Also known as transhumanism, biohacking is a spectrum of practices that aim to elevate human health, performance, and intelligence through self-experimentation, science, and technology. What biohacking means varies from person to person. Some choose to make simple conscious lifestyle choices whilst others opt for wearable technology that monitors physiological data, like daily caloric expenditure and sleep. Others experiment with implant technology and genetic engineering.
Learn more: “Biohacking guide: what is it and why is it popular?”
There are many simple forms of biohacking that you can easily add to your daily life and routine. Here are seven entry-level biohacks that you can use to support your physiological and psychological health, performance, and wellbeing.
7 new ways to biohack your diet and exercise (nutrition, physical health, overall wellbeing)
Add superfoods to your diet.
Like the term biohacking, the term superfoods is a relatively new (and unregulated) term in the diet, health, and fitness industries. Generally speaking, superfoods are considered to be especially beneficial for elevating one’s overall health and preventing chronic disease, thanks to their dense content of antioxidants, fibre, healthy fats, essential vitamins, or other healthful nutrients.
Superfoods are usually plant-based and minimally processed. Examples of superfoods you can add to a well-balanced diet include berries, nuts, legumes, seeds, eggs, salmon, seaweed, yoghurt, kefir, and unsweetened green tea.
Consume fermented foods and drinks.
Though the practice of fermenting foods is ancient, fermented foods and drinks — like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha — have only recently risen in health food popularity. Good health depends on healthy gut microbiota, “a complex of over 100 trillion microbial cells which influence human physiology, metabolism, nutrition and immune function.” The living bacteria that grows during fermentation (known as probiotics) have been shown to support the gut microbiota and provide numerous health benefits, including improved heart health, weight loss, better digestion, heightened immunity, and a reduction of anxiety and depression symptoms.
The probiotics found in fermented foods are generally safe and tolerated well by most people, though you may experience some digestive symptoms, such as bloating or gas, in the first few days. As probiotics may also not be recommended or safe for certain medical conditions, consult with your doctor before adding fermented foods to your diet.
Different forms of fasting are a favourite diet hack across the biohacker spectrum. One form of intermittent fasting, known as micro-fasting or time-restricted eating, refers to an eating pattern with daily limitations in the timing of food intake. Eating time is limited between 4 and 8 hours a day (with no food restrictions), while no calories are consumed for the remaining 20 to 16 hours of the day.
Though human studies are currently limited, research has demonstrated that fasting can “support metabolic health by improving glycemic control, lowering insulin levels, and controlling body weight”. Those with a medical condition or a history of eating disorders should always consult their doctor before beginning. Some types of fasting may also be less beneficial for women, especially for a woman who has a history of amenorrhoea or is pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive.
Be smart about your sugars.
High-sugar diets are a modern phenomenon that cause the types of health consequences that biohackers aim to avoid. Many experts believe that sugar is the primary culprit of the global obesity epidemic and numerous chronic noncommunicable diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and fatty liver disease. Eating too much added sugar is also associated with acne, dental caries, cognitive decline, and accelerated skin and cellular ageing.
The best way to tap into this diet biohack is to always check food labels for added sugars, which may be labelled under dozens of names. Though calories from all types of added sugars should be limited to 10% or less of your daily caloric intake, high fructose sugars — which include fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, crystalline fructose, and agave nectar — appear to be more harmful and are best avoided.
Work on your posture.
Many of us spend around half of our waking hours sitting or lying down, which suspends our bodies in a static position with little to no muscle activity. In addition to impacting your mobility, sitting can cause your unique human posture to get bent out of shape, which can affect everything from your digestion to your self-esteem.
By placing the least amount of stress on your body’s structure and physiology, consciously cultivating good posture helps to condition your brain and body for fitness, wellness, and longevity and can be practised when sitting, standing, and walking by maintaining a neutral spine with modest core engagement.
Include mobility training into your fitness routine.
In addition to negatively impacting your postural health, the movement and positioning habits of modern life can be diminish your body’s natural movement abilities (known as mobility). Mobility is your ability to adapt to the world around you and complete the tasks of daily life without limitation or pain. Limited mobility resulting from lifestyle habits can make everyday life more of a struggle than it needs to be and can squash your ability to tap into your potential for physical health and conditioning.
Mobility training can help you maintain and restore your human adaptability while helping to improve your balance and coordination, enhance your overall fitness, and prevent and recover from injury. Mobility training can be safely adapted to meet most physical abilities and needs by a qualified fitness professional.
As it combines multiple fitness biohacks into one, Qigong is a biohacking practice that delivers a high return on your time and energy investment. Alongside helping you develop a strong, healthy posture and increase mobility, Qigong offers practitioners the opportunity to work toward desired brain biohacking goals—attention, learning, memory, and sleep—through mindfulness training.
With clearance from your physician, Qigong can be modified to meet a diverse range of physical abilities by a qualified Qigong teacher, such as White Tiger’s Qigong Master, Tevia Feng, and the dozens of teachers he’s trained.
Like Qigong, biohacking is a practice that encourages you to consciously choose and adapt your lifestyle choices so that the deck is stacked in your favour for optimal physiological, cognitive, and psychological performance and wellbeing. To learn more about biohacking and wellness, read and subscribe to our blog. To experience the benefits of Qigong for yourself, check out White Tiger Qigong’s online courses and ebooks.