What Is Hormesis?

How 'tough' are your cells?


One of the theories on why as a species we are experiencing such a burden of disease and ill health is that we have become far too used to 'the good life' that we are living here in the 21st Century. We don't go hungry, we don't have to be out in the cold or the rain. We don't need to chase our breakfast. The end result has been that our bodies no longer need to make us tougher than our environment.


However, this has come at a cost - not needing to be on the lookout for danger, famine or threats to our reproductive potential has meant that our cells aren't as 'fit' as they were designed to be.


The word 'hormesis' means the ability of your body and cells to adapt to a moderate amount of stress. Essentially - telling your body and cells to 'toughen up'!


So, what can we do about it?


  • Exercise: Your body was designed to move, it wasn't designed to sit in that chair! Moving your body not only pumps oxygen through your muscles, it also signals the brain to work better.


  • Eating until you are 80% full. The Japanese call this 'hara hachi bu'. Reducing your overall calorie intake has been shown to trigger an improvement in cellular function - basically, not eating as much signals your body that 'gee whiz, there isn't quite as much food around, so we'd better get better at our job so that we can still do what we need to do'. Intermittent fasting (such as the 5:2 eating style) may also provide benefit in this way.


  • Some phytochemicals (nutrients from plants, including some herbs) can provide a protective effect to cells.


Interesting stuff!

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