Biohacking for Beginners: Optimizing Your Mental Productivity (NewsHealthwatch)
When you hear the word hacking, you think of someone who phishes for information. Biohacking is also a phishing project, but biohackers are fishing for a better mind, body, and physical well-being. Most of us are beginning biohackers without realizing it.
What is Biohacking
Don’t confuse biohacking with bionics. Biohacking for beginners doesn’t involve putting any machinery or foreign objects in your body. We’re talking about optimizing your mental productivity without addictive drugs such as Adderall, Ritalin or Concerta. Biohacking focuses on your body’s biology and uses it to improve your focus, memory, and physical strength. You’ll improve your lifestyle and increase your lifespan without the fear of painful side effects.
Neurohacking takes biohacking a step further. By hacking into your brain’s full potential, you can improve your reflexes and learning ability and decrease mental health problems such as depression. The idea isn’t a new one: Before Prozac hit the market, scientists in the 1940s used electric shock therapy to fight depression and other mental illnesses. That was also before modern science learned natural supplements are better for optimizing your mental productivity.
Change is something to approach gradually. You wouldn’t expect to lose 50 pounds in a week, nor should you expect to become a bodybuilder or Einsteinian thinker overnight. By hacking into your body’s natural resources slowly, you’ll start to notice small changes right away. Biohacks for beginners include:
- Meditation and yoga
- A healthy diet
- Practicing patience
- Good posture
- Sleep optimization
- Nutritional supplements
Nootropics once referred to chemicals that enhanced cognitive function. Today the term covers natural substances that safely improve your mental ability while managing stress. Think of it as having an extra cup of coffee. While coffee can stave off dementia and increase your brain power, too much will make you jittery and disrupt your sleep.
- Ginkgo biloba: This herb from the Ginkgo biloba tree improves memory. The ancient Chinese also used the medicinal tree to treat respiratory problems.
- American ginseng: A root that enhances the immune system and relieves anxiety. It contains ginsenosides, which also lower blood pressure.
- L-theanine: An amino acid commonly found in green tea. Just 50 mg a day or two cups of tea will relieve anxiety.
- Choline: Found in beef and chicken liver, eggs, salmon and broccoli. Your brain uses it to regulate memory and muscle control.
- Rhodiola rosea: A natural herb found in Asia that helps fatigue
- Bacopa monnieri: A popular herb in Ayurvedic medicine, it’s used as an anti-inflammatory, sedative, and to control seizures. It has recently been recognized for its memory-enhancing abilities.
All of these increase oxygen and blood flow to the brain. Some, like L-theanine, increase levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Doctors have reported success using these natural brain boosters to treat dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.
Exercise & Sleep
How often do you put off taking a walk or going to the gym because you’re just too tired? Exercise and sleep go hand in hand in the biohacking for beginners handbook. A daily workout will help you sleep better at night, and a good night’s sleep will give you the energy you need to exercise. Once again, substituting that daily supplement for that cup of coffee will help you do both.
Big Name Biohackers
Think celebrities like Gwenyth Paltrow, Gerard Butler, and Matthew Modine rely on plastic surgery for their youthful looks? No, it isn’t Botox that gives Justin Bieber that baby face. Even billionaires Tom Brady and Jeff Bezos are also among the big names who practice biohacking.
Neal Thakkar, the founder, and CEO of Evolvere and Genesis Nootropics, started out as a beginning biohacker. The one-time college soccer star fell into the trap of drug addiction. He turned what was once a weakness into his biggest strength. Instead of obsessing about drugs to self-medicate, he became obsessed with turning his life around and helping others do the same.
“That ability to change my brain to the bad was also my ability to change my brain to the good,” says Thakkar. He urges people to channel their obsessions for the bad into an obsession to do something productive.
The Biohackers Diet
Thakkar also emphasizes the importance of a nutritious diet along with exercise. ”The objective of your pre-workout meal should be to fuel your workout so that you can optimally meet and obliterate your goals.” He suggests avoiding higher-glycemic and insulin-spiking foods, along with processed carbohydrates which are linked to cancer.
A pre-workout meal should include:
- Oatmeal or steel-cut oats: Both are complex carbohydrates rich in fiber and protein.
- Blueberries: High in antioxidants, this fruit is rich in fiber and carbohydrates that help suppress your appetite.
- Bananas: A healthy carbohydrate that won’t spike your blood sugar.
Biohacking for beginners doesn’t mean starving yourself or even counting calories. Since everyone’s metabolism is different, we all burn calories at different rates. Coaches suggest you choose the healthiest foods to favor ketosis (a process of reducing carbs in favor of fat) and optimize your mental productivity and physical well-being. There are a number of diets for biohackers, but most contain certain recommended foods.
- Fish Oil: High in omega-3 fatty acids
- Raw Vegetables: Leafy greens are best
- Eggs: A brain food that’s rich in nutrients
- Beef and lamb: Grass-fed meat is best.
- Small fish: Wild trout, sardines, and salmon
- Crustaceans: shrimp, crayfish, crab, and lobster are rich in protein
By eating the right foods, you can actually hack your metabolism to slow down the aging process. You can also help your body stave off certain illnesses such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Celiac Disease
Inexpensive Biohacking for Beginners
You don’t have to be a millionaire like Justin Bieber and sleep in a hyperbaric chamber to be a biohacker. Start small by eliminating some of the sugar and other harmful foods from your diet. Try intermittent fasting and only eat at certain times of the day. Work on your posture by sitting on a balance ball instead of the recliner.
Try meditating instead of alcohol at the end of the day to truly focus on your inner self. Have a tough day? Take out your frustration in the gym, not on other people. Too tired for a full workout? Start slowly with a ten-minute walk. You’ll soon find yourself increasing your steps and doing more. Biohacking for beginners isn’t just about improving your body: It includes hacking into your brain and improving your relationships.
Further Reading For Additional Reference:
Diet vs Disease: 10 Best Nootropics Ingredients: A Review of What Actually Works
Medical News Today: What to Know About Ketosis
Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet, fitness regimen, or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.