Which of 2016’s wellness trends are worth your time?
With 2016 well under way, there are a number of wellness trends that have caught our eye. We chatted to the experts on the benefits of a number of new, healthy offerings so you can decide which ones are worth your while.
If you’ve looked at the menu at any wholefoods cafe you’ve probably spotted sauerkraut, kimchi or tempeh on there. Just five years ago, these fermented foods were specialty items but lately they’re cropping up at our favourite food spots thanks to their gut-supporting probiotics. In a 2012 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, scientists found that the probiotics like those food in sauerkraut could boost our immune systems by increasing the production of antibodies.
“There are different methods for fermentation, but one called lacto-fermentation involves soaking vegetables in salt water allowing bacteria to grow. These kinds of fermented foods are rich in healthy bacteria that work to keep your gut healthy, so start by introducing one new fermented food and then experiment with others,” says WF’s resident dietitian, Caitlin Reid. Try adding a little bit of fermented cabbage to your salad, it’ll add a hit of extra flavour and help with digestion too!
Considering the fact that many of us live with our phones glued to our hands and even more of us have “accidentally” spent our weekends watching entire seasons of a show on Netflix, digital detoxes are on the up this year. It’s pretty simple really, it involves switching off from the world of inter-connectivity for a day or two (or more) to bring a sense of calm and an escape from the constant demand for our attention. Refraining from screens can help us recharge, get in tune with our own rhythms and reduce stress, plus turning off our phone for a day or so gives us more time to connect with loved ones. This one’s a winner.
“The bulletproof coffee is a cup of black coffee with 1-2 tablespoons of unsalted, grass-fed butter and 1-2 tablespoons of medium-chain triglyceride oil,” Reid explains. Its inventor, Dave Asprey, claims that it promotes weight loss, while other supporters thinks it boosts energy levels and keeps you mentally focused. “A regular black coffee contains just 10kJ and turning it into a bulletproof coffee you add 50g of fat (most of which are saturated fat) and consume nearly 2000kJ. Save yourself the kilojoules and enjoy a long black or piccolo latte instead,” Reid says.
Care to enter a meditative state in a totally weightless environment? Then a float tank might be for you. Float tank centres are cropping up across Sydney, hailed for restorative benefits, they offer hour (or longer) sessions to shut off from the world in a seriously peaceful place. “The main physical benefits come from the epsom salt, the lack of stimulation and the neutralisation of gravity,” says Austin Coons from Forever Floating Health Spa in Paddington. “Floating is popular among bodybuilders, yogis, fighters and other athletes. People come in to float specifically looking for rest and recovery. The abundance of energy that your body has at its disposal during floating allows athletes to actually train their bodies faster and harder,” Coons adds.
Make your own smoothie bars
Juice bars and smoothie bars are touted to become even more common this year and we can hear all you green juice lovers cheering in the background. “Build your own smoothies, smoothie bowls, smoothies on the go – the list of smoothie options is endless. But, smoothies can come in massive sizes and loaded with excessive amounts of fat and sugar,” says Reid. While smoothies can be a great way to get a quick nutrition hit, Reid reminds us that they can also be unexpectedly high in kJs. “Smoothies contain the same amount of kilojoules as a meal, yet many people are taking to drinking them in between meals,” she says. Smoothies are great as a breaky on the go or an arvo snack, just make sure to choose your ingredients wisely!
Move over hot yoga because hot mat Pilates is the new kid on the block. Hot Pilates offers the same kind of bendy bodied fun in a heated room but instead of downward dog, the classes are intent on developing core strength and improving posture. One Hot Yoga in Sydney’s Potts Point is the first studio to offer hot Pilates and the studio’s owner, Lucinda Mills, says it’ll make you feel like you’re on a tropical holiday. “The hot environment is a neuro-muscular relaxant (in English – a major stress-buster) and it also increases your workload. So it’s like going on a mini holiday where you burn a tonne of calories and get that dewy post-facial