For many, 2020 has been the year that they have committed to optimising their health and wellbeing, in hope of strengthening their immune systems and preventing unwanted illnesses.
It is therefore no surprise that biohacking has recently gained huge momentum.
Biohacking is an approach to optimising or boosting health using biological experimentation. The activities used can include everything from tracking your blood levels, using cold therapy, bio-tech implants, influencing genetic expression, transforming your microbiome and experimenting with your diet.
Whilst some of these strategies might be a little extreme, there are some very simple and safe ways that you can try to boost your health and add a little biohacking into your lifestyle. To lend a helping hand, we caught up with nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr from biohacking platform, bioniq (www.bioniq.com), who revealed her top five tips for biohacking yourself to improved health.
CLEAN UP YOUR DIET
Whether you are looking to improve energy levels, banish brain fog, boost performance or maintain a youthful complexion, cleaning up your diet is one of the best places to start. Some of the things to tick off the list include: eating enough protein (0.8-1g of protein per day), drinking plenty of water (1.5-2 litres), reducing sugar and alcohol consumption and filling your plate with colour and fibre from plant-based foods. If you know you have an intolerance or react to certain foods, try to eliminate them for one month and then re-introduce them whilst keeping a diary, so that you can spot any trigger foods.
USE YOUR BLOOD RESULTS
Blood work is a great way to monitor and optimise your health and wellbeing, but there is a difference between a routine blood test and a comprehensive blood profile. A comprehensive blood test can include markers such as CRP, which shows inflammation levels in the body, vitamin and mineral status, hormones and cardiovascular health markers beyond just total cholesterol, for example by analysing beneficial vs non-beneficial cholesterol levels.
This in-depth information gives the biohacker an opportunity to: check if they are absorbing nutrients from their diet, assess whether their supplements are doing their job, find out if they are eating too much or too little of something and potentially spot disease progression or chronic illness before it becomes serious. For those looking for a comprehensive blood test, the new bioniq BALANCE programme is a great option. Alongside an initial blood test analysing 35 principle markers, bioniq BALANCE provides a personalised supplement formula based on the results of your blood work, so you can give your body exactly what it needs to optimise specific deficiencies and enhance your health and wellbeing.
Good sleep, both quality and quantity, helps to boost mood, improve energy levels, support the immune system, optimise weight loss and reduce cravings, as well as contributing to overall digestive and cardiovascular health. So, with this one biohack, you are looking after many different aspects of your health. Some simple tips to follow in order to optimise sleep include: remove phones in the bedroom, keep the last hour of the day for non-work-related activities, reduce sugar and alcohol consumption, particularly three hours before bed time and stop caffeine consumption by 2pm.
Meditation can be used for mental biohacking, as regular practice can promote relaxation and emotional stability, as well as reduce stress. Contrary to popular belief, meditation doesn’t have to be “om’ing” for an hour every day. A commitment of just ten minutes each day may be easier to implement and can reap great rewards. You can try out apps, Spotify playlists or online classes, but one of the easiest ways to meditate is to practice mindfulness. Simply focus on what you are doing in the moment, such as following the journey of the breath as you inhale and exhale.
Intermittent fasting is a dietary approach that involves only eating between certain times, then fasting until the next designated time to eat. A common method is the 16:8, which is 16 hours fasted with an 8-hour window to eat. Of all the dietary concepts, those who follow intermittent fasting are probably least at risk of adverse side effects as there are no foods that are reduced or eliminated, and the focus is simply on the fast. This popular diet has been linked with improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels, decreased levels of inflammation and enhanced weight loss. If you want to introduce fasting to your diet, start slowly and see how your body tolerates it. Begin with a 12 hour fast and increase the hours every few days until you get to 16.