You’ve probably come across the term biohacking as you’ve surfed the web, and you might understandably have wondered what in the world it means. You know that computer hacking tends to be nefarious and requires a level of technological expertise, but sometimes the term hack means “clever trick.” So what’s going on with biohacking?
Fortunately, biohacking is an excellent, benevolent way to improve your overall emotional, mental, and physical health. The basic idea is that you take advantage of certain known qualities about our biology and leverage them to create optimal results.
Biohacks are easy and small, yet significant lifestyle changes and implementations that can help you to live your best life. With only a few biohacks, you may see a decrease in illnesses, an increase in energy, enhanced brain function, and an overall better quality of life by utilizing biohacks in your daily routines.
So what, exactly, are biohacks? The most widely used biohacks fall into three categories: Citizen biology (or DIY biology), grinder, and nutrigenomics. Let’s define each, and how they’re used:
- Citizen/ DIY biology: Scientists and medical professionals who’ve researched and studied human biology share tips with the general public that anyone can easily implement.
- Grinder: Grinder biohacks aren’t as widely used as citizen biology biohacks because they tend to involve physically enhancing your body with technology. They may sound like science fiction, but grinder biohackers are passionate about their methods and believe they work. Grinders are the counterculture rebels of biohacking. They long to become cyborgs — using technology, implants, and machinery to enhance their natural biology. Some grinder biohacks include skull implants to allow colorblind people to “hear color,” the Circadia medical monitoring implant (which sends smart phone alerts to its possessor if they’re getting sick), and microchip implants that include an individual’s medical history data
- Nutrigenomics: Nutrigenomics biohacking is the scientific study and implementation of nutritional changes to improve health. Nutrigenomics biohackers believe the genes that compose our entire bodies can be mapped and manipulated via specific nutrients and lifestyle changes.
Biohacks have been proven to improve mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and unhealthy sleep patterns — all of which can be related (studies have shown that 40% of people who struggle with insomnia also experience mental health issues).
Biohacking doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start hacking your way to better health today with these 8 simple biohacks.
9 easy ways to start biohacking your health
Daily meditation can mean anything from 20 minutes of total mind relaxation to focused meditation to reduce anger, anxiety, depression, and sadness. Meditation practices focus your mind and strengthen its awareness.
You can implement mindfulness meditation into your daily routine, which involves focusing on reducing the issues in your life and allows you to be accepting of and present in each moment. There are a plethora of mindfulness meditations that vary based on what you want to change in your life. You can also choose to practice concentrative meditation techniques which hones your mind’s focus on one thing while tuning everything else out. Concentrative meditation can help your mind achieve a higher state of hyper consciousness. Both practices have been found to alleviate stress.
Did you know that if you meditate for four days in a row, you can improve your attention span? Less than a week of meditation can create noticeable differences in your life. According to the National Institute of Health, meditation can also decrease the chance of hospitalization due to coronary heart disease by 87%.
2. Change your eating schedule
This biohack can provide numerous health benefits. Intermittent fasting, alternate-day fasting, and placing time restrictions on your eating habits are all ways to implement a nutritional biohack that will help you to physically, emotionally, and mentally feel better. The National Institute on Aging has found that intermittent and alternate-day fasting have proven benefits including improvements in cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, neurological disorders, and obesity. Time-restricted eating can improve weight loss, increase your lifespan, and reduce blood pressure.
3. Reduce (or eliminate) sugar in your diet
A vast majority of processed foods that we consume contain high amounts of hidden sugar. We are a society that consumes a massive amount of processed sugar — often in foods we didn’t even know contained sugar like cured meats, low-fat yogurt, and baked beans.
Studies have shown that, on average, American adults consume 77 grams of sugar per day. The recommended daily sugar intake from the American Heart Association is 36 grams per day for men and 25 grams per day for women. According to Harvard Health, a diet high in sugar can lead to copious health issues including diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, obesity, and strokes. Reducing your intake of processed sugars with life-enhancing foods can help reduce your potential risk of these debilitating and life-threatening conditions.
4. Move as much as possible
Although the American Heart Association recommends that we take 10,000 steps (or about 5 miles) per day, they’ve recently published research that suggests a significant reduction in this number. Experts are now saying as few as 5,000–6,000 daily steps can still produce major health benefits. This number may sound daunting, but it doesn’t necessarily need to come in the form of a fast-paced workout. Taking 5,000 steps can reduce mortality rates, your risk of heart disease, obesity, and stroke, and increase your energy levels.
You don’t have to purchase a new workout wardrobe, buy expensive exercise equipment, or even join a gym to achieve this biohack. 30 minutes daily of concentrated cardio activity or body movement will help you to look and feel better.
5. Get better sleep
You may feel that a better sleep biohack is a pipe dream. You’ve got far much to do and far too much to think about to allow yourself to sleep for eight continual hours per night. However, the previously mentioned biohacks can help your body to fall back into its natural sleep rhythms. Sleep deprivation — or even too much sleep — can have significantly adverse effects on your appearance and overall health.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, irregular sleep patterns can increase your risk of dementia, depression, diabetes, and decrease your ability to function at your best. Allow yourself a “cool down” hour before bed where you clear your mind and relax. By developing this habit, you may find you fall into REM slumber more readily. Even a single night of great sleep can produce noticeable and positive differences in your daily accomplishments.
6. Go grounding
What in the world is grounding? This easy biohack prompts you to walk around barefoot outside. Allow yourself to feel the grass and dirt beneath your feet and the natural electrical charges in the ground will flow through your feet and course through your body.
Implementing this biohack for even 15 minutes per day can help reduce body inflammation, pain, and stress levels. Grounding can also improve your sleep patterns and your body’s ability to heal wounds.
7. Take a cold shower
Most of us love standing under a steaming hot shower, but did you know that implementing a cold shower biohack has major health benefits? Cold showers force you to stand up fully and breathe deeply; they can heighten your awareness and increase your energy levels.