26 New Health Trends to Know About

We all know the benefits of coconut and turmeric. But how about cryotherapy and tiger nuts? Here are the new health trends you need to know about in 2016


Yoga teacher Jessamyn Stanley. Picture / Instagram.

Adaptogens: We’ve all heard of superfoods, now meet the latest buzz — superherbs. Adaptogens, including ginseng and ashwaganda, are herbs that have the ability to improve your body’s reaction to stress. Their meteoric rise in popularity amongst the modern wellness world no doubt thanks in part to the profile garnered by Goop and Moon Juice.

Balance: Because while we firmly believe that life should mainly involve eating a healthy diet, doing regular exercise and looking after yourself, sometimes in order to achieve a life of pure balance you need to eat fish and chips on the beach while enjoying a glass of rose.

Cryotherapy: The hottest new wellbeing trend overseas is very cool indeed. Cyrotherapy chambers are filled with liquid nitrogen to reach a chilly minus 120 degrees celsius. Plunging yourself into it is said to be anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and to decrease injury recovery time. The fact a worker in NY died after popping in for one after hours hasn’t dampened demand throughout the United States.

Digital Detox: Switch off your phone, step away from email and Instagram. Undergoing a regular digital detox is just as important as any juice cleanse you may be contemplating.

E3 Live: A living algae, wild-harvested from Klamath Lake in Oregon, E3 Live is sold frozen, thus retaining its “living” properties (small amounts are defrosted and consumed straight away). Yes, it may taste like sludge from the lake floor but its wellbeing properties ensure it’s seen on the menu in all the best juice bars worldwide. (Not yet available to buy in New Zealand.)

Forest bathing: The Japanese art of forest bathing (walking in the forest, or shinrin-yoku as it translates to in its country of origin) is finding increasing favour in the west as a way to alleviate stress and build immune function. It doesn’t take a doctorate degree to work out that immersing yourself in nature is good for the soul. So head for the Waitakeres or any of the beautiful forests in New Zealand.

Gut microbiome: The bacteria living in your gut, known collectively as microbiome, has been the subject of groundbreaking and fascinating research over the past few years. We all know that to improve gut health and therefore overall immunity (and, research is indicating, to some degree mental health), we can eat fermented foods, fibrous foods and take probiotics. And for those with compromised microbiome wishing to claw their good bacteria back? Faecal transplants, where you are injected with stools containing glowing microbiome, are fast becoming a treatment option with DIY kits available for purchase in some countries.

Himalayan pink salt: Originating in the Himalayan mountains, pink salt contains 84 minerals and trace elements that your body will love you for. Yes, as a salt it also contains sodium, but assuming you’re eating real (unprocessed) foods your salt intake will be low to begin with; feel free to add a pinch to cooking liquid, to flavour your meals or as a dash in smoothies, oats or baking. You may also bathe in it, use it as a skin exfoliant, and, in certain health spas around the world, lay on it inside salt saunas.

Infrared saunas: When Gwyneth Paltrow had the flu last year she turned to her trusty infrared sauna to kick it in the butt (documenting the whole thing on social media). Infrared saunas are said to heat directly to the core, improving cell rejuvenation and therefore the immune system.

Jessamyn Stanley: In a world seemingly dominated by hot bods in bikinis pulling shapes in far flung places, yoga teacher Jessamyn Stanley’s Instagram account is an inspiring and empowering look into how accessible this ancient art is for all body shapes and types. Writing for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter last month she wrote: “The only widely recognised ‘yoga body’ is that of a thin, affluent, white woman. And who can blame people for thinking that? This is the only type of person yoga companies, studios, and sometimes even teachers put any active effort into attracting to the practice. This is a shame, because the eight-limbed path of yoga knows no size; it is completely unrelated to the lame beauty ideals that are heralded by the media and society at large.”

