When it comes to our health, we'll try anything once and do whatever it takes to enhance and improve it. We'll swap our coffee for energy-boosting minerals, add chlorella to our smoothies, and rearrange our homes like an energy healer all in the name of an augmented well-being. And when the sparkly new wellness trends roll in on the cusp of another year, we can't help but swill the latest elixir and swallow the "in" pill that promises to make us feel more youthful, both inside and out.
Now that we know what health and wellness trends are in and out for 2016, we wanted to see what's next. To find out, we quizzed Livestrong.com expert Jess Barron to reveal the top 2017 predictions in health and wellness with the Google trends data to back it up. Are you ready to swap your much-loved kombucha for kava?
The Soup Cleanse
Since the juicing trend is officially on its way out, Barron says expect the soup cleanse to take its place—after all, it is the delicious meal you can make today and eat all week. "Souping is the next juicing, but it's way better and healthier," she said. "I don't know about you, but I always feel cold when I'm on a juice cleanse. The good news is that soup cleanses help to avoid that constant freezing cold feeling." This makes it perfect for January when the cold weather hits and the idea of cold-pressed juice has officially lost its appeal.
"While it's similar to juicing (in that it promises to give your digestive system a break), souping is less likely to induce headaches, energy crashes, and that weight-gain rebound juice cleanses are known for," said Livestrong writer and chef Ariane Resnick. "Where juicing removes your food supply completely—leaving you with only the nutrient-laden water pressed out of whole-produce items—souping allows you to consume food, and plenty of it. This means you can spend a few days or a week consuming healthy, whole-food soup meals without feeling deprived."
If you use bone broth as the soup base, Resnick says you'll receive even more benefits, such as reduced inflammation, improved digestion, joint repair, and more.
By now, we're all familiar with the term superfood. From kale to bone broth, it's safe to say we've all tried at least one of them in 2016. But Barron said Livestrong readers don't love the word superfood and that we should expect it to be replaced with the term "longevity food" instead. Below are a few you can expect to see in your 2017 diet.
In the year 2016, it was all about coconut oil, and it's been steadily growing in popularity. But while it is well-known for its many health benefits, those promises haven't been without some skepticism. As those doubts continue to surface, we're seeing avocado oil spike. According to Google trends, we expect to see a surge in interest come January 2017. "In October, Livestrong had the opportunity to interview Jillian Michaels at the BOLD Conference in Hollywood, and she told us, 'Avocado oil is the new coconut oil,'" said Barron. "Avocado oil has many health benefits including lowering blood pressure and helping relieve arthritis and psoriasis."
The health benefits of garlic are well-established, and regardless of the medicinal qualities, it really packs a punch in our favorite recipes. According to Livestrong writer Katie Farmand, black garlic has a less pungent flavor and nearly twice the antioxidants of fresh garlic. "It's long been valued in Asia, but only made its debut in Western markets in the past several years," she penned. "The powerful antioxidants in black garlic protect your cells from disease and can even help you stay younger longer."
The gentle, sweet flavor makes it a versatile superfood too. "Add it to any recipe in which you'd use fresh garlic, from pasta dishes to soups and stews," she wrote. "The best part? No garlic breath." In September 2016, Frito-Lay launched Black Garlic Doritos in Japan and searches for black garlic spiked incredibly high, although it was already building in popularity. So just what is black garlic anyway? According to Geekologie, it's made by slowly heating regular garlic cloves over several weeks until they caramelize." Sounds delicious.
Its bright pink exterior is hard to ignore when you see it in the market or grocery store aisle, but it turns out dragon fruit is more than just a pretty face. It's an anti-aging fruit with high levels of vitamin C and carotene. Barron said it has been steadily growing in interest on Google Trends over the past several years and looks set to increase in 2017, thanks in part to the delicious dragon fruit smoothie bowls we've been seeing all over social media (just like this one which had 178,000 views on Facebook).
If you've dabbled with maca powder before, or even if you're already familiar, expect to see it everywhere in 2017. Made from a Peruvian root vegetable, it's believed to promote energy, stamina, fertility, and sex drive. "According to the New York University Langone Medical Center, most of the research on maca has been conducted on animals, but there have been a couple of human trials that yielded interesting findings," noted Barron. "One study showed increased sex drive (not function) in males. Another study showed that it can increase sperm count however this study did not have a control group, thus making the results meaningless in the scientific community. As a rich source of B vitamins; vitamins C, D and E; iron; copper; and potassium, maca powder unarguably provides a simple way to increase your micronutrient intake."
