The word might sound a little ‘technical’ or even sci-fi, but in actual fact, you’ve probably been exposed to many elements of biohacking already. This was me - I just didn't know there was a collective term for the things I was researching, learning about and actively trying on the daily, to improve my own wellness. Meditation apps, supplements, red light lamps, ice-rollers? Yep, I’ve been biohacking for years, I just didn't realise it was ‘a thing’.
So hi, I’m Carla, and I’m a biohacker.
I recently read an article that said women were the original biohackers. If you think about it, we’ve been manipulating our hormones to control pregnancy, starting thousands of years ago (tracking cycles of the moon before we had an app for that) and more recently using birth control pills. Generally, women are much more in tune with their bodies which makes us excellent candidates for biohacking and really seeing the benefits. Biohacking is a fairly new but fast growing industry, which until now has been pretty male dominated. The problem with that is that we’ve got something they don’t - hormones.
One of the main benefits we can get from biohacking is having our hormones work for us and not against us. When everything is in balance and alignment, we have less mood swings, less cravings, less tiredness and whole lot more energy. And honestly, it’s all about the energy. Better energy equals more vitality, and who doesn’t want that?
While there’s a whole lot more biohacking goodness to come, here are 5 basic ways to start biohacking your health:
1. DIET - fiber is your friend
What you eat has a direct effect on you and your gut microbiome (the bacteria living in your gut). Low bacterial diversity (dysbiosis), has been linked to inflammation contributing to autoimmune disease, dementia, and cancer, just to name a few.
Fight them with FIBER. Essentially, fiber feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Lots of fresh, whole foods - vegetables, fruit, and whole grains at every meal.
Your body needs high-quality nutrients that will support optimal body function and decrease inflammation. Start your day with a smoothie packed with medical grade protein powder, healthy fats such as avocado, and green leafy veggies such as spinach or kale. Lunch and dinner should be high in organic veggies with a portion of high-quality protein. Carbohydrates can be eaten in for form of organic starchy veggies such as sweet potato or gluten-free whole grains. It’s not about calorie counting. Instead, count nutrients and nutrient quality.
2. SLEEP - dear bed, I love you
Did you know that sleep disorders and not getting enough sleep has actually been deemed a public health problem. Lack of sleep can have a negative impact on the hormones that control glucose regulation and appetite, which is why you crave simple carbohydrates after a rubbish sleep. When you're lying in bed, mindlessly scrolling your Instagram, checking the weather, refreshing those emails, or googling 'biohacking for women' - STOP! All that blue light makes your brain think it's daytime and can really alter your body's natural melatonin production, meaning a bad sleep. I know it's hard, but it's just a bad habit so give this a go - try staying off your phone, laptop etc 2 hours before bed. And if you really can't make it that long, use a blue light filter like the night function on your smartphone or blue light blocker glasses. These will help signal to your body that it's not actually daytime, meaning a much better quality sleep, and a better mood the next day. Win win.
3. STRESS - stress less, chill more
Did you know women are more stressed than men? Well you probably did. We seem to worry much, have a million things going on in our head at once, and find it hard to shut off. I seen a quote a while back that a women's mind was like an internet browser having 2,987 tabs open at once. Pretty much bang on. But all this stress raises cortisol leaving us feeling “tired and wired” and then comes the cortisol crash leaving us with low/no energy and low/no productivity. Stress is inevitable in daily life, so what can we do? We absolutely need to prioritise self-care like we would anything else that is important for our health. Taking time out is not a sign of weakness. So do that daily morning meditation, journal , book a weekly massage or facial, and anything else that your body and mind would thank you for.
4. MOVE - move ya body
The majority of adults aren't getting enough exercise. And there really isn't an excuse when we have so many options at our fingertips. If you can't get to a gym, go out a walk. If you don't have time for a walk, there are countless apps that help you get a sweat on in 5-15 mins, getting your heart rate up. Don't underestimate the benefit of even 10 mins each day, of aerobic activity or weight training. You'll get your weight to a healthy level and decrease adipose tissue (fat). Higher fat means higher risk for inflammatory diseases and insulin resistance. Exercise also helps to decrease those cortisol levels!
5. CONNECT - my vibe, my tribe
We already know now that cortisol increases when we are stressed. Oxytocin can help counteract that stress hormone simply by being connected to other women. Women with a healthy social circle will release more oxytocin than those who don’t. When life becomes stressful, we benefit massively from connection and support in a tribe like group. So make time for coffee dates, girl trips and trying new hobbies with your BFF.
Biohacking doesn't have to be complicated or expensive to see major changes in how you feel.
And these small, simple changes in habits are a great start to making bigger, positive changes for your (happy) hormones.