by Nick Mistretta
It’s that time again – when one year ends, a new year begins, and we all take stock of changes we’d like to make.
We’ve even given this yearly ritual a name, and why not? It’s become such an integral part of what it means to be human, and something each of us is either pleasantly, or painfully, aware of – The New Year’s Resolution.
It’s interesting how many of these resolutions are health related, as in exercise more, lose weight, and eat better. It’s also interesting just how many resolutions never even get off the ground, or fail miserably and quickly. And given that most don’t make it past mid-January, here are a couple of tips to make sure your resolutions don’t crash and burn.
Be as specific as possible with your resolutions. Instead of wanting to exercise more, commit to a certain type of exercise, like high intensity interval training on a stationary bike. You can even be more specific by choosing the exact times and days you plan to exercise. And write your resolutions down; you’ll have a much greater chance of sticking it out when the going gets tough, as it tends to on occasion.
But there’s one sure-fire way to improve your chances of seeing these resolutions through – add a certain amount of convenience to them, while making sure that they’re still worthwhile. For instance, many of you are probably too busy to brew a batch of bone broth every week, even though you know how healthy it is. Are we right?
Which is why one common thread you’ll find in (most of) these top-five health food trends are tips to raise the convenience factor, which in turn, will raise your chances of incorporating them into your life in 2018. Because resolutions only work if you resolve to see them through. So without further ado . . .
Health Food Trend #5 – Digestive Wellness
You may be thinking, not another post on probiotics. But as you’ll soon discover in 2018, probiotics are just one piece of this puzzle.
Your microbiome is a collection of bacteria, viruses, and eukaryotes. In fact, this makes up between one and two percent of your total body mass. And it’s not just about digestive health. The impact of creating a healthier microbiome is far-reaching, and includes disease prevention and weight stabilization.
Probiotics, as you probably know by now, keep you healthy by balancing the good and bad bacteria in your digestive tract, which contributes to lowering inflammation, building a stronger immune system, and improving digestion. All of which benefit your health in numerous ways.
But did you know that for probiotics to work as they should, you also need the presence of prebiotics? Prebiotics provide the fuel that helps the healthy bacteria grow and multiply.
Without these prebiotics (a type of fiber), you’re wasting the full potential of whatever probiotics you’re putting into your body.
Prebiotic foods include chicory root, apples, unripened bananas, jicama, onions, garlic, raw asparagus, and dandelion greens, which aren’t a weed at all. So instead of pulling them next summer, harvest them for salads.
Health Food Trend #4 – Collagen Protein
For all of you women reading this, you’re probably well aware of how collagen contributes to healthier, smoother skin. The great thing about collagen is that our bodies produce it. The not-so-great thing is that we produce less and less as we age. And collagen benefits go way beyond what you may have previously thought.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, as it’s found in your bones, joints, cartilage, and skin. It also has numerous gut healing properties. And it’s attained superfood status recently, in part, because of two important amino acids that are difficult to get enough of, even from a whole food diet – proline and glycine.
Proline is critical for proper joint health and that supple skin we all long for. Glycine helps to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, aids in detoxifying the liver, and even promotes better sleep, which is THE most underappreciated nutrient of all time.
Collagen is an all-star when it comes to being a naturally-functional food, as it’s one of the best sources of clean protein on the planet. And if you thought that 2017 was just the beginning of the collagen experience, you’d be right.
Convenient approach to collagen protein
Unless you spent 2017 living in a cave in the Himalaya, you may recall reading about the benefits of bone broth this past year. And the main reason for these benefits has to do with the collagen content in broth. But having bone broth on the stove for 48 hours isn’t really convenient.
However, tossing a scoop or two of collagen protein into your smoothies, oatmeal, or morning coffee, is very convenient. And collagen as an ingredient in ready-made healthy foods and drinks is right around the corner. A day is coming very soon when you’ll see collagen in products you never would have expected.
Health Food Trend #3 – Ketogenic Diet
This may look like one of those been-there-done-that trends. But, according to Pinterest, keto recipes this past Thanksgiving were up 4460% from the previous Thanksgiving, indicating a very steep upward trend. The keto diet is also getting a huge boost as mitochondrial health begins to gain mainstream appeal.
Mitochondria are your cells power generators. There’s not one process that takes place without that energy. It is, quite simply, the foundation for everything that happens in your body, both good and bad.
Mitochondrial health contributes to slower aging, greater longevity, stronger bodies, and better-functioning brains. And the key to this mitochondrial health lies in turning your body into a fat burning machine, rather than one that relies on carbohydrates and sugars for energy.
