2016 was the year of turmeric and matcha lattes, fermented foods, collagen, charcoal skincare, boutique exercise classes, wellness holidays, blue algaes and mindfulness.
We're normally at the front end of these trends so let's take a look at our predictions for 2017.
Top 10 Health Food Trends For 2017
1. Magic Mushrooms
We're not talking about the mushrooms that your strange mate hunts on the weekend during four day expeditions to the local forest. Though that does sound like an adventure. We're talking about medicinal mushies. These guys are going to dominate 2017.
You're going to know all about ashwagandha, chaga, cordyceps and reishi. These adaptogens have long been used in Eastern Medicine to treat a range of diseases, including cancer. But they're also said to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. So they're tremendously versatile and nutritionally different from the algaes, turmerics and gingers that we've been populating recently.
How do you eat them? You can buy the dried variety from Asian grocery stores (or even Amazon) and use them in cooking. And you can buy them all in powdered form which means you'll see them in smoothie recipes, superfood blends and even protein powders.
Us Mario fans should have seen this coming 20 years ago. He's always ahead of the game. Though I'm not sure what mushies he's eating up here. It's certainly not reishi:
2. Revenge Of The Vegans
Fad diets come and go. Paleo has shown a lot of longevity and is only starting to slow now. The Whole30 was a monster in 2016, particularly in the States. And the ketogenic diet is poised to grow in popularity during 2017.
However, one diet, which is of course a lifestyle, is leaving them all for dust. Veganism. Look at this data from Google Trends:
So beware the vegan in 2017. And the vegetarian. As we become more and more educated on the conditions that our animal proteins are raised in, and the resources that they require, it's no wonder people are heading this way.
Side note - if you want to start a healthy food business / blog / restaurant with a devoted audience, absolutely, unquestionably, be part of this community. Just make sure you practice what you preach.
3. Further Fermentation
In the quest for probiotics and a healthy gut, fermented foods soared in 2016. Kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut were the most popular.
Kombucha is at an all time high right now but I think it's popularity is peaking. I know it contains probiotic properties and green tea antioxidants but it's cultured with sugar and doesn't have anywhere near the nutrients of cultured vegetables.
4. Black Garlic
Consistent with the point above is black garlic. Which is fermented through heat and humidity. Making it sweeter and darker. Black garlic maintains the anti-bacterial properties of the white stuff, but also brings a serious probiotic punch.
So pick up black garlic from your Asian grocer and use it in your cooking.
We've known about the benefits of meditation for awhile. But following through on that daily practice is another story. At least for me. It's been on my to-do list for about 18 months.
I'm betting that there's a huge population of procrastinators like me that finally make it a priority in 2017. And not only that, but I think it will drive deeper into our society. There'll be an increase in meditation classes, meditation app downloads and you'll even see progressive work places make this part of their wellness program.
6. Manuka Honey
We've told you before that the anti-fructose / anti-fruit movement is baloney. And so is brown rice syrup. Watch natural and delicious sweeteners become more popular in 2017. Raw honey, dates and maple syrup. They have sincere nutritious properties and require much smaller serving sizes.
The most powerful product in this range is manuka honey. Which the health food crowd knows, but that knowledge will filter out to the greater market and you'll see it featured a lot more in recipes.
7. Aerial Yoga
Yoga isn't slowing down any time soon. In any form. But one version that continues to grow is aerial yoga.
This full body workout is a mashup of yoga, aerial acrobatics, Pilates and calisthenics. You'll see more and more harnesses hanging from the fancy gym in your neighbourhood in 2017.
8. Cleaner Protein Powders
As we continue to read ingredient labels, we become less tolerant of stabilisers, sweeteners and preservatives. One category that has escaped serious attention is protein powders. Yes, the plant based market is growing exponentially but just because something is vegan, doesn't mean it's sincere. All of the most popular plant based protein powders contain cheeky ingredients. Ones that prolong the shelf life and make the flavour sweeter with cheap ingredients. Like vanillan. Synthetic vanilla.
Whilst I've previously written about how to make your own protein powder, I don't think that will be the solution. We're too lazy.
One solution that should grow in 2017 is single strain protein powders. Like 100% hemp. It will be the customer's responsibility to add flavour to their smoothie but there's no doubt that that option is healthier than letting a big business choose their favourite ingredients.
The health food market is always on the look out for superfoods we're not currently aware of. Enter moringa. This Ayurvedic Medicine has been historically used to treat over 300 diseases. It's obviously well known in India. Only now it's popularity is spreading west.
To understand it's properties, here's a nice little graphic of moringa going heads up with kale:
How will you eat it? Like most of these superfoods the common form is freeze dried powder. Which lends moringa to green smoothies.
10. Watermelon Seeds
Pepitas or pumpkin seeds have been my absolute favourite source of protein this year. Absolutely love them. And whilst they are common, I never thought to eat seeds from other fruits or vegetables. Apparently, you can eat watermelon seeds. And they're really good for you.
What do you think of our top 10? Have you got any big predictions we didn't include?
image credit: Dr Fred Bisci