What exactly is Biohacking? You may have read about Silicon Valley exec’s biohacking themselves by excessive fasting and compulsively measuring their body states to have a competitive edge. The definition of the word, however, is to make changes to your lifestyle in order to “hack” your body’s biology and feel your best. Everything we put into our bodies – food, thoughts, exercise – all affect how we feel and behave. By biohacking yourself, you can transform your body to become more energized, productive and healthy, and you can do this in a very gentle way.
Five Ways to Biohack Yourself
- Go Sugar Free
Giving up refined sugar is one of the best things you can do for your body. Overconsuming sugar leads you down an unhealthy path lined with the following:
- Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
- mood swings
- increased inflammation in your body (which lead to an array of diseases)
- lowered energy
Also you don’t have to give up natural sugar in fruit and dairy. Added sugars are the ones to say goodbye to. Soft drinks, processed foods, desserts, flavored yogurt, condiments (barbecue sauce and ketchup are the worst) and energy drinks will all be off of the menu. Also look for hidden sugar in processed food (ie: anything ending in “ose”). It’s shocking just how many places it turns up.
Giving up sugar can be a pretty tough biohack, but is also the one with the most rewards.
- Sleep More
If you’re not sleeping between 7–9 hours a night, you can have a touch of sleep deprivation and be putting yourself at risk for health issues. These issues include a weakened immune system, depression, trouble concentrating, irritability, an increased appetite and out-of-whack hormones.
So, what can you do to sleep more soundly? Keeping electronics out of the bedroom is key. The glowing lights from your smartphone/computer/TV tell your brain it’s time to wake up, not drift off into a deep sleep. Also turning off the TV and computer at least an hour before bed is also important as a way to wind down for a good night’s sleep. Last but not least, try turning your bedroom into a relaxing sanctuary. A pitch black bedroom (blackout blinds) with comfortable bedding and a diffuser filled with lavender essential oils is the ultimate setting for a good night’s sleep.
A meditation practice can reduce pain, increase sleep quality, lower inflammation and boost productivity. If you’re suffering from stress or anxiety, meditation can also be a really effective way of naturally dealing with symptoms. Establishing a daily meditation practice is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health – and it’s a great way to get ready for a good night’s sleep.
There are dozens of smartphone apps you can use to learn how to meditate. Some even have specific meditations for different purposes, like starting the day with a clear head or helping you unwind. Headspace is a great app to check out.
- Eat Probiotics
Ever wonder if those expensive probiotics at the health food store actually do any good? They might not. Probiotics are only regulated at time of manufacture and may not have any living cultures at the time of purchase.
Since a healthy gut is so important for, well, everything, adding probiotic rich food (sauerkraut, miso, kefir, plain yogurt) can have huge health benefits, especially when cutting down or giving up sugar at the same time, as sugar is an enemy of gut health.
Adding a couple of servings of probiotic rich food every day can help reduce belly fat, keep your skin healthy, improve depression and anxiety and boost your immune system. And it’s as easy as having a cup of yogurt for breakfast, miso soup at lunch and a serving of sauerkraut at dinner.
- Move your Body
For some people, an average day looks like this:
- Sit in a car to drive to work
- Sit at a desk all day
- Take the elevator to sit in a restaurant at lunch
- Sit in the car on the way home
- Sit in front of a television set all evening
Studies are now showing how all of this sitting is really bad for our bodies.
The fix? Stand more and walk more. Biohack your way to better health by getting up and talking to co-workers instead of sending an email. At lunch or before and after work, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Stand up and walk around during long phone calls and set a reminder on your phone for every 60–90 minutes to take a quick lap around the office.
These six changes aren’t huge but they all work together to create a healthier, happier life.