“Essential oils are among the simplest natural remedies. We’re rediscovering how they can help with a plethora of modern ailments including stress and anxiety, mood, sleep, and even hormonal balance.”

Health Resolutions

30th December 2016

Was 2016 the year of the avocado? With avo-on-toast the only choice of breakfast for any self-respecting health blogger, it certainly reflected a wider fascination with veganism and clean-eating. It was also the year that (good) carbs made a comeback and mindfulness became mainstream. So what are likely to be the big trends in holistic healthcare in 2017? Grace Fuller reveals her predictions for the top 15 health, food and wellbeing concepts we’re likely to embrace this year…

1. ESSENTIAL OILS WILL MAKE A BIG COMEBACK
Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at superfooduk.com, says, “Essential Oils have been around for many, many years but have been forgotten about a bit. Their return is in line with the 2017 theme of ‘natural’ and ‘holistic’ products.”

Nutritionist Cassandra Barns adds, “Essential oils are among the simplest natural remedies. We’re rediscovering how they can help with a plethora of modern ailments including stress and anxiety, mood, sleep, and even hormonal balance.”

According to skincare expert Sonja Dymalowski, oils will gain popularity on the beauty market too. “We can see that in terms of skincare ingredients, we are going back to basics – that less is more. Essentials oils are packed with vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants so they won’t dry your skin. Instead, they can smooth fine lines and heal blemishes at the same time. Go for natural products, such as new What Skin Needs Hydrating Facial Serum, which combines aloe vera and plantolin essential oils.

2. WE'LL BE CHEWING OVER DENTAL CARE PROBIOTICS
People are becoming more and more concerned about their teeth and their dental health. One way to help prevent any infections and the build up of bacteria is by taking probiotics in a chewable form. Cassandra explains: “As well as taking care of our intestinal health, friendly bacteria also live in our mouth and helps to take care of our teeth and gums too. For this reason, chewable probiotics could help to keep our oral health in check.”

3. WE'LL GO NUTS FOR TIGER NUTS
Tiger nuts are, of course, not from tigers. And they’re not nuts. In fact, tiger nuts are a small root vegetable that grows in the Mediterranean and Africa. They’re a traditional food in these areas and may even have been eaten as far back as the Stone Age. Tiger nut milk is also a traditional drink in Spain. Cassandra says, “Tiger nuts are commonly found in the form of tiger nut flour – great alternative gluten-free, grain-free flour that can be used in baking or cooking and that’s suitable for all types of diets from vegan to paleo to nut-free.” Tiger nuts are high in fibre and contain calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, amongst other valuable nutrients. “They are great when it comes to supporting digestive system and weight loss,” adds Shona.
 
4. WE'LL DISCOVER A MORE SUSTAINABLE, VEGAN SOURCE OF OMEGA 3
Along with the 2017 trend of all things ‘natural’, there are themes of ‘environmentally friendly’ and ‘sustainability’.  With this in mind, along with the rising popularity of vegan diets, the market for omega 3 from algae is only likely to increase.

Shona explains, “We know that there’s a real concern about the sustainability of fish due to over-farming of our oceans. Omega 3 from algae allows us to have the benefits of the nutrient without affecting our fish stock.”

“Most of us know about the importance of omega-3 fatty acids – especially DHA and EPA from oily fish. But for vegetarians and vegans, or anyone who can’t eat fish or take fish oil supplements, getting a good source of these healthy fats can be a problem. Luckily there is an answer: algae can provide small amounts of these specific omega-3 fats that can be found concentrated in supplement form,” adds Cassandra. 
 
5. OUR WATER WILL HAVE ADDED PROBIOTICS
We’ve seen probiotic yoghurts and probiotic supplements – and even probiotic chocolate has found a niche in the market. Now probiotic water is proving popular too, as another way to naturally help our gut. “Tablets are out,” says Shona. “Different ways of getting our supplements are in. Food and drink are becoming functional – this trend is an example of how we can get the goodness of water with the added health benefits of probiotics.”

6. WE'LL NOSH MORE CAULIFLOWER
Cauliflower is amazingly versatile and full of health benefits: low in carbs and calories; high in fibre, vitamin C, folate and potassium. It also contains compounds called glucosinolates, which are thought to have anti-cancer activity. Cassandra suggests pulsing raw florets in a food processor to make cauliflower ‘rice’, steaming it and blending it to make a delicious mash, or just removing the leaves, popping it in the oven and baking it whole.

7. OUR DIET WILL BECOME MORE SPICY
‘Superfood’ has become the biggest buzzword in the health food industry. However, after years of avocado and quinoa reigning, it’s time to pass the crown to… super-spices.

Turmeric is one of the most powerful. This bright yellow spice contains curcumin, which has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, has been shown to help relieve the pain of arthritis, injuries and even dental procedures. Nutritionist and weight loss expert Lily Soutter is an enthusiast. “Along with its anti-inflammatory benefits, the curcumin within turmeric [plays] a role within cancer prevention and protecting against heart disease.”

Are you trying to detox? Turmeric helps the liver function properly, by stimulating the production of bile, used for filtering and expelling toxins. Use it ground or fresh to spice up your food and benefit from its health-giving properties. “You can also take turmeric supplements with active curcumin for similar effect,” adds Cassandra. Try CurQuMax by Quest Vitamins (qnutrapharma.com).
 