Kawakawa: One of the most important herbs in Maori medicine, the kawakawa leaf has been known to treat a number of ailments from digestion and bloating issues through to heart health. To make kawakawa tea simply steep leaves in boiling water. Hint: The saying goes, when picking leaves choose those which are most caterpillar eaten, as caterpillars have a radar for the most potent ones. Try: Ahi Ka Tonics

Lypo Spheric Vitamin C: The unique “nano sphere” delivery system of these slimy little sachets means the goodness isn’t degraded by things like digestive juices and enzymes, resulting in greater absorption than most vitamin C supplements.

Matcha. Picture / Wikimedia Commons.

Matcha: One of the biggest food trends of 2016 for a reason: This type of green tea is delicious, bursting with antioxidants and contains the energy hit of coffee without the unhealthy side effects.

Nettle: Wild nettles are excellent green smoothie fodder, the young leaves are also delicious steamed and in soups. Nutritionist and naturopath Nellie Pigot advises that nettles are particularly rich in the blood building nutrient iron as well as being a concentrated source of chlorophyll. Added bonus: they are also known to be effective in thickening head hair and preventing hair loss.

Oils: Cleansing oils for the face are one of the strongest natural beauty trends this year (try local favourites Martina Organics and Maryse Beauty). Speaking of oils, organic essential oils are currently enjoying huge favour as companies are getting smarter about extraction methods and astonishingly good products are coming through with healing properties that take them beyond the ceramic burner.

Pranayama: Meaning “control of breath” there are many different styles of pranayama. Some build energy while others bring it down. Others are said to be able to ‘stoke your inner fire’ thereby burning calories, while others are believed to be cleansing, aiding in the release of toxins.

Queenstown: For those serious about wellbeing in NZ, Queenstown is the place to be. Home to the glorious Aro Ha retreat (Conde Naste Traveller gold award winner) and the recently opened Sherwood, which is finding favour with its abundant vegetable gardens and farm-to-table food philosophy.

Reishi: Reishi lattes and other elixirs boosting the immune-enhancing properties of this magic mushroom are fast becoming the new green smoothies in NY, London and other cold climates. Reishi has been shown to have such a powerful effect on the immune system that oncologists in Japan have been known to prescribe it alongside chemotherapy.

Shilajit: Resin derived from the rocks of the Himalayas, shilajit is composed of organic plant material and is extremely high in fulvic acid. Yes, the resin has been decomposing on the mountains for many years and, yes, it tastes like mountain goats may have also added to the composition. But who said wellbeing was easy? In Auckland, Little Bird has mastered the art of tasty shilajit by adding it to their “magic chocolate milk”.

Tiger Nuts: A tuber rather than a nut, tiger nuts never-the-less offer many of the same properties — the ability to make milk and flour and to form a gluten-free snack — without being potentially allergenic.

Ubiquinol: A major antioxidant, ubiquinol generates energy from every cell in the body, stimulates immunity, increases circulation and has anti-aging effects. Dr Libby, in her book Exhausted to Energised, recommends a ubiquinol/CoQ10 supplement as one of the key things you can do to start improving your energy.

Veganism: As the environmental debate heats up veganism is arguably one of the best ways people can contribute to sustainability. Plus, of course, Beyonce. Read: Should I Go Vegan?

Withania: One of the most important of all the adaptogens (see ‘A’) withania is also known as ashwaganda and Indian ginseng. It’s known to increase energy, promote a positive response to stress and help alleviate anxiety. Available in supplement, liquid or powdered form withania is found on many a smoothie and juice bar menu.

Xylitol: A sugar substitute derived from birch bark, xylitol is anti-inflammatory, low GI and less controversial than many other sweet alternatives.

Yoga: The biggest trend in yoga this year will be a return to the understanding that it’s not just exercise. Rather, it’s the art of becoming connected to your body and your thought process. A practice that can be undertaken both on the mat and out in the world.

Zizyphus: For those with mild anxiety and nervous tension resulting in insomnia, Nellie Pigot advises that the zizyphus plant works by having a mild sedative effect, while at the same time promoting healthy liver function.

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New Zealand Herald

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