The keto diet takes the standard American food guide pyramid, and completely flips it upside down. Instead of a foundation built on carbohydrates, the keto diet is constructed mostly of healthy fats, as in 60-75% of your total calories. Protein (around 15-30%) and carbs (5-10%) round out your daily dietary intake.
Not all fats are created equal, though. Aim for healthy sources like coconut oil, avocados, butter, ghee, olive oil, fatty fish, raw milk cheeses, organic nuts, and naturally raised meats. Remember, consuming more naturally-functional foods is always the goal.
Convenient approach to the keto diet
Unfortunately, there’s no simple solution for preparing healthy meals. However, we can provide you with a ketogenic diet guide to eliminate the guesswork, so you can quickly get your body to begin burning fat as fuel. Your mitochondria will thank you. And the way you’ll feel as a result, will have you thanking your mitochondria right back.
Health Food Trend #2 – Nootropics
According to Research and Markets, nootropics were a 2.3 billion-dollar industry in 2015. But by 2024 that growth is expected to reach $11.6 billion. Which means all the chatter surrounding smart drugs and brain-boosting foods is just beginning.
Nootropics are cognitive enhancers, and include certain foods, herbs, supplements, and drugs. As the brain is 60 percent fat, simply adopting a ketogenic diet will have obvious nootropic benefits. In particular, omega-3 fatty acids – like those found in sardines, salmon, egg yolks, and hemp, chia, and flax seeds – are a powerful brain nutrient.
Nootropic benefits include improved concentration, better memory, and counteracting the effects of age-related cognitive decline. If you’ve been feeling a bit of brain fog lately, you may benefit from a cognitive enhancer.
Many younger fans of nootropics opt for substances like aniracetam, noopept, sulbutiamine, and prescription medications like Modafinil and Adrafinil. But there are numerous natural cognitive enhancers like curcumin, Lion’s Mane mushrooms, Bacopa monnieri, Ginkgo biloba, ginseng, Rhodiola rosea, several amino acids found in collagen, and L-theanine – caffeine’s friendlier, more-productive little brother.
Convenient approach to nootropics
Adopting a ketogenic diet is the easiest way to gain nootropic benefits, along with some simple tweaking to get more natural cognitive enhancers into your diet. For instance, add more curcumin (found in turmeric) to your meals. Eat more Lion’s Mane mushrooms. And consume more collagen.
Beyond that, supplementing with herbal extracts like bacopa, ginseng, and others listed above – perhaps mixed into smoothies – is the easiest and healthiest way to improve overall brain function. And don’t discount the effects of proper sleep and exercise on brain health. A comprehensive approach will always be the best approach.
(Drum roll, please!) And your number one health food trend for 2018 is …
Health Food Trend #1 – Functional Beverage
Remember the term, naturally-functional? Well, here it is in liquid form. What could be easier than drinking your way to better health?
One of the trends that nearly made this list was plant-based diets. We could all use more foods in our diet that are green, red, orange, purple, and yellow – as in fruits and vegetables. But functional drinks also include probiotic beverages like kefir, kombucha (set to explode in 2018), and drinkable yogurts.
Functional beverages also include broth-based drinks, which will begin popping up in 2018, and drinking vinegars. And unless you really have been living in a Himalayan cave, you’ve no doubt heard about the amazing health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
When it comes to WHY we need more herbs, fruits and vegetables in our diet, one word to remember is antioxidants.
Antioxidants are any substance that inhibits oxidation. Oxidation occurs as a result of free radical damage in the body. Without getting too scientific, free radicals are unstable molecules that are the byproduct of cellular reactions. Free radical damage can contribute to accelerated aging, cellular damage, tissue breakdown, and immune system overload.
A healthy body is one that has more antioxidants than free radicals. A few antioxidants (or classes of antioxidants) you may be familiar with are carotenoids, polyphenols, lycopene, and vitamin C.
Convenient approach to functional drinks
Functional drinks are as much about convenience as they are about health. Any time you can get more vitamins, minerals, amino acids, probiotics, fruits and vegetables into your diet, the better off you’ll look and feel. And the more time you’ll have to enjoy how you look and feel.
What could be easier than consuming a beverage that has everything you need to be at your healthiest? (That’s rhetorical, but you can certainly shake your head, yes, if you want to.)
Modern living is full of toxins that didn’t exist just a few generations ago. However, the one advantage we have now is the ease and convenience afforded to us as a result of this modern living. Which should make sticking to those New Year’s resolutions easier than ever. But if you can’t, don’t worry; you’ll have another chance in 360 or so days.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nick Mistretta is a freelance copywriter, content marketer, and author of the ebook, 25 Superfoods For Super Health. He helps small businesses turn strangers into friends, friends into customers, and customers into loyal customers.