To introduce it to your diet, simply add the powder to baked goods, smoothies, yogurt, tea, and cereals. Barron said maca is growing in popularity, and due to its fertility and sex drive tie-in, she predicts it will spike in February 2017.
Also known as "nooch," this longevity food is actually deactivated yeast. Unlike its cousin, it won’t rise during baking, but Barron said it's a rich source of vitamin B12, a nutrient that boosts your energy, protects your brain, and promotes healthy skin, hair, and nails. "It's also a complete protein (a protein source like meat, eggs, and milk that contains all nine essential amino acids), so it's a great addition to vegetarian and vegan diets," she noted. Nutritional yeast is growing in popularity, and Barron says you can expect to see it spike up in January 2017. "Its cheesy, nutty flavor makes it a great healthy topping for salads or salty snacks like popcorn," she said.
Hands up if you hopped on the chlorella bandwagon with Miranda Kerr and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. When it comes to supplements, this little green pill was one of many we popped in 2016. All in the name of health and happiness, right? Well, if, like us, you're always on the hunt for the next big vitamin to charge your inner batteries, Livestrong scribe Yael Grauer says we'll all be adding ashwagandha to our Amazon Prime list in 2017.
"Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which means it helps you adapt to stressors," said Grauer. "Although there is limited research on this claim, it is also thought to help improve sleep quality." The only time you should avoid ashwagandha is if you’re pregnant or are taking immunosuppressants, sedatives, or thyroid hormone medication.
With the rise in beauty elixirs, we've all been drinking collagen in a bid to improve our youthful glow. But if you're not into the idea of consuming any liquid that's been manufactured in a lab, perhaps the new watermelon water trend will be right up your health alley. When Barron interviewed Jillian Michaels at the BOLD Conference in Hollywood, she said, "Watermelon water is the new coconut water." You can even find it in the grocery store now thanks to brands like WTRMLN WTR. So what is it exactly? Well, unlike its title, watermelon water is really just cold-pressed watermelon.
So what are the benefits to juicing and drinking watermelon? "Watermelon is a powerful source of vitamin C plus flavonoids such as lutein, lycopene, and beta-carotene," said Barron. "These antioxidants protect the body against free radicals, which can cause inflammation, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, strokes, and heart attacks. Watermelon can also lessen skin damage caused by the sun." According to Google trends, watermelon water will steadily rise in popularity with a spike around June next year.
You've heard about and probably consumed the turmeric latte trend, but get ready for the mushroom version and its more potent elixir sister. This trend makes a lot of sense when you consider this fungi's many health benefits. According to Organic Authority, mushrooms possess anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, boost the immune system, provide protein, and contain beneficial antioxidants. They are also considered to be adaptogens, or substances that help the body adapt to stress and hormone fluctuation. "Lifehouse Tonics in L.A. has a Shroom Shake on its menu that contains several types of mushrooms including cordyceps, maitake, reishi, and shiitake," explains Barron.
But if the idea of a mushroom replacing your morning coffee makes your taste buds turn off, then Barron said turmeric lattes will continue to grow as a trend in 2017. "Based on Google Trends, turmeric lattes are spiking in late 2016 and growing in popularity into 2017," she said. If you're keen to try, head into Café Gratitude in Venice for their golden turmeric latte, which contains turmeric, almond milk, raw honey, and essential oil of black pepper. G&B Coffee in Downtown L.A. and Go Get Em Tiger in Larchmont serve a delicious turmeric, ginger, and almond macadamia milk latte. The Butcher’s Daughter in Venice serves a drink called Golden State made with turmeric, maple, black pepper extract, and steamed almond milk.
So why drink it? "Turmeric may limit the growth of stem cells, the cells that fuel cancer growth," explains Barron. "It also benefits digestion and boosts immunity."
From an unknown Chinese tradition to the supermarket aisle, kombucha officially went mainstream in 2016. But according to Barron, the next little-known ancient remedy that's about to sit alongside it in your fridge is kava. This buzzy drink is a super-chill alternative to alcohol, and interest in the beverage is on the rise worldwide. "Made from grinding the roots of the kava plant, kava has been a staple of South Pacific cultures for thousands of years," said Barron. "But thanks to a marketing makeover, kava is now being served as a healthy alternative to alcohol with kava bars opening throughout the U.S."
