Several food and nutrition trends were in the spotlight this year, including the continued rise of plant-based diets, non-dairy ice creams and superfoods that are blasts from the past — legumes, apples and cabbage. It can be easy to experience nutrition whiplash in the New Year, but don’t be a victim. Get a jump-start on understanding the top nutrition trends that will impact quality of life and make it easier to add important vitamins and nutrients to the body.
“The start of a fresh year always ushers in new opportunities to make one’s health better,” said Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD and author of “Eat Your Way to Sexy.” “Study after study consistently finds that most Americans don’t meet even minimum standards of a balanced diet, so it’s important to be aware of advances in nutrition, so you can optimize your health all year long.”
There are four key nutrition predictions that will top 2018.
No. 1 — Personalized nutrition
A one-size-fits-all approach that can be applied to vitamins, minerals, omega-3s and other essential nutrients doesn’t align with what research reveals about individual nutrient needs. Many factors tweak the basic recommendations, including age, gender, health status, medication use, stress level, sleep habits, exercise routines and more.
For example, when the body is exposed to ultra violet (UV) light, it manufactures vitamin D; however, as we age, the body becomes less and less efficient at making vitamin D. This is when dietary and supplement sources become increasingly more important while the needs for the vitamin increase.
It is no wonder there will be a growing trend and demand for personalized nutrition recommendations in 2018. Nutrition innovators — like www.personanutrition.com — are already responding by developing comprehensive nutritional assessments to curate unique combinations of vitamins and nutrients designed specifically to the individual consumer.
No. 2 — Awareness of drug nutrient interactions
According to a recent paper published in the European Journal of Nutrition, vitamins and other nutrients play a crucial role in metabolism — the process in the body that supports overall health. How vitamins and phytonutrients interact with prescription medications can impact metabolism.
In one example, antacid medications can interfere with vitamin B12 and calcium absorption, so requirements for these and other nutrients may increase, yet people don’t make the adjustment in their supplement plans. Therefore, it is important to consult a health care practitioner before adding a dietary supplement, so prescription medications and vitamin supplements can live in harmony.
No. 3 — Go with your gut
Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for health, especially the digestive system. It may be easy to think of bacteria as something that causes diseases, but the body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are the “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they have been known for years to help keep the gut healthy. What’s more, research has shown that the benefits of probiotics may span more than the gut, including the circulatory, hormonal and nervous systems. Probiotics are naturally found in the body to varying degrees, and there are high levels of probiotics in some foods and supplements.
Encouraging the growth of probiotic bacteria is important in maintaining an effective intestinal barrier, enhancing nutrient absorption and blocking toxins and pathogens. A focus on gut health and spotlighting food and dietary supplements that support a healthy belly will top 2018 nutrition trends.
No. 4 — Vitamin K2
Don’t confuse this K2 with the mountain in the Himalayas. Vitamin K2 is an overlooked vitamin that helps control calcium movement in the body and supports healthy arteries and bone health. It is found at sub-optimal levels in the traditional diet, but can be found at high levels in fermented foods, like sauerkraut and the Korean dish kimchi. Vitamin K2 will no longer be overlooked in 2018. Ask a health care practitioner about adding this important vitamin to the diet, especially if fermented foods aren’t served regularly for dinner.
It doesn’t take a crystal ball to predict what will be the hottest nutrition trends in 2018; it only requires a look at the latest nutrition research and connecting with a health care provider or registered dietitian.