Health Trends We’ll See in 2018

healthy 2018

2017 is nearly over, and we’ve seen some surprising (and some not so surprising) health trends both appear and disappear throughout the course of the year. Coconut oil became bad, after the American Heart Association warned about its high levels of saturated fat and soy milk lost its luster in favor of other nut milks like cashew. What health trends can we expect to see in the coming year?

Bug Snacks

Eating bugs might seem like something out of an episode of Fear Factor, but entomorphagy is becoming more and more popular every year.  Insects are extremely high in protein, kinder to the environment than traditional meat farming and may eventually be an alternative to meat sources like beef, pork, and chicken in the future.

What do bugs taste like though? It depends on the breed but most of them taste nutty when roasted, and are often compared to the earthy flavor that you find in things like pine nuts and mushrooms.  While it might not ever replace the flavor of a medium rare steak, insects can be a great alternative for protein.

The Return of Peanut Butter

Peanut butter has gotten a bad rap over the past few years in favor of other nut butters, but the classic spread has started to make a comeback.  The biggest trick is to avoid peanut butters that have been augmented with artificial sweeteners like xylitol (side note — it’s not just bad for people, it’s also dangerous for dogs!)  Peanut butter flavored treats can be a great snack, but make sure they’re not too high in things like sugar or sodium.

Cord Blood 2.0

Harvesting and storing cord blood isn’t a new trend, but it is making a comeback. The US government created the National Cord Blood Registry that allowed parents to store their infant’s cord blood for free in a database that could be accessed by other doctors around the globe.  In the intervening years, the practice of cord blood banking has continued but it hasn’t been as heavily advertised or marketed.

This hasn’t stopped cord blood banks from continuing to improve on the technology.  Cord Blood 2.0 is a method of harvesting that, when paired with delayed cord clamping at birth, enables doctors to harvest a higher number of stem cells from each birth.

With the number of conditions that can be treated with cord blood stem cells rising every year, this new harvesting method could provide the stem cells necessary to complete these treatments.

Caffeine in Your Food

Caffeine has long been shown to provide a variety of brain health benefits, but until recently you were restricted to things like coffee and soda, which also bring with them calories and sweeteners that aren’t as good for you.   Matcha, the powdered green tea, has recently become a popular alternative to coffee and tea, but it isn’t the only option.  Caffeinated seltzer or water has become another popular alternative — and they have no or next to no calories.

Kitchen Science

You don’t normally think of your kitchen as a place where you plan science experiments (unless you have kids, and then all bets are off) — but new kitchen gadgets are starting to bring science into the kitchen nonetheless.

Imagine being able to use a spectrometer in the comfort of your own kitchen to determine whether food has gluten in it.  This countertop lab equipment could become an invaluable tool for individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance — while many foods are good about labeling their food with the gluten content, they don’t always list gluten content which can be uncomfortable or even dangerous.

Activated Charcoal

Activate charcoal has been a tool for detoxification for centuries — it bonds to poisons in the system and helps the body flush them out. In recent years, it has become a popular tool for people who are looking for a way to get things like preservatives and other artificial chemicals out of their body in the form of a detox.

If you choose to use activated charcoal, make sure you’re not taking it at the same time as any other medication — it can prevent your body from absorbing medication properly, so make sure you’re timing your activated charcoal at least an hour before or after your regular medication schedule.

Avocado Oil

Coconut oil is out but we still need something to cook our food in — and that is where avocado oil comes in.  Derived from your favorite toast topping, avocado oil is lower in saturated fat than coconut oil and provides some of the same health benefits.  If you don’t like avocados, this is a great way to take advantage of all the healthy fats that they offer without the taste or texture that tends to drive some people away.

Smart Sleep

We’ve got so many smart devices in our life that it seems a little strange to add one more, but smart pillows and mattresses are the newest innovation for health, utilizing networked technology to improve your sleep.  These mattresses track your sleep cycles, and some can even adjust to you as you sleep to help you get the best night’s sleep possible.

Whether or not these health trends take off remains to be seen but even if they don’t, one thing is clear — these health trends are as fickle as the people that try them.  It’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before trying any new health food trend to make sure it’s actually going to be the healthiest choice for you.

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