Every New Year, consumers make resolutions to eat better and improve their health. But, after the holidays are over, it’s soon realized how difficult this can be. That’s why the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA), Canada, consulted with industry experts to release the Top 5 natural health trends to look out for in 2017.
"Canadians are becoming more conscious of their healthy habits," says Michelle Book, in-house holistic nutritionist at CHFA. "There's a lot more focus now on a holistic lifestyle that begins with natural health. By identifying these latest products in natural health, we want to help Canadians navigate through their health food stores and get a jump-start on their healthy year."
Here's what should be on your radar in 2017.
Sprouting. Whether you purchase or germinate them yourself, people coast to coast will be adding sprouts into their diets in 2017. The nutritional benefits? Sprouted foods are low in calories and fats, but high in digestible protein, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. By allowing the seed or grain to sprout, the nutrients naturally present are released, and vitamins and minerals our bodies typically can't access from the dried seed are activated during sprouting, allowing for better absorption.
Plant-based alternatives. In 2016, there was a rise in excitement around vegan and raw menu options. With this has come a boom in plant-based alternatives to common dairy products, including yogurts, cheeses and beverages. While almond-, hemp-, soy- and coconut-based drinks remain popular, some exciting newcomers will become available such as alternatives made from flax seeds, hazelnuts and cashews. These options are super creamy yet low in calories. They're also a great source of calcium, vitamins A, D and E, and are naturally lactose-free, with virtually no saturated fat or cholesterol.
Digestive enzymes. What makes digestive enzymes trend-worthy is that each one has a specific purpose that aids in proper and efficient digestion. Digestive enzymes work to break down specific parts of foods, such as carbohydrates, protein and fats. This helps our bodies absorb the nutrients better and help to reduce bloating, indigestion and the likelihood of ulcers from acid buildup in the stomach. Because cooking and processing may destroy enzymes found naturally occurring in foods, supplementing can fill this gap.
Mushrooms. For a food that grows in the shadows, mushrooms are about to enjoy time in the spotlight. People will be paying attention to edible mushrooms, such as white and brown button mushrooms for their many health benefits. Both are a rich source of B-vitamins and minerals, including selenium and copper, and white button mushrooms can even help to reduce inflammation. In 2017, expect to hear more about mushroom supplements. Research suggests that maitake mushroom supplements make potent immune boosters due to their high concentration of the beneficial fiber called beta-glucan, while teas made from reishi mushrooms have also been hailed for their potent immune system effects.
Smart carbs. It's time to throw out the junk and choose smarter. There will be many new and exciting carb foods made from beans rich in fiber. Many of these new healthy alternatives can result in better digestion, brain function and more balanced energy. While refined carbohydrates like white breads and pastries stress your body's system, overwhelm the digestive tract and spike insulin levels, smart carb options allow the body time to break down and absorb them. Try swapping traditional pasta with bean pasta for a great nutritional boost, and ditching the chips for crunchy bean snacks instead.
"The New Year is an ideal time to start fresh and take steps to improve your wellbeing," says Helen Long, CHFA president. "That's why we encourage you to visit your local CHFA member health food store in 2017, try these trends first-hand and get on the right path when it comes to optimizing your health."