Another year is coming to an end and we have learned so much from the worlds of nutrition, science, and wellness. With different findings and headways being made it only makes sense that 2019 would bring about new ways in which people can look at and be healthier. The year ahead is set to put people on a path that revolutionizes their wellbeing.

Gut health

One of the biggest shifts is going to come from the inside out, starting in the gut. The rise in awareness about gut health has lead to a boom in pro-gut fibres and probiotics being added to food and beverages, such as yoghurt, kombucha, and kefir. Many studies have come to the conclusion that the foundation of overall wellness begins in the gut. In the average lifetime, a person will eat around 31 751,5kgs of food. Considering the sheer amount of food consumed it is no wonder that people should begin to take their gut seriously as a balanced, positive environment in the body is key for vitality and healthy ageing. Along with eating foods and beverages specifically aligned with increasing gut health, people, in general, will continue to eat better with some moving over to vegetarian or vegan lifestyles.

As with such lifestyles, there has been an increasing awareness in being mindful about varying food intolerances. When people think about allergies they often point to nuts, fish and some fruits. In addition to this, there have been growing numbers in gluten and lactose intolerances and this number is expected to rise in the coming years. This phenomenon will force the food industry to move towards producing more alternatives to allergenic foods such as gluten-free bread and milk-free ice creams.

The ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet found popularity with the increasingly health-conscious who had to remove all carbohydrates, grains, and sugar replacing them with vegetables, animal fats, and meat. The keto-diet has proven to be beneficial for weightless, however, its focus on meat consumption has raised questions about it’s eco-friendliness considering the issues around the livestock industry and animal rights. That being said, many are still following the principles of the keto-diet without the animal products, substituting what would be the meat section with other high-protein foods similar to those in a vegetarian diet.

Mindfulness and meat consumption

The huge shift towards veganism was marked as one of the biggest trends in 2018 and is still set to carry on into 2019. The support for veganism has become a global phenomenon with the food industry, restaurants, and entire hotels and resorts adapting quickly to changing preferences. Although not all meat eaters will make the complete switch to leafy greens, there has been a concerted effort to reduce overall meat consumption with initiatives such as ‘Meatless Mondays’. There has been more information shared about alternatives for protein that provide the same amount of nutrients as meat and those producing them are showing more ways to create variety as well as tastier meat-alternative in meals.

Fasting for weight loss

Next to the ketogenic diet in popularity was Intermittent Fasting (IF) for those who were serious about watching their weight and maintaining their health. There are various forms of IF but all resulted in the practice of periods of abstinence from food in shorter cycles than your more traditional day or week-long fasts. The most popular form of IF is the 16:8 where one fasts for 16 hours and then has an eating window of 8 hours. In practice, this would mean eating from midday and stopping at 8 pm. Another is the 10:14 where one would eat between 10 am and midday, which is considerably more difficult.

What is nutrigenomics?

Nutrigenomics is an emerging discipline that focuses on the interaction between nutrition and the genes to personalise diets for individuals. The evidence of this fascinating space is promising but still requires more research. In principle, it makes sense that eating according to one’s genealogy would make the diet more effective as it would consider individual differences on a cellular level. With increasingly more diverse health preferences and needs, nutrigenomics is an area set to gain more attention. This will prove to be very interesting for those who, for example, need varying dietary support for hormonal imbalances, energy boosting, improved mental cognition and vitamin supplementation for better immune health.

Sound therapy

Singing bowl in sand SE

For many years, light therapy has been used in spas, beauty clinics, and medical institutions for rejuvenating facials to therapies for mental and emotional disorders. In recent years the sound of sound in therapy has come to the foreground with studies showing the positive effects sound has on health. It is no secret that music has an effect on moods, but more has been researched into the how the frequencies and vibrations can do more. It is believed that each individual has their own frequency that resonates with specific vibrations. If in a space where that specific vibration is being played it is said to help drive self-healing by putting the body back ‘in-tune’. This relieves headaches, lowers blood pressure, improves circulation, reduces stress. The instruments used during sound therapy sessions range from tuning forks to Tibetan singing bowls and gongs.

Sleep hygiene

The modern-day individual is finding it increasingly more difficult to get their eight hours of sleep. In an effort to find ways around fewer hours of sleep, people have had to focus on the quality of their sleep over the number of hours. The revolution of sleep hygiene is going to gain momentum in the coming years as people look to incorporate healthier practices and routines that encourage “clean” sleep. Some of the efforts people will and should be picking up on would be: to avoid digital devices and screens at least an hour before bed; not drinking coffee too late into the day; regulating the temperature in the bedroom; sleeping with a comfortable, supportive mattress and pillow; and, using technology to track your sleeping patterns to ensure you are creating better sleep habits.

Reconnecting with nature

One of the main pillars of holistic health is ensuring that one engages with the beautiful natural environment around them. For years environmentalists and many doctors have understood and advocated the need to get outside and absorb a little sunshine and Vitamin D. Having pushed for a massive digital detox in 2018, this next year will be focused on getting back to greener scenery and taking in some fresh air. The aim is to disconnect by leaving phones at home (or at least switching them off for extended periods) in order to reconnect.

Along with exercise, it is has become even more important to broaden the understanding of health beyond the physical to include the external world, in particular, nature. To truly enjoy the benefits of the great outdoors people need to make the time to unplug and rewire themselves, to slow down and tune in to the rhythms of nature – without distractions. Being in nature gives you the opportunity to reflect on the simpler things that bring meaning to life, the trees, flowers and animals – a chance to declutter and a reminder of how less is more.

Overall, 2019 will be another opportunity to fine-tune ourselves from the inside out and by looking at some of the trends ahead we can see that the main emphasis will be on getting back to basics and self-love for better health.