Hormesis is a biological phenomenon where exposure to low levels of stress or toxins have a beneficial effect on the body’s health and longevity. It is often referred to as "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger".
The idea behind hormesis is that when the body is exposed to a mild stressor for short periods of time, it triggers a biological response that activates cellular repair mechanisms and strengthens the immune system. This can lead to improved health and longevity over time because it promotes autophagy (cleans up zombie cells).
Examples of hormetic stressors include exercise, fasting, heat exposure, cold exposure, and exposure to certain plant compounds, such as polyphenols found in fruits and vegetables. These stressors are generally considered safe and beneficial when used in moderation, but excessive exposure can lead to negative health effects.
Hormesis is a topic of ongoing research in the field of aging and longevity, as scientists are exploring ways to harness the benefits of hormetic stressors to promote healthy aging and prevent age-related diseases.