The New Year has arrived and we want to help you stay ahead of the health curve with the latest natural health trends. We spoke to industry insiders across the country to find out what Canadians should be looking for in health food stores in 2016. Here are the top five trends that have natural health experts buzzing.
In 2016, everyone will be looking at the nutritional and environmental benefits of sea greens. Some experts are even going as far as calling kelp the new kale. With so many types of seaweed available, from kelp, to Kombu, to nori, the options for experimenting are endless. Other gifts from the sea include sea asparagus, and brown, red and green algae.
So what makes sea greens so trendy? Sea vegetables are virtually fat-free, low in calories but rich in minerals, vitamins, chlorophyll, enzymes and trace minerals, nutritional benefits that land vegetables lack due to soil demineralization.
Sea greens are also packed with flavour. They can add a natural seasoning to foods, thanks to their balanced combination of sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and other trace minerals naturally found in the ocean.
Furthermore, sea greens are rich in iodine, which contributes to our thyroid health by creating thyroid hormones. This helps to regulate our metabolism and weight, and enhance our growth, development and energy.
Not only do sea greens help our bodies, but they’re also incredibly eco-friendly. Sea greens can be grown sustainably, and when farmed correctly, have minimal impact on the environment. When choosing a sea green product, we encourage you to look for those that have been grown sustainably.
Supplementing with vitamin C and D has long been considered an easy way to add some sunshine to your health, especially during our long Canadian winters. This year, we encourage you to discover new and interesting applications and sources for these old favourites. Check out our three favourite findings below.
Everyone loves to indulge, especially during the holidays and winter season. But what if you could satisfy those sweet and salty cravings with food that also includes a nutritional kick? In 2016, these healthy and indulgent options are almost limitless! Be on the lookout for all kinds of traditional treats that include a little something extra to enhance your health. Below are some trendy ideas to satisfy your sweet tooth and get that crunch we all crave.
Dehydrated or baked kelp chips boast a whole serving of veggies and iodine, and are a much healthier alternative to potato chips. They still satisfy that salty craving, without the empty calories. You can also find chips made from beans, root veggies and even lentils or coconut. We love to make kale chips at home too.
Cocoa boasts blood pressure-lowering effects and recent research is pointing to additional heart-healthy benefits.
There still seems to be some confusion about the benefits of chocolate. Is milk-chocolate good for you? (No). Does chocolate have a beneficial “dose”? (Yes). Is there actually high quality research to support it? (Yes!).
Cocoa polyphenols, the anti-oxidants in cocoa, can be found in dark chocolate or as a supplement. Unfortunately, milk- and white-chocolate don’t have enough of these beneficial phytonutrients to provide health benefits.
A large and growing body of research has found that improved blood-flow can be accomplished by consuming 25 – 40 g of dark chocolate, containing at least 85% cocoa (around 200 calories of dark chocolate).
This year, there are all sorts of new ways to treat yourself with a health kick. In fact, one of the exciting new products out there merges last year’s superstar, coconut, with chocolate. Can it get any better?
Hemp is one of the most versatile natural products on Earth. The seed is super nutritious, but the fibre from the stalk and leaves are also incredibly good for you.
Hemp is an excellent source of protein and a great vegan alternative for those allergic to nuts. This superfood has an ideal balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids and is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). It’s also rich in vitamin E and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc.
Canadians can find hemp as a raw seed, grounded into flour, sprouted, in milk or juice form, as a protein or fibre supplement, and in other products, including clothing and paper! Best of all, Canada has a thriving hemp industry, meaning many products available at your local store are locally grown and made.
Protein was all the rage last year. In 2016, all the experts are buzzing about the next big health trend: fibre! Fibre has many health benefits, reaching far beyond its most common use in keeping our digestive tracts moving smoothly. We already know that fibre is good for intestinal health, but did you know that an increase in fibre intake can help maintain weight better than a restrictive diet plan?
Surprisingly, most people don’t even get half of the daily recommended fibre amounts: 25 grams per day for adult women and 38 grams per day for adult men.
Fibre also boasts heart-health benefits and has been shown to lower cholesterol. It works by absorbing water in the gut, forming a gel-like substance that can bind to cholesterol and bile acids, and eliminate them from the body.
A recent scientific meta-analysis also found that fibre intake is associated with a reduced risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohns Disease. Fibre keeps your gut happy by feeding your good gut bacteria. These probiotics impact our immunity, digestive health and even mood. A diverse diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains provides healthy nutrients, while keeping our good gut bugs healthy and happy with plenty of fibre.
This year’s natural health trends are a blend of old and new, local and imported. The best natural health products (NHPs) and health foods can be found at your local CHFA member natural health retailer. Remember to consult your health care practitioner before making any changes to your health regime. Click here to find a CHFA Member retailer near you.