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The holidays aren’t over yet, but the New Year is around the corner. Right now — before January sneaks up on you — is the perfect time to start planning the changes you want to make to achieve your healthiest life. Need a little inspiration? Here are five health and wellness trends you can expect to surge in 2019.
1. Plant-Based Diet
Diets come, and diets go. The low-fat craze of the 1990s gave way to low-carb diets in the 2000s. Then came Paleo, followed by the current diet darling, Keto. One piece of nutritional advice that stays pretty constant (no surprise here) is that fruits and vegetables are good for you. And plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular, whether that means going vegan (i.e. eating no animal products at all), or just making plant-based foods the centerpiece of your diet.
Mushrooms are more than a tasty addition to a vegetable stir-fry. These fantastic fungi have been shown to boost the immune system, tamp down inflammation, maintain healthy blood sugar, and help the body adapt to stress. Medicinal mushrooms are increasingly used as ingredients in functional foods. But you can also cook with many of them whole. Most grocery stores carry fresh shiitake mushrooms in the produce section, and many stock dried medicinal mushrooms — such as shiitake, cordyceps, maitake and lion’s mane — in the Asian food aisle.
3. Sound Therapy
The old saying that “music hath charms to soothe the savage breast” makes intuitive sense. We all have sounds that relax us, whether it’s birdsong in the morning or water rushing over the stones of a creek. Sound healers claim that when we listen to different frequencies, our brainwaves sync up with them. By changing our brainwaves, they say, we can positively influence our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Tibetan singing bowls, tuning forks, and gongs are becoming popular as ways to tap into the healing nature of sound.
4. Breathing Clean Air
According to the Global Wellness Summit, over 90 percent of the people on Earth breathe polluted air. This is personal for me. I live in Southern Oregon, and in the late summer and early autumn, wildfire smoke chokes our little valley for weeks at a time. If you live somewhere with seasonal pollution, wearing an N95 face mask when outdoors is a necessity. It also makes sense to invest in an air purifier for your home. But it’s not just wildfire smoke you need to be concerned about. According to the EPA, indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air! Avoiding the use of insecticides (like ant or roach spray) indoors, choosing non-toxic cleaning products, and filling your home with plants (peace lilies and spider plants are two great choices) can help keep your air clean.
5. Sleeping Well
Okay, sleeping isn’t exactly a trend. People have been doing it for hundreds of thousands of years. But health experts are increasingly recognizing that sleep supports health in multiple ways, including your weight, blood sugar, immunity, heart health, memory and learning, breast cancer risk, and even lifespan. How well you sleep is as important as how long. To maximize the benefit of the time you spend in the sack, be sure to avoid screens and caffeine before bedtime, keep your room dark and at a comfortable temperature (cooler is better), use a source of white noise if you need it, and buy supportive pillows.
Which of these five trends inspires you the most?