16 Health and Wellness Trends in 2014

Transparent cup of green tea with lime on wooden background

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It’s been a fascinating year for health and wellness, hasn’t it?  We found out that most of what we thought we knew about our digestion and immune system was incorrect. We are on the cusp of understanding just how those billions of little microbes control our lives. Green juice finally hit mainstream America. Everybody is suddenly going gluten free. 2013 was a fascinating year for health and this year, well, fasten your seatbelt folks; it’s going to be doozy!

New ways to get fit and healthy are always in the limelight. Take a look at our top 16 picks that we expect to go “viral” in the health world this year.

 

1.  Ancients are Cool

More than likely, before last year, you never even heard of quinoa, and suddenly, it’s in everything from desserts to main course restaurant meals. Quinoa isn’t new; it’s been around for thousands of years. Many of the ancient grains are becoming popular due to their high fiber content and numerous nutrients. Amaranth is another ancient grain, gluten free, and works well for those suffering from celiac disease. Freekeh, which is similar to wheat, is roasted when the plant is young, is another up and coming ancient grain. Finding ways to add these ancient whole grains into your diet can stabilize your blood sugar and help lower cholesterol.

 

2. Matcha Green Tea

You see this popping up everywhere. More and more products are adding matcha green tea powder since it was discovered that the antioxidants in matcha green tea are up to 100 times more bioavailable than other types of green tea. Research shows that the compounds in green tea may help boost metabolism.

 

3. Buffaloberries

Ok, I know what you might be thinking, but these are NOT the same thing as road apples! Although you may not have heard of these because they are not yet commercially harvested, that’s most likely about to change. Buffaloberries could be the next super fruit. According to study published in the Journal of Food Science, buffaloberries are loaded with lycopene, the cancer fighting, antioxidant substance everyone is looking for. These are currently grown on Native American Indian reservations and flourish in the toughest of conditions. The acidity of these berries seems like prime candidates for wine and it seems several wine producers have shown interest. While waiting for the wine to come through, look for these powerful little berries at your local health food store.

 

4. The Microbiome

Although we don’t have a full understanding of them yet, the billions of bacteria that live in our digestive track (collectively called microbiome) are the foundation to our health. We don’t yet know how they interact with our other bodily symptoms yet, or how they relate to our metabolism, but it does appear that in the very near future, you might be picking up a dietary “prescription” that is catered to your individual bacteria make-up. Until then, keep eating as close to nature as possible for the best help possible.

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roasted sweet corns on the bbq grill

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5. Is Corn the Next Gluten?

Seems as if it’s going that way. What used to be a staple of the American diet, right up there with potatoes, has suddenly fallen by the wayside. Corn has become a GMO product and many people are turning away from it. If only someone would wisen up and start growing all natural, non-GMO corn for those who want it.

 

6. Coconut Sugar

People have been on the lookout for an all-natural, healthier way to sweeten our coffee. Although agave was a hit for a while, after the truth got out about its high fructose content, it’s now on the naughty list. Now comes along coconut sugar. It’s low-glycemic, unrefined, and it tastes great. This might just be what we have been waiting for. Look for this to be the big news item in 2014. Find out other sugar substitutes.

 

7. Disruptors

Perhaps one of the biggest changes in the health world is the way people are becoming aware that the chemicals in everyday products are a serious detriment to our health. The overuse of plastic bottles, beauty products with almost no regulation, the influx of untested products from China, as well as toxic air fresheners and perfumed products, are perfect examples of how these products disrupt our production of hormones. This topic has come to the foreground recently. Expect to hear more about it in 2014.

 

8. Backlash against Hormonal Birth Control

What used to be the norm is now getting a lot of media attention, even in mainstream media. The side effects of hormonal birth control and the picture it paints isn’t a pretty one. Although everyone realizes there are good and bad to every drug, and birth control is no exception, but don’t be surprised when you hear young women talking about how they are looking for more natural methods of birth control.

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soy is not healthy

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9. Fake Meat and Eggs

Some big companies are getting attention for their production of fake meat and egg products. These are usually made from soy and they are making vegans super happy. There’s even a veggie “fast food” outlet called Veggie Grill, which is making great headway in serving up these types of substitutes. Although soy is mainly a GMO product; we haven’t heard anyone complaining about that yet. This is most likely going to be a big up and coming topic in 2014.

 

10. Lights and Health

With recent studies showing that different lighting conditions can cause serious problems with your mood, sleep, and even affect your health, look for this topic to be brought up again and again this year. Some studies have even suggested that artificial lighting messes with your natural body clock and might be the main force behind as of yet unexplained diseases. Look for new types of light bulbs that are designed to be better for our health. Read more how daylight savings time influenices us.

 

11. HPP Juice

Everybody’s jumping on the juicing wagon! Due to new technology, HPP (high pressure processing) juicing is now on a national scale. Using pressure instead of heat allows the extended shelf life of juice and allowing them to be shipped to chain stores. Although the thought of mass produced juicing may rub some purists the wrong way, you can bet your bottom dollar you are going to see a lot more of it on your supermarket shelves.

 

12. Moderation

Unfortunately, for some people, being healthy can become an obsession which is not really healthy at all. We all know someone like that; the sickest healthy person around. Were you aware there is even a name for this issue? Orthorexia. Real health is having a good balance at work and home. A very wise person once said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” That sounds like good advice and people are going to be saying exactly this in 2014.

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Group doing stretching exercises in back training class in a fit

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13. Genetic Testing

Technology can be such a great thing. Having knowledge of our genetic predisposition, such as stroke or heart disease, can be super beneficial. Look for companies like 23andMe to be big in 2014 as they will provide valuable insight into our lifestyle decisions. The current price is 99 bucks but look for even the price to go down as many, many people are going to want to take a look at their genetic makeup.

 

14. Wearables

You know what we’re talking about here. Those little gadgets worn on the wrist like Fitbit and Fuelband, which measure everything you are doing; from steps to heart rates. These are going to be the hot item in 2014. Don’t be surprised if even your teenage kids ask for one for Christmas! However, find out heath risks of Wi-Fi.

 

15. Meditation

More and more people, as well as companies like Google, are beginning to see the benefits of meditation. Meditation has been generally touted as a way to relive stress and sleep better, but there is a new wave of people who are looking to mediation for a different result. Meditation is now seen as a way to boost performance at work. What once use to be a new age thing is now being used on Wall Street. Look for more and more employers to give meditation time a try in the workplace in 2014.

 

16. Digital Detox

You can’t avoid it. Everywhere you go ( and you most likely have most of these items yourself) there are cell phones, smart phones, laptops, tablets, not to mention fax machine and old fashioned land line phones. Everyone seems to be connected at all times and people are expected to be available (online) 24/7. Thus the digital detox, as people begin to realize that constantly being “on” is not a good thing. Watch for more and more people disconnecting for days or entire weekends, and enjoying more down time. This is a hot trend for 2014 that I think almost everyone in America can agree with.

Sources:

Huffingtonpost.com