8. WE'LL CHOOSE GOAT MEAT
Goat meat is a staple in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine; indeed, it’s the most widely consumed meat in the world – but it rarely makes it onto the dinner table here. Lily says, “While goats cheese and even goats milk are pretty popular, it’s hard to find goat meat in any of our local supermarkets. Despite this, there has been recent talk that Waitrose and Sainsbury’s may make it available on their shelves by 2017.”

Why goat meat? Cassandra explains, “Goat meat is a healthy option. It’s low in fat and higher in protein than some meats and it’s also higher in iron than beef, pork or lamb. What’s more, eating goat meat can be considered an ethical choice too”…

Currently, goats are farmed primarily for their milk and so – shockingly – most male goats from goat dairy industry are killed at birth. Creating a market for goat meat will allow the Billy goats to live a decent life as they are reared for their meat.

9. WE'LL EXPLORE FILIPINO CUISINE
Though Thai and Vietnamese foods are known throughout the Western world, Filipino food has been slower to catch on. However, this may all change during 2017… According to Lily, there are many healthy and flavoursome choices available. “Try Paket, a vegetable dish full of spices, or Adobo, meat marinated in vinegar and soy sauce,” she says. Another option is Tortang Talong – a delicious aubergine and egg-based breakfast.
 
10. WE'LL REALISE THE POWER OF PURPLE
The future of modern cuisine is purple. Why? They pack a powerful disease-prevention punch. Purple kale, purple carrots, purple cauliflower, purple broccoli and the purple potato are all amazingly rich in anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are the antioxidant responsible for their purple colour and have amazing disease fighting properties. They can soothe inflammation as well as boost immune function; studies show they can also improve memory and brain function.”
 
11. WE'LL FIZZ OVER HEALTH DRINKS
Drinks with a fizz are gaining popularity by the day. “Thanks to champagne,” observes Cassandra, “the word ‘sparkling’ is associated with celebration and luxury.” No wonder that sales of prosecco have shot up by 80% over the last five years, and that the trend is being translated into health drinks too. “We now have sparkling sugar-free infused water, as well as sparkling matcha tea. The next twelve months may just bring this trend to a whole new level,” Lily says.    

12. MOVE OVER COCONUT WATER, THIS YEAR IS ALL ABOUT THE WATERMELON
Watermelon water is simply taken from the whole juice of a watermelon. Like coconut water, it contains natural electrolyte minerals. It’s especially high in potassium, and also contains lycopene – one of the most powerful and protective antioxidants found in plants. But even though it’s healthy, Shona warns that it is naturally high in sugar: “So do drink it moderately.”

13. WE'LL ADAPT TO ADAPTOGENS
Some plants have superpowers that can help our body adapt to and handle stress. These wonders are called adaptogens and include maca, ginseng, licorice, rhodiola and moringa. Adaptogenic herbs have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine to boost energy and increase resilience in the face of stress. Shona explains why they are making a big comeback: “As their name suggests, adaptogens are herbs that help the body to adapt to the stresses of life. They are tonifying to the body, strengthening it, rebuilding it and nourishing it.” Adaptogens are able to ‘adapt’ their function, and tune-in to what our body needs. They usually have a specific affinity for the adrenals and the endocrine glands, therefore having a positive effect on hormonal balance and the way the body functions under stress.

Cassandra adds, “An easy analogy would be to describe adaptogens like a thermostat. They will increase the temperature if it’s too low, and also decrease the temperature if it’s too high. They aim to normalise imbalances in the body. As they generally support adrenal function, they can calm you down, and boost your energy levels, all without being overstimulating.”

In short, the adverse effects of stress are reduced. Adaptogens enable the body to access more cellular energy and encourage our bodies to use oxygen more efficiently; all while increasing the metabolism of cells and allowing them to eliminate greater amounts of toxic by-products.

14. WE'LL POP VEGAN PROTEIN POWDERS
With more and more people going vegan, plant-based protein powders have already started flying off the shelves. Shona explains why we should be so hot on protein: “We need protein for many reasons – not only for our muscles but also for building, healing and repairing most of the other tissues in our body – as well as producing a range of vital substances such as antibodies and hormones. Because the richest sources of protein are animal foods – vegetarians and especially vegans may struggle to get enough protein. For optimal wellbeing, an adult needs a minimum of around 0.8 to 1g of protein per kilo ‘ideal’ body weight per day. So if your healthy body weight is 60kg, you’ll need around 50 to 60 grams of protein per day. And this amount increases if you’re very active, or trying to build strength.”

So what are the most protein packed options? “I would recommend new Natures Plus Sunflower or Pea Protein (£22.50, www.naturesplus.co.uk) which is a smooth powder with digestive enzymes to make it easier on the tummy, suitable for both vegetarians and vegans,” suggests Cassandra.
 
15. WE'LL SEEK THE SCANDINAVIAN APPROACH
Most of us need a better work-life balance. Stress is a primary cause of ill health, both short and long-term, and in the UK, many of us work more than a 40-hour week. Scandinavian countries, by contrast, are renowned for their amazing work-life balance. Sweden has introduced a 6-hour workday during winter months, giving employees a chance to leave work before dark, as well as enough time to rest and recuperate. “Shorter working hours may potentially boost morale and health among employees, which can ultimately increase work productivity,” says Lily. “By law employees have to take 25 days’ paid leave. We can only hope that similar policies are taken up here…”

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