Under at least some circumstances, the practice of calorie restriction appears to increase regenerative capacity - in addition to the range of other benefits it brings to health and longevity. It makes you wonder just how many other ways we harm and hinder ourselves by eating more than is necessary. From a recent paper (for which the full PDF version is freely available):
Caloric restriction (CR) can extend longevity and modulate the features of obesity-related metabolic and vascular diseases. However, the functional roles of CR in regulation of [regrowth of blood vessels] in response to ischemia have not been examined. Here, we investigated whether CR modulates vascular response.
By examining varying strains of mice, the researchers demonstrated that calorie restriction greatly improves regrowth of blood vessels - and also identified components of the biomechanisms which drive this improvement. The enzyme AMPK - already known to increase with CR and to be important in the benefits provided by exercise - is one of the biochemicals involved in this increased regenerative capacity.
Based on that evidence, calorie restriction mimetic drugs might turn out to have many more diverse applications in medicine than first suspected.