If you're keen to try it out, head into Kavasutra in Florida, New York, and Colorado; MeloMelo Kava Bar in Berkeley; Rooted Kava Bar in San Diego; and Mystic Water Kava Bar in Huntington Beach, California. "Enthusiasts claim it produces a more euphoric and relaxing effect than alcohol," said chef Ariane Resnick.
Vegan Ice Cream
It seemed like everyone started ditching dairy in 2016 and asking themselves the question, Is milk bad for you? Nut cheese replaced our favorite indulgence, and Barron said real dairy ice cream is taking a hit as well. Vegan ice cream is rising in popularity, thanks for delicious ice creameries like Kippy’s in Venice Beach, L.A., which specializes in raw, organic non-dairy coconut-based ice cream sweetened with raw honey. If you're not into coconut, Livestrong has another secret ingredient: banana. Just throw them in the blender or your Champion cold press and voilà—instant, creamy, delicious ice cream. Vegan ice cream is now widely available at most supermarkets with brands like So Delicious making cashew milk frozen desserts.
When MyDomaine home décor editor Gabrielle Savoie first spotted sage bundles in Jenni Kayne's chic Southampton, New York, store, it immediately piqued her interest. "Maybe it was when my friend—who works for a renowned high-end interior designer—told me they sage smudged their clients’ homes after each install," she wrote. "Or maybe it was the time I read about it in Vogue. If all these hip and fabulous people were doing it, why wasn’t I in with the It crowd?" And Savoie's not alone. If the Google Trend data is anything to go by, sage smudging is on the up, along with palo santo.
Barron tells us this idea of saging and cleansing our space is closely linked to the KonMari method that exploded in popularity this year. "We are still focused on reducing the physical stuff in our space by minimizing and clearing our clutter," she said. This obsession spiked after Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up became a New York Times best seller. This was followed closely by Kondo's second book, Spark Joy, which became an organizational manifesto. "Going minimalist and getting rid of items and clothing that don’t 'bring you joy' is a great way to reinvigorate and bring energy to your home and life," said Barron.
With celebrities such as Katy Perry touting the benefits of transcendental meditation as a "cure for stress," you can be sure that this ancient practice is officially mainstream. But the health gains of just 10 minutes of meditation a day can be experienced both mentally and physically, and there's the research to prove it. But while last year was about getting people to start, 2017 is taking them into more advanced forms of the ritual. Barron tells us dream meditation, lucid dreaming, and "conscious dreaming" are going to be big next year. "The Dream Reality Cinema in Beverly Hills has launched the first in a series of four 360-degree sensory cinematic experiences designed to teach individuals how to 'dream consciously,'" she said.
So what is it? "Dream meditation is like visualization practice on steroids," said Barron. "It's been praised for the ability to improve muscle memory, unlock creativity, normalize sleep disorders, reduce stress, and conquer fears and emotional traumas. I recently tried it, and it's incredibly relaxing and inspiring."
And how does it work? Barron explains: "For 45 minutes, you recline in a zero gravity chair as you view a film that will essentially teach their brain to meditate while asleep. In this state of unrestricted, free-fantasy dreaming, your mind can learn from and gain access to all that is available in the subconscious mind. Not to mention, it is the ultimate stress reliever after a long day. I enjoyed it, and I'll be going back to try it again."
With our preoccupation in all things health and wellness, green smoothies are up and drinking is down. In fact, juice crawls are replacing bar crawls, and "sober is the new drunk" for the millennial generation. According to a Guardian report, "Booze-free activities have popped up in major U.S. cities to serve a growing number of young people who are ditching the hooch."
Jillian Michaels told Barron at the BOLD Conference in Hollywood she recommends people limit alcohol to one night a week, two drinks max. "I know this is challenging for most, but alcohol is linked to breast and ovarian cancer, weight gain, and more." she said.
Alcohol also poses problems for people who want to stay at a healthy weight. "Many cocktails are loaded with added sugar and other unhealthy ingredients," explains Barron. "To help our readers avoid the most high-sugar bevvies at the bar, we published a list of the 13 worst alcoholic drinks, and it was shared over 5000 times." Barron has seen this trend of people going sober rise over the past several years, with more people taking on the Drynuary challenge of going sober for the entire month of January.
"Interest in Drynuary builds in late December and continues to increase each year," said Barron. "It spiked throughout January and into February and even March. In January next year, we expect to see Drynuary trend again. We have a support forum on Livestrong for people who are going sober and want motivation and a chance to connect with likeminded people."