Natural Grocers, Denver, Colo., surveyed more than 70 of the company's nutrition experts to identify the expected Top 10 breakout trends in nutrition and health in 2019.
Shelby Miller, manager of nutrition, research and education and author of the report, pinpoints the most anticipated health, nutrition and food trends in the New Year.
- Mitochondrial optimization will keep healthy fats in focus. Five years ago, the buzzword was microbiome. This year it is mitochondria, which are human cells’ "power plants," converting oxygen and food into the energy needed to stay alive and thrive. When mitochondria is dysfunctional, energy reserve decreases, resulting in fatigue and brain fog. The best way to support healthy mitochondria function is to eat more healthy fat. One tool to support mitochondria is the ketogenic diet. In 2019, expect to hear more about mitochondrial health and look to see brands embracing more high-fat-focused and ketogenic products to support optimal mitochondrial function.
- Collagen and bone broth are easier than ever. Collagen has gained mainstream interest over the past year as consumers add it to their smoothies, matchas and lattes. In 2019, as more collagen and bone broth products enter the market, so will convenient opportunities for consumers to take collagen on a daily basis. Supplement companies will continue to offer an array of collagen products, including collagen powders, gummies and drinks; marine collagen powders; and even vegan-friendly collagen precursors. Bone broth will continue its expansion into the mainstream as well.
- Sorry sugar, we're breaking up with you. In 2019, consumers will continue to become aware of how much sugar is added to almost everything, including flavored yogurts, coffee creamers, fruit juice, bacon and more. This year, learn how to break up with sugar.
- The shroom boom. In the last several years, the amount of scientific research published on mushrooms has exploded. Turns out, mushrooms hold the power to support the immune system, blood sugar balance, brain health, liver health, respiratory health, hormone balance and energy levels. In response to the growing mountain of research promoting the health benefits of mushrooms, the supplement, grocery and even body care industries are introducing more ways to try out these fungal superheroes. The benefits of mushrooms are influencing new grocery products as well, such as broths.
- Nootropics + neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the principle to change the structure and function of brains throughout our lives, and that thoughts, emotions and behavior are the primary means of doing that. Supplements help too. However, the discovery of neuroplasticity has led to the explosion of natural nootropics, which are substances to improve mental performance in healthy people and boost memory, focus, creativity, intelligence and motivation. Nootropics may also reduce age-related declines in brain function.
- Promoting the body's ability to heal itself. Look for companies to meet the demands of consumers who want to swap their use of over-the-counter (OTC) meds and prescription drugs for natural remedies. Instead of opening the medicine cabinet, people will use a combination of lifestyle choices, herbal remedies and vitamin supplementation to support the body in times of discomfort. Immune support remedies like mushrooms, elderberry, manuka honey throat sprays and natural zinc lozenges will dominate. Additionally, look for more alternatives to common OTC remedies and prescription drugs for digestive discomfort and general pain management. 2019 will be the year of supporting the structure and function of the body in a multitude of ways with beneficial natural remedies.
- Green beauty boom. Consumers are becoming more aware about the slew of chemicals that come from body care products, including ubiquitous endocrine disruptors, and are looking for products with ingredient lists that don't require a chemistry degree to understand.
- Ingredient lists over nutrition facts. A new paradigm is bound to free the food and beverage industry from some of the struggles formed around food, nutrition and everyday health. Nutrition labels will be demoted and instead, consumers will read and make food choices based on ingredient labels. The days of counting every single calorie are nearing an end. Rather than glorifying macronutrient logs and adhering to extremely strict dietary guidelines, 2019 will foster a friendlier relationship with food that focuses on simple, clean ingredients in products made with whole, real foods.
- Lutein reigns supreme over blue light.
Blue light—from smartphones, tablets, computers, TVs and even light bulbs—has become ever-present. And, research shows that blue light exposure can damage the retina of the eye and can lead to age-related macular degeneration. In 2019, lutein will solidify its role as protector of the eyes and the brain.
- Love your liver. While it shouldn't be "trendy" to have fatty liver disease, unfortunately the disease is trending. In 2018, research showed that Millennials are getting fatty liver disease faster than any other age group. That’s why loving your liver will be a trend in 2019. Consumers will clean up their diets, ditching culprits like high-fructose corn syrup and vegetable oils and will embrace "mocktails" to reduce alcohol consumption.
Bonus trend—Eating sustainably-raised meat and dairy will help combat climate change. Evidence is mounting that well-managed, pasture-based dairy and 100% grass-fed cows can prevent and potentially reverse climate change. The natural grazing behaviors of ruminants contribute to promoting healthy soil that has the ability to sequester large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Healthy soil also holds more moisture, which further contributes to the health of the ecosystems in which ruminants graze. In 2019, consumers will hear and learn more about managed grazing and how it contributes to rebuilding healthy soil that can sequester carbon dioxide, helping to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere, becoming a vital tool in our fight against global climate change.