Prior to my journey of studying nutrition, I had a shallow idea of what stress was. I thought stress was just that feeling you had when you had 5 minutes left before class ended while taking a hard math test or the pain your body felt the last 75 meters of a 400m dash. While those are certainly valid stressors to the body, there are also an abundant amount of different stressors to the body that we expose ourselves to everyday without even knowing about. Anything that is causing inflammation in the body is a stressor. Exercise, processed foods, poor sleep quality, too much sun, even too much water (over hydration)! Below are just a handful of different invisible stressors that we often disregard but can cause chronic inflammation if left unnoticed.
EMF (Electromagnetic Frequencies) – EMF is all around us. EMF is emitted from our cell phones, our microwaves, and our bluetooth devices. While very little past research has been done in this field of bioelectric magnetism, the past few years have birthed a good amount of research on the effects of high exposure. The effects range from decreased melatonin production, increased oxidative stress, and improper cell metabolism from potential cell membrane damage. It is near impossible to escape this unless you move to a remote cabin in the Andes mountains. There are a handful of tricks and habits you can implement just to take more mindful measures. Personally, I avoid putting my phone in my pocket most of the day as there has been independent research to say that this radiation does indeed effect the reproductive system. Also, I try to use wired headphones when it is convenient to do so instead of AirPods or other wireless devices. Thirdly, I avoid keeping my phone anywhere near my bed when I sleep, if it is used as an alarm clock I’ll put it in airplane mode at night. Lastly, turning off wifi router at night when you are not using it has been shown to help reduce the exposure.
Glyphosate – Glyphosate is an agrochemical that the agriculture industry uses today to ensure the plants can avoid being eaten or destroyed by insects, rodents, and other organisms. While that might sound great, the downstream effects of this ingredient has been shown to cause gut damage, metabolic issues, and has been polluting our water and soils in an unsustainable way. The monoculture of nonorganic corn, wheat, and soy, which makes up a lot of the processed standard American diet, is found abundantly in these foods. Dr. Zach Bush is an expert in the field of glyphosate and has directed a short film regarding this pesticide and the effect on the agriculture world. Eating organic should not just be a “health nut” habit. Glyphosate is water-soluble which means that the buildup can literally be apart of the rain in the sky or the water from the local drinking fountain. That is why water filtration important, not just for heavy metals but also glyphosate buildup. Reducing glyphosate can be achieved through opting for organic, washing your non-organic, or even using activated charcoal capsules to bind up toxins and other unwanted waste particles in the body to be excreted.
Air Pollution – Initially, I though air pollution was a silly thing that I never needed to worry about until I saw a statistic that air pollution caused over 3.2 million cases of diabetes globally in 2016. What the heck?! I thought diabetes was only caused by a high intake of sugar which results in high insulin and blood sugar. Well, while that might be the primary and primary cause of diabetes, surprisingly enough, there are a handful of other environmental issues that can lead to disruption and improper metabolic function. If you’ve ever been to a busy dense city like New York City and also been to out in green nature whether it was in tropical or mountainous, it is pretty obvious that air quality can be detected. It is just a bit more difficult to identify if the environment you live life everyday in is rich in air pollutants or not. I figured a clean house would be full of perfectly healthy air quality until my family got a high quality air filter that could detect the amount of micro-particles in the air that can easily get into your lungs and even the brain eventually. Some ways I make “biohack” the air quality around my everyday environment is through focusing on breathing through my nose most of the day. The nose has many more filtration systems than the mouth does, so breathing through the nose can certainly help. Also, just using different tools to ensure dust is not building up in the carpets, furniture, or shelves can also help. Another tip, if possible getting an air filter nearby your bed is beneficial. Lastly, getting out in nature, whether it is just a park with greenery nearby or a camping trip out in nature, can be a great way to refresh the body with high quality less polluted air.
Heavy Metals – The build up of heavy metals in the body can been proven to be a stressor on the body which can result in issues like fatigue, stomach issues, dementia, brain fog, and skin issues. The buildup can happen through many factors including the consumption of fish that are deemed high in mercury such as tuna, swordfish, and shark, vaccines, unfiltered drinking water, BPA lined aluminum cans, and many conventional personal body products.Artificial Light – The issue of light is a difficult one because the same blue light that is from staring at the computer or phone screen is the same light that you are getting from sitting in the sunshine at the beach. The problem is not just a lower quality of sleep, a 2015 study showed that high exposure to artificial light at night led to increased risks of breast cancer, lung disease, and prostate cancer. As more and more concrete data comes out regarding the potential damage artificial light has, I’ve implemented a handful of habits that help mitigate these issues. First, I use blue light blocking glasses in the evening to minimize the effects of the phone and computer screen. Second, I focus on getting a good dose of natural light everyday whether out a run, walk, or just out sitting while reading a book.