Understanding habits and choices that promote sound physical and mental health is the key priority, since health, according to the WHO, is 50-55% determined by one’s way of life. The newest research gives even greater importance to lifestyle, raising it to 70%.
However, not only the importance attributed to healthy lifestyle is reconsidered. What practices are the most conducting to our well-being is quite often re-examined in medicine and public discussion. While appropriate physical activity, quitting smoking and alcohol abuse are most commonly seen as important aspects of a healthy lifestyle, views on proper nutrition and exercise methods, for example, change as new research becomes available and new wellness trends take over the industry. In 2019, there is a number of health and wellness trends that are worth our attention.
- Focusing on brain health
Weight loss is an ongoing trend, but paying attention to particular organs to improve their performance is in some extent seasonal. It can fairly be said that for many years, the digestive system has been the main target of various health practices. Now the brain is given central importance in leading a healthy lifestyle. Dietary supplements that support memory functions and improve brain productivity are a part of this trend – e.g., Ginkgo biloba, Gotu kola, and healthy fats. Red and orange vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds are considered to be memory improving products. While dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are slowly taking over the world, brain health requires our closest attention: not only nutrition, but also relaxation, digital detox and meditation are important.
- Intuitive eating
Intuitive eating is becoming popular, which is not surprising – we are increasingly confronted with the unwholesome consequences of strict diets. For most people, periods of dieting take turns with periods of failures and breakdowns, followed by feelings of guilt and frustration. But what is intuitive eating and how can it help?
Intuitive eating is a practice that relies on being aware of the body signals. Calorie calculation and dividing food into healthy and non-healthy is alien to this method. Although it allows to eat anything – including donuts, potato chips and ice cream – one should become extra sensitive to the natural signals of hunger and satiety, not solving emotional problems with sugars and excessive eating. Mindfulness of eating – being in the present and paying attention to every moment while having meal – is an important element of intuitive eating.
- Smart home for nutrition and sports
In 2019, artificial intelligence will be increasingly helping in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and not breaking away from the intended fitness routine. Experts in home appliance manufacturing have already invented smart refrigerators with integrated cameras. These personal “home nutritionists” will keep track of what we eat, make an optimal nutrition plan, and even offer new recipes.
Another smart home trend is multifunctional furniture, which has the potential of a fitness simulator. That is, interior items that have several purposes will become more available. Multifunctional coffee tables that can be used as sports benches or dumbbells is just one example developed by theHabit company based in Hong Kong.
Doing sports at home becomes even easier. Workout and yoga apps are replacing personal trainers by demonstrating the exercises and giving advice for better performance. An interactive $1,500 mirror, which has already set the fitness world on fire, will stream workout classes right into your home. One sees both the trainer and one’s reflection at the same time, which facilitates the process of training. A Bluetooth heart rate tracker is included in the package too.
- Interval fasting
Protein diets, difficult-to-comply rations and strict dieting rules gradually go out of fashion, giving way to a sensible diet and interval fasting. Many studies have shown that a 12-16 hour break between dinner and breakfast allows the digestive system to cleanse and restore itself. A 24-hour fasting twice a month is also recommended, since fasting triggers autophagy, a process in which unhealthy cell element and denatured proteins are digested in order to gain energy. Autophagy is an important natural process that reduces inflammation and plays a significant role in preventing neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease).
- Light workouts instead of intense training
In the fitness industry, the HIIT (high-intensity interval training) has long been one of the most popular exercise strategies. This is not surprising: it allows to burn a lot of calories in a short time. However, now fitness experts claim that HIIT can also be harmful: intensive training leads to accumulation of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. A high level of cortisol leads to obesity, increases the risk of diabetes and accelerates skin aging. Calm and thoughtful fitness regime becomes more important than outstanding accomplishments in the gym.
- Cannabidiol oil
The world will see more products containing CBD oil. Now that it has been legalized in 30 US states, food companies will start experimenting with CBD oil (also known as cannabidiol or hemp oil), which is a non-psychoactive marijuana plant extract. Despite it does not affect the mood directly, early studies show that the oil can reduce anxiety and stress. The medical properties of hemp oil were known many centuries ago, but only in 2019 it became one of the most fashionable ingredients. It is now added to dietary supplements, chewing gums, facial sprays, scrubs, shampoos and even mascara. Some believe that in 2019 cannabis will spark menu innovations, since rapidly changing regulations may bring legalization of cannabis-infused foods and beverages in the near future.
- A wider selection of alternative fats
As keto, paleo and gluten-free diets continue to gain popularity, the demand for healthy fats of non-animal and non-cereal origin continues to grow. According to Whole Foods, this means that alternative sources of fat will be in high demand in 2019, especially MCT oil (a type of coconut oil), coconut oil and ghee, a kind of refined oil that has been widely used in East Asian cooking and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
- Non-diary milk alternatives
Not only vegans choose non-dairy milk alternatives to add into coffee and homemade foods. The problem with common dairy products lies in the qualities of modern factory-produced milk, which became very different from its village counterpart and contains too much of antibiotics and growth hormones. Therefore, even more non-dairy milk alternatives are coming into fashion in 2019. While soy, rice, coconut, almond, cedar, and hemp milk were already available on the market for some time, oat milk mostly owes its popularity to the Swedish company Oatly, which was the first to bring an unusual drink to the food market. Oat milk contains less protein than cow and soy milk, but more than almond, coconut and rice milk alternatives. However, it has its own health benefits. For example, a high content of soluble fiber, beneficial for digestion, and less sugar, which can be useful for those suffering from diabetes and obesity.
- Vegetable based snacks
Eating more fruits and vegetables was for ages considered the essence of a heathy nutrition. However, now vegetable products are gaining even greater popularity, and in addition to their fresh consumption, fruit and vegetable ingredients become the basis for snacks and cooked meals. Beetroot cakes, vegetable chips and cauliflower pasta, as well as ice cream made from banana puree will become more popular in 2019.
- Omega-3 supplements
Research around the world shows that most people suffer from a lack of omega-3 fatty acids. Nevertheless, seafood and fish – the main source of omega-3 – are becoming increasingly popular not only in the restaurant menu, but also in the daily diet. Nutritionists say their patients often complain that the fish is difficult to prepare and is monotonous in taste (especially the most healthful species, salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel). Therefore, ready to eat meals with fish and seafood in small and convenient package is the health and food trend for 2019.