If you’ve listened to or read any of Dave Asprey or Mark Hyman's work, you've probably heard of the term biohacking. In short, it's a term used to reference quick and efficient ways to improve, or shall I saw ‘maximize’, your health and fitness to make you feel your best and live the longest. Intermittent fasting, bullet coffees, HIIT and ketosis are all examples of this trend, and at its core it is about about making shifts to your daily habits and routines to help you achieve longevity. It also focuses on the concept of nutrigenomics, which is the diet’s influence on your genetics.
And while we might see acute results from these trends, like weight loss, clearer skin or more energy, the real question is what does it ultimately mean for our health long-term? Does it actually keep us younger longer, does it lengthen our lifespan, and does it truly prevent disease. Lets break down this biohacking trend and explore the answers to these questions.
Eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains is just generally good for us, but as it turns out, eating a high plant-based diet may help lower your risk for developing many chronic health conditions, including cancer. While no single food or combination of foods can eradicate cancer, studies have shown that the combination of compounds found in certain foods — when part of a healthy diet — can help significantly increase your anti-oxidant intake, and decreasing our risk of developing a number of disorders, including cancer.
The phytochemical compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and legumes, along with antioxidants and a host of vitamins and minerals, all work in conjunction to provide cellular repair. Foods alone cannot cure cancer, but a healthy diet can go a long way toward minimizing your risk. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, “In laboratory studies, many individual minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals demonstrate anti-cancer effects. Evidence suggests that it is the synergy of compounds in the overall diet that offers the strongest cancer protection.” In other words, make sure that your plate is colourful and is part of a well-balanced and healthy diet.
While many foods can play a key role in an anti-oxidant diet, here are a few suggestions to make sure you have on hand:
One of the core principles of functional medicine is to nourish the body and ensure it is getting the appropriate balance of nutrients to stay healthy. Traditionally, this was achieved in a hunter-gather diet by eating colourful whole foods and by practicing “nose-to-tail” eating of meat, which included the consumption of skin, cartilage, marrow, tendons/ligaments, and other parts of the animal that are now typically discarded. Unfortunately, much of this practice has been lost as a result of prepared meats, microwaves, and canned soups over homemade stocks. As a result, our diets have become deprived of an important protein, known as collagen.
There is a lot of noise in the health industry lately about collagen supplementation. The concept of supplementing collagen attempts to regain what we’ve lost from our primitive diet, but the question becomes if supplementation has any benefit.
Benefits of Collagen
I’ll admit that when I first heard about the trend of supplementing collagen, I wasn't on board. It made no sense to me. Collagen is a tissue found in our bodies made from amino acids, vitamin C, etc. So how could supplementingthe end product collagen benefit us? But as it turns out, research in mice shows that hydrolyzed collagen peptides (from gelatin) have a 95% absorption rate at 12 hours after intake, and it distributes in the body similar to that of raw amino acids, with the exception of cartilage (1). Collagen was seen to concentrate more than twice as high in cartilaginous tissue that raw amino acids (1), giving collagen some unique benefits. So, I jumped on the bandwagon.
Bone broth is a rich source of nutrients. It contains protein, cartilage, gelatin, and minerals, especially calcium. It’s easy for our body to digest, tastes delicious and fills a home with an aroma of goodness while cooking. Bone broth is inherently calming, consoling, and restorative to our energy and spirit. The gelatin in bone broth also has been shown to have numerous benefits on the cartilage in our joints, the integrity of our gut membrane, the detoxification of our livers, and the health of our skin!
BASIC BONE BROTH MAKING
Our skin provides us with a wonderful reflection of what’s occurring below its surface. Contrary to popular belief, acne is not a result of improper facial hygiene. It typically presents itself as the unfortunate indicator that there's an internal problem. And while most reach for the latest and greatest topical products that promise results, many forget to ask the important question of "why is this happening in the first place?"
The root to acne formation is centered on the oil gland, known as the sebaceous gland. Hormonal changes, inflammatory foods, disrupted skin pH, etc. can lead to changes in the quality and amount of sebum produced, creating low level inflammation. This inflammation can plug the follicle, creating little papule-like lesions called closed comedones. Bacteria see these comedones as honeymoon destinations, and the more overgrown with bacteria these blocked follicles become, the larger and more cystic the resulting "pimple". If the cyst ruptures below the dermis, the lesions last a lot longer and are more likely to trigger scarring.
So how do we manage it? Since lesions are most commonly the result of oxidative damage and hormonal imbalances, the trick is to work from the inside out.
Join us for the next 6 weeks as we challenge each other to incorporate healthy habits into our lifestyles. Share with a friend to challenge them with you!
Health Habits Challenge: No Electronics 1 hour before bed
Our bodies are made up of millions of electrons that are constantly subjected to stimulation: more specifically, light stimulation.
The reception of light into our optic nerve emits a signal to the brain to indicate daytime, and therefore mounts a release of our wake/stress hormones, cortisol, dopamine and noradrenalin.
This tells our brain that we should be awake and active, not restful and sleepy.
Furthermore, research out of Thomas Jefferson University shows that the light emitted from our devices is “short-wavelength-enriched,” meaning it has a higher concentration of blue light than natural light. Blue light has been shown to affect levels of melatonin (our sleep-inducing hormone) more than any other wavelength.
Instead, dim the lights, power down all the electronics, and relax in bed by listening to a podcast, chatting with your partner, or reading a good ol' fashion paperback novel. Choose relaxing reading materials that have nothing to do with work! Stop all your work-related activities at least 2 hours before bed!
And no, night mode doesn't count.
© 2018 Courtney Holmberg ND. All rights reserved. Dr. Courtney Holmberg, ND does not endorse or have professional affiliation with any discussed supplement or lab companies. All material provided is for general education and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to assist in diagnosing to treating a medical condition. Legal & Medical Disclaimer, sitemap