3 EASY CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE TODAY TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH WITH BIOHACKING
You’ve heard of hacking computers, hacking smartphones, hacking email. You’ve even heard of hacking elections. But what about hacking your body? At first it sounds like something out of Brave New World. But biohacking is really all about self-improvement.
And while it can range from at-home DIY projects to high-tech lab experiments, there are a number of ways you can start to incorporate methods of biohacking into your daily routine.
WHAT IS BIOHACKING?
Let’s start with the fundamentals. Biohacking is essentially the practice of changing our chemistry and our physiology through science and self-experimentation. It’s a broad definition, but that’s also because the idea of “biohacking” is constantly evolving. It can be as simple as lifestyle and dietary changes that improve the functioning of your body. It can be as daily as wearable technology that helps you monitor and regulate physiological data. Or it can be as extreme as implant technology and genetic engineering. The possibilities are endless, but they are all rooted in the idea that we can change our bodies and our brains, and that we can ultimately become smarter, faster, better.
So where do you begin? You can easily start using wearables like the FitBit or the Apple Watch. Or you could start experimenting with the power of music in your everyday life and incorporating more foods that reduce inflammation. But if you’re ready for something new, and something different, consider one of these non-invasive biohacking methods and see what benefits you reap:
RED LIGHT THERAPY
Have you ever spent a lot of time indoors and begun to feel just a little…off? Our bodies and brains need light to function at their best. Not only does the sun give us an important dose of vitamin D, it helps us in a number of other physiological and emotional ways. But let’s look a little closer – specifically at the light wavelengths between 600 and 900 nanometers (nm). How does this range of light waves impact our bodies?
Studies have shown that your body responds particularly well to red and near-infrared wavelengths, which range from 600 to 900 nm. This particular range of light waves are absorbed by the skin to a depth of about 8 to 10 millimeters, at which point your mitochondrial chromophores absorb the photons. This in turn activates a number of nervous system and metabolic processes.
It has become an increasingly popular form of technology used to treat a number of conditions that require stimulation of healing, relief of pain and inflammation, and restoration of function. And because it is non-invasive and non-chemical, it’s not as intimidating as other forms of biohacking.
Carb-light meals. Eating the right kinds of fats. Abstaining from sugar. We hear a lot about what is best for our metabolism. But new research has found that it’s not just what we eat, it’s when we eat. Which is why intermittent fasting will not only help you lose fat but also gain muscle and energy.
If you just flinched at the idea of “fasting,” we hear you. You probably envisioned the notion of prolonged fasting – not eating for 48 to 72 hours – which isn’t exactly practical. But intermittent fasting offers a happy in-between. In fact, it’s more of an eating pattern that you follow throughout the day, and still reap many of the benefits of a true fast.
To understand why intermittent fasting works, you need to make the distinction between your body being in a “fed state” and a “fasted state.”When your body is in a fed state, you are digesting and absorbing food. Generally speaking, you are in a fed state for about 3 to 5 hours after eating. During this phase, your insulin levels are high and your body’s energy is focused on digestion.
When your body is allowed to rest – during the fasted state – you experience a number of benefits. First, when you fast, you increase your levels of growth hormones as much as 5X, which boosts your metabolic rate. Fasting can also reduce your insulin resistance, which lowers your blood sugar and makes stored body fat more accessible to burn. Some studies have shown that intermittent fasting may reduce LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol”) which is a known risk factor when it comes to heart disease.
Fasting may also provide a number of other significant benefits including improved cognitive function, cancer prevention, increased cellular autophagy (cellular waste removal) and lower levels of inflammation.
While there are many versions of intermittent fasting, the most user-friendly is the “16/8” method (also known as the Leangains protocol). This method revolves around a simple structure in which you restrict your daily eating period to 8 hours. For example, each day you eat from 1pm to 9pm, and fast for the other 16 hours.
Does this still sound intimidating? Try starting with a 14-hour fast for one week. That would mean, you can eat from 10am to 8pm, then fast the next 14 hours. Then, when that becomes comfortable, cut back to an eating period of 11am to 8pm for a week, and so on until you reach a fasting period of 16 hours.
If you enjoyed this article,
Subscribe to my Newsletter HERE
Or read another best article HERE
Header Image © Shutterstock / Jacob Lund