Predictions can be tricky, but given that these nine popular nutrition, fitness, and therapeutic trends already have a foothold in the wellness space, it seems safe to say that they’re only going to get bigger in the new year.
It’s not always clear what the difference is between adaptogens, superfoods, and “functional foods,” but we’re about to hear even more about the superpowers of certain foods, especially mushrooms. Case in point: A new line of mushroom tonics made with reishi, chaga and lion’s mane by Ontario’s own Auralis Botanical Brewing, which offers its tonics as an option for people who don’t want to drink alcohol.
There’s been a lot of buzz about the superpowers of these particular mushrooms (especially lion’s mane), so expect to see more fungi fizzing on the shelf. Since my clinical trial involved a group of one person (myself) and the placebo effect is real, it’s hard to draw conclusions, but I perked up a bit after drinking the lion’s mane tonic. And all three were tasty non-alcoholic alternatives to enjoy during cocktail hour.
Honey recently got the stamp of approval from researchers at the University of Toronto, who did a systematic review of the evidence and found that using it instead of sugar is associated with better cardiovascular health.
While it’s not clear what sets honey apart from other sugars, the researchers note that it’s a complex substance, “rich in phenolic compounds and flavonoids,” and contains bacteria that may be beneficial to the gut. However, some of these properties are less present in highly processed honey, which may be why raw honey and monofloral honey scored higher on the tests.
Since Manuka honey from New Zealand and Australia is already being touted as a health balm, we can expect to see many more places for this rarefied kiwi monofloral honey. However, as of now, the research supports the use of any raw monofloral honey, not necessarily the most expensive, however delicious it may be.
Many people talk a good game about sustainable fish, but ocean plankton – the bacteria, algae and other organisms eaten by fish – represents about the easiest and cleanest aquaculture known to man. While this may not be the year for the masses to get over the plankton yuck factor, Pinterest says searches among the social media platform’s “pinners” for “seaweed snacks,” “chlorophyll water,” and “green algae” are well into the sitting in an elevator. Can plankton be far away?
Go to bed early, get up early
Whether it was burning the candle to meet a deadline or enjoying a delicious multi-course dinner with friends, being late at night was always cool. Now early is the new late.
More and more experts advise that eating earlier (some say 5pm!) and going to bed earlier is better for our cardiovascular health. Bad news for late night tapas bars, but it’s looking good for anyone offering an Early Bird Special.
Pinterest also predicts an increase in “primal movement,” an anti-tech fitness trend where people trade their pack for squats and lunges. There are seven core exercises in the primary range of motion, all of which our bodies are apparently “designed” to do. With no investment in fancy equipment or gym memberships required, it’s hard not to love this lo-fi trend.
Primal movement could fit in well with another trend: ‘movement snacks’. High-intensity workouts are losing ground in fitness circles as people try to find more humane regimens and incorporate all kinds of exercise into their daily routine instead. That movement can be anything from a short walk to a squat at the desk. It’s about breaking up long sedentary sessions and moving around as often as possible.
Personalized wellness plans
Whether it’s how much water to drink, our fitness regimen or a diet plan, it’s becoming increasingly clear that what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. As this becomes more widely understood, you can expect more personalized plans offered by fitness trainers, nutritionists, and of course apps. No more keeping up with the Joneses’ training. You do you.
In 1994, Canadians reported spending an average of 104 minutes a day with friends. Twenty years later, that number had dropped to 84. We won’t know if we’re getting better or worse until the next time use survey is conducted, but in the United States, the study found that hangtime with friends has declined considerable since 2014. With everything we now know about the importance of social connection for brain health and coping with challenges (for many, but not necessarily all people), we’re likely to see a lot more emphasis on group activities – whether it’s involves group activities fitness classes or just chatting with friends – as an integral part of self-care.
It’s not hard to make a connection between people spending more time alone and digital media, as economist Bryce Ward recently pointed out in a Washington Post op-ed. The year 2014 was the first year that the majority of Americans reported owning a smartphone and it was also a year of explosive growth for Instagram – from 200 million to 300 million users in just eight months.
However, it’s hard to go cold turkey with email and social media, so a personalized approach to digital mindfulness might be better, especially for the many of us who use it in connection with our work. Track your screen time, observe how silly scrolling makes you feel, turn off some notifications, and develop policies about when you shouldn’t use it – like in bed, when you’re watching Netflix, eating, and of course when you’re with friends and family.