Comment: Nassau executive chef Silvena Rowe on biohacking the body

How we can use natural biohacking to fight back against infection
Silvena Rowe
Silvena Rowe

As the coronavirus pandemic continues unabated around the world, we are, understandably, all concerned about the best ways to protect ourselves against viruses and other infections.

First and foremost, we all need to follow government advice to stay home and social distance. But, beyond this, we can all use the time to rest up and dose up so that when we are able to get back to work, we are geared up to stay healthy and thrive.


I consider myself a natural biohacking expert. Biohacking is the practice of enhancing our bodies and our health through science and self-experimentation. It can be as simple as implementing lifestyle and dietary changes that improve the functioning of your body, or as extreme as using implant technology and genetic engineering. I believe in the power of food, utilising the natural chemistry of the body and good cognitive function to slow the ageing process, strengthen our immune systems and generally make us superhuman.

Incorporating some of these simple biohacks into your routine is the most effective way to ensure your defences are as effective as they can be against viral infection and pathogens.

You are what you eat (and put anywhere near your body)

We are, quite literally, what we eat. We live in a symbiotic relationship with around 30 trillion microbes that live in our bodies, collectively making up our microbiome. Our microbiome programmes our immune system and is strengthened by fermented foods, fibre, pulses and plant-based food in general. Make sure you eat as balanced a diet as possible. Otherwise, you are just leaving the door open for enemy viruses to walk straight in and start making themselves at home. Superfoods that feature in my diet everyday include bee pollen (an antioxidant that speeds up healing) açai (contains healthy fats and could be anti-cancer agent) and blue spirulina (improves muscles strength and endurance). 

Use supplements strategically

I use a range of supplements to complement my diet and ensure I am giving my body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. The combination you take will depend on your age, gender, whether you’re pregnant and even where you live. Vitamin D is advised for most people, particularly as it can be difficult to get enough through your diet alone. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Echinacea is one of the most popular immune-boosting herbs, it can reduce inflammation and has been found to shorten the duration of flu-like viruses. I also take vitamin C, zinc and probiotic supplements. 

Stay active- but rest is just as important

To enjoy a functioning immune system it will come as no surprise that exercise is key, but the impact that sleep has on our bodies is less well known. In our industry, we’re used to a work hard, play hard culture, but if we’re not getting enough sleep then we’re putting ourselves at risk of burning out and succumbing to illness. Long-term, a lack of sleep can increase the risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Sleep is your body’s time to repair and reset- and it will switch off your body’s chemical stress response too.

The current public health emergency has given us all time to pause and reflect. If you’re lucky enough to be able to stay home and stay safe, why not try to incorporate some of these natural bio hacks into your life? You’ll feel the benefits in no time.s

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