Every New Year’s Day brings about plans for significant changes to a person’s lifestyle – new wardrobe, new routine, new exercise habits. But one of the most common promises made is to start “eating right”. People want to switch up their diet for everything from health to environmental reasons. And each year seems to bring new trends that shape the way people think about health and nutrition.
Nutritional considerations don’t only comprise what people are eating to promote necessary health and growth but also where the food comes from and how it was made.
Is it processed? Is it organic? Was it ethically sourced? These questions around diets develop and expand as the knowledge about food and health grows. And how people answer them shape the trends for the new year.
Here are some of the nutrition trends Brad Schaeffer of Medcomp Sciences expects to have an influence in 2022.
Popularity in Immune-Boosting Foods
A healthy immune system is built by regularly eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A, C, D, and E. Ingesting a balance of these nutrients and vitamins aids in immune system health, especially in your gut. Foods rich in these necessary nutrients include spinach, carrots, strawberries, etc.
Immune-boosting products are on the rise in 2022, shaping out to be an early nutritional trend. These items are marketable to both health-conscious individuals and those concerned about the long-term effects of the pandemic. Of course, eating these foods alone is not enough to cultivate a healthy immune system. Sleep, exercise, and limiting stress are necessary to activate these beneficial properties to boost your immune system.
Finding immunity-boosting properties naturally is more appealing than recipes concocted in a lab with a list of artificial ingredients on the label. Consumption of fruits and vegetables, vitamins, and spices has increased as immunity lingers at the forefront of the minds of individuals.
Focus on Foods to Promote Gut Health
Prebiotics and probiotic foods have gained the attention of grocers with the promise of aiding in digestion and digestive tract health. Cutting out foods high in sugar and fat will increase gut health because you’re no longer feeding the “bad” bacteria in your stomach.
Prebiotics stimulate the growth of preexisting bacteria in the digestive tract with plant fibers found in foods like bananas or beans. Probiotics are the living strains of the “good” bacteria found in your stomach, prominent in foods like kombucha and kefir.
With a substantial number of adults reporting a diagnosis of a gastrointestinal disorder, many Americans are looking for dietary solutions to minimize symptoms of an unhealthy gut. Prebiotics and probiotics are not new to the world of nutrition, but their benefits for gut health are emphasized every year to regulate stomach functions.
Upcycled or Sustainable Ingredients
Upcycling food is a relatively new concept defined by ReFed, The Natural Resources Defense Council, Harvard Law School, and others in 2020 to label the process for policy and research. Upcycled foods include ingredients that would otherwise become waste, adding to overproduction and environmental harm.
Upcycling food aims to prevent unnecessary food loss by repurposing good food parts and selling fruits and vegetables that don’t meet supermarket aesthetic standards. Upcycling parts of food that sellers would otherwise trash allows them to be used as additional ingredients to help create a final product.
Upcycling also gives individuals more transparency about where their food comes from and knowing they are partaking in a more sustainable process to nourish their bodies and protect the planet.
Continued Allergy-Friendly Alternatives
The ingredients to make the best dairy-free alternative milk are still being tested as barley and other grains take the spotlight for the next plant-based milk. Barley has become the next prominent contender because it is the fourth most abundant grain globally and requires less water to grow than other grains.
Barley is considered a superfood, loaded with protein, fat, and other vitamins as part of the everyday balanced diet. The milk-alternative market has only continued to grow, while the dairy industry has faced a steady decline. As more options become available, more individuals see less reason to consume the one-time American staple.
Are You Looking Forward to the 2022 Nutritional Trends?
These upcoming nutritional trends for the new year are sure to influence a few dinner tables across the country – perhaps even supermarkets, too. As people take a more health-conscious and environmental approach to food consumption, the marketplace will drift in that direction as well.
Finding ways to boost the immune system, promote gut health, upcycle food products, and continue the search for the best allergy-friendly alternatives is the focus for the upcoming year as individuals look for ways to promote healthier habits.
More people are interested in knowing where their food comes from and how its production impacts the environment. This shift to greener habits and more natural options will dictate how food is sold and consumed from 2022 and potentially into the following years.