everlasting life.

It's a time to be surrounded by family and other loved ones -- and I hope tonight you all sit down together for a big feast.

But tomorrow, consider doing something else entirely.

The first day of winter last week marks the start of a new season, and that's the perfect time to consider a fast.

It's not just a good idea after weeks of holiday overeating.

It's also a powerful way to enhance your health, and new research shows how a fast can wipe away some of the risk factors for today's leading killer diseases, including both heart disease and diabetes.

Researchers from Texas Tech University reviewed years of science and confirmed just about everything you've read about this healthy and revitalizing practice here in House Calls.

Right off the bat, there's the obvious benefit: Fasting can kick-start your metabolism, helping you to lose weight right out of the gate.

And it's not just while you're fasting -- you can keep burning off calories even as you start eating again.

Long-term fasting diets can also can cut total cholesterol by as much as a fifth... LDL by up to a third... triglycerides by as much 42 percent... and blood pressure by as much as 10 percent.

But you don't need a long-term fasting diet to enjoy real and lasting benefits.

The same new study found that fasting over the shorter term -- even for as little as two days -- can cut your weight, reduce body fat, and improve your LDL particle size, which is a much more important risk factor than LDL levels alone.

Two days! Start tomorrow, and you'll be back to your normal diet on Thursday.

Short-term fasting can even reduce C-reactive protein, a dangerous marker of inflammation linked to everything from heart attack to dementia.

And if you have diabetes... or if you're at risk for the disease... fasting can help bring your blood sugar levels under control.

The new study focused on intermittent fasting, or mixing fast days with days of normal eating, and very-low-calorie diets that mimic fasting.

But you don't have to get fancy here.

I've found that you can get nearly all of the benefits by fasting for two or three days just a few times a year -- without the need for "alternating" or "mimicking" diets.

The start of each new season is often a good time to give it a try.

Bear in mind that "fasting" doesn't mean "starving" -- and it doesn't mean eating and drinking nothing it all.

Speak to a holistic doctor who can help you fast properly to ensure proper nutrition.