Out with the old, in with the new. And this year the new is influenced by the old. More and more health trends are inspired by ancient traditions, whether it be from Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine or South American plant medicine. Ancient traditions in food, movement and meditation are all returning to the forefront of health and wellness and we’re going to see even more of that this year. Here they are, we predict the top trends that will be all the buzz in the health world for this year!
Health and Wellness Trends for 2017
FIBRE IS THE NEW PROTEIN: The health world has been obsessed with protein for what seems like forever. It’s now fibre's time to shine. Studies are bringing to light the importance of a healthy gut and how that affects so much more than just digestion. From happiness, to food cravings to the bodies ability to recover from hard workouts. If you want to see those gains in the gym, make sure it’s not just protein that you’re loading up on for your post workout smoothie. Hemp, ground flaxseed, psyllium husk, black beans, lima beans, lentils and dandelion root are some of are top performing fibre sources.
COLD SHOWERS, ICE BATHS, OCEAN SWIMS
: Wim Hof and cryotherapy are leading the cold water movement. If you haven’t heard of Wim Hoff...check his VICE doc now. It’ll change what you think is possible. It’s the best 40 minutes you can invest in. Having a ‘cold’ routine can help your exercise recovery, boost your immune system, increase fat loss and elevate your mood. That cold splash brings you quickly into the here and now.
Yoga was it’s modern day gateway. Meditation has now arrived on to the mainstream. This practice has been around since the origins of humanity, but never has it been so accessible. Meditation apps make it easy to turn any space, whether it be a cozy corner at home or a crowded seat on the bus, into your personal meditation sanctuary. Headspace
are leading the way but there are many options to choose from. Most apps have a free 7-10 day trial period so you can experiment to see what one resonates best with you. Also, meditation studios are starting to boom, creating a community of mindful warriors. In Vancouver, Moment Meditation
has pioneered the studio movement and Carolyn Budgell
and Float House
are hosting public mass meditations
. Check out MNDFL
and The Big Quiet
in New York and Unplug Meditation
and The Den
in Los Angeles. With amazing apps and beautiful studios, meditation is more approachable and accessible than ever before.
GUT HEALTH: If you’re going to consider focusing on one aspect of your health, make it your gut health. Gut health is connected to almost everything from your happiness, to muscle recovery to digestion. The microbiome is almost like our second brain, from influencing our cravings to how we feel emotionally. The gut has a direct line to the brain and through a healthy dose of fibre and fermented foods you can keep that communication healthy.
PREBIOTICS ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS PROBIOTICS: In the last few years, probiotics have taken their place amongst the top sellers at supplement stores and grocery aisles. The benefits of fermented foods and probiotics have kept the 'just as important', prebitocs, in the shadows...until now. Prebiotic foods are generally high in fiber, and fiber is what gut bacteria feeds on, producing fermentation by-products that benefit your health. Almonds, oats and mushrooms are a few star performers. Prebiotics help with magnesium and calcium absorption, increase bone density, boost your immune system, maintain a healthy metabolism and digestion, all while creating good bacteria for your gut. Prebiotics and probiotics...that's dream team gut health!
TELOMERES: On a quest for eternal health and longevity? It’s all about your telomeres. Telomeres, which look, in a biological sense, like a cap at the end of a shoelace, protect the genetic material inside your DNA. The longer your telomeres, the lower your chances of cancers and diseases. Though telomeres shorten as we age, certain lifestyle choices and foods can help keep them long and healthy. The longer your telomere the less signs of age. Stress is a major contributor, so meditation, yoga, and time in nature can also contribute to healthy telomeres. A plant based diet and getting a regular 8 hours of sleep will slow down or even reverse signs of aging.
ADAPTOGENS: Adaptogens might be the "hottest buzzword” in the health and wellness world. Adaptogen lattes, smoothies, tonics, powders… get ready to see it everywhere. And for good reason… adaptogens might just be our favourite in the realms of superfoods. Adaptogens… it has a bit of a magic rings to it. Perhaps something brewed up by the local health alchemist? Where they shine is in combating stress and balancing your hormones. In addition adaptogens lower cortisol levels, help regenerate brain cells, alleviate depression and anxiety, increase energy levels and lowers cholesterol. Ashwagandha, rhodiola, ginseng, schisandra, holy basil and mushrooms like chaga, reishi, shiitake and cordyceps are some of the top performing adaptogens.
CONSCIOUS CONSUMERISM: Vote with your dollars. Every purchase you make reflects a set of values. Share your beliefs through your purchases. It’s one of the most powerful ways to make an impact. Every meal and every time you go shopping you have an opportunity to vote for the world that you want to see. Choose to vote against fast fashion, factory farms, GMO’s and animal cruelty. Choosing options that endorse the ethics that you believe in can have a huge impact. Check out the documentary The True Cost for a glimpse into the fashion world and Cowspiracy for a deep dive into agriculture.
FUNCTIONAL BEVERAGES: Drinking with a purpose. Head to a Whole Foods or a health store and you’ll find drinks for pre workout, post workout, pre sleep, brain boosting, stomach aiding, defogging, declogging, whatever the need, there’s a drink. Coconut water and kombucha kickstarted the trend and now everything from mushroom teas (check out Four Sigmatic mushroom brews), to Kefirs and Juns to Maple Water and Cactus Waters. Even bars are jumping on board, with incredible mocktail and nonalcoholic options showing up on menus. Check out Exile Bistro in Vancouver and Lifehouse Tonics or Dragon Herbs in LA. To DIY check out the endless options from Harmonic Arts.
PLANT PROTEIN IS ON THE RISE: Thanks to companies like Vega and Sunwarrior for paving the way, people are seeking ethical, sustainable sources of protein that are cleaner for the body. Beyond protein, plants are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and phytonutrients. They’re a more complete nutrition source and when you think about it… where do animals get their protein from? Gorillas, Hippos, Giraffes...some of the largest animals are fully plant based eaters. Even with carnivores, if you go directly to the beginning of the supply chain, it all starts with plant protein.
ANTI INFLAMMATORY IS NEW ANTIOXIDANT: Antioxidants are still important. That hasn’t changed. No reason to start skimping on the blueberries. While those free radicals get treated, combating inflammation through food is getting the attention it deserves. Considering inflammation is linked to everything from digestive issues and bloating and acne prone skin to recovery time from workouts to much more serious illnesses. Atop the hit list of anti inflammatory over achievers; Ginger and Turmeric. Cayenne, leafy greens and olive oil are also star performers but keeping ginger and turmeric in your regular diet will keep you in good shape throughout the year. Hot tip...adding a fat like coconut oil and peppercorn in with turmeric will amplify turmerics already amazing anti inflammatory properties.
SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP: Sleep is everything. It’s the foundation of our health. Arianna Huffington and Shawn Stevenson both wrote amazing books on the importance of sleep. Sleep is the formula for happiness and productivity. A good night's sleep will benefit every aspect of your life from stress to recovery to happiness to mental clarity. We all enjoy a full night binge on Netflix every now and then but start committing to your sleep and you’ll see the rest of your waking life flourish.
MUSHROOMS GO MAINSTREAM: Tinctures, powders, teas...mushrooms are here. We’re not talking the magical kind either...although those can help treat anxiety or help you with any creative blocks. Not only are mushrooms one of the best all around foods for your health...they're also fascinating. Listen to the Radio Lab episode From Tree to Shining Tree to have your mind blown. You’ll never look at mushrooms or trees the same. Or look up the BBC segment on cordyceps...real life zombie stuff. Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, Lions Mane and Shiitake are some of our favourites. Packed with antioxidants, vitamins and phytonutrients, theres a mushroom for everything from stress and sleep to energy and performance to brain health and your nervous system. We love Four Sigmatic’s mushrooms as well as Harmonic Arts. If you want to forage your own, pick up a copy of All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms.
ALGAE OIL AND AVOCADO OIL: The Mediterranean diet
has sung the praises of olive oil for decades, maybe centuries. Thrive
recently launched an Algae Oil that might be the most nutrient dense oil out there. Its full of monounsaturated fats (the good fats) and has very little saturated fats (the bad fats) making it a healthy oil for your heart and a good source of energy...especially if you’re into endurance sports. Avocado Oil tastes amazing and is full of health benefits. It’s full of omega 9’s, which are great for cancer prevention, helps maintain a healthy blood pressure and heart, is high in vitamin E, aids in digestion and reduces inflammation. There are lots of interesting coconut oils out there as well, with Bulletproof
leading the MCT parade. Look out for Babassu Oil
- we're predicting it will top the lists in 2018!
SEA GREENS ARE THE NEW KALE: Under the sea, that octopus’ garden in the shade, is going to be the most popular stall at every farmers market. Nori, Kombu, Hijiki, Wakame, Dulse, Kelp. Doesn’t that sound more exciting than a kale, spinach salad? Maybe. Either way, these sea greens are full with high levels of minerals, vitamins & trace elements that help you gently detox from heavy metals, environmental pollutants, and carcinogens. Sea greens will also help lower cholesterol and keep you regular, as they’re a natural prebiotic. They also have a naturally salty flavour that goes well in rice bowls, soups, dehydrated as chips or even in smoothies.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Or your EQ (emotional quotient) is the IQ of 2017. Loosely, your EQ defines your ability to be self aware and manage your emotions while identifying and being mindful of the emotions of others. The second part is in applying your EQ to navigating problem solving both internally and externally. More and more businesses are using emotional intelligence for hiring and team development. Wellness retreats and individuals are also jumping on board for self development purposes. Check out Emergenetics. It does an incredible job of illuminating your own emotional preferences, which ideally will ideally inform a greater confidence and understanding of how you navigate your thoughts, your relationships and your everyday life.
MINIMALISIM: Less is more. Purging is the new juice cleanse. You’ll feel amazing. Try it out. Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, known as “The Minimalists” are the leaders of the pack. They’ve got a book, a podcast, a great TED talk and a movie… all worth checking out. The act of minimalism doesn’t focus on having less, or necessarily getting rid of things. The idea is to make room for more. Clear space, clear time, clear relationships for more freedom, more time, more experiences, more growth, more opportunities and more happiness. Minimalism helps us get to the very heart of the matter which often isn’t things in the first place. Plus, dropping stuff off at the thrift shop, donating it to the salvation army, or selling your stuff on craigslist allows someone else the opportunity to love something that no longer brings that value to your life.
INTERMITTENT FASTING: Breakfast might not be the most important meal of the day. At least not first thing in the morning. This is an ancient idea, practiced in Ayurveda to Traditional Chinese Medicine to religious practices in Judaism, Christianity and Buddhism. It’s really nothing new. The Ketogenic Diet has brought it back into the mass consciousness and guys like Tim Ferriss and Wim Hof have preached the multitudes of health benefits. The opinions vary, but the general idea is to fast 14-20 hours a day. When your fasting, blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning. In a fasted state your body induces important cellular repair and removes waste material from cells. It even positively changes genes and molecules related to longevity and the protection against disease. It also helps you lose weight and fat, can reduce insulin resistance, which lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as lowering inflammation. Ultimately, intermittent fasting could help you live a longer healthier life! Who doesn’t want that? Tune into this Tim Ferriss podcast to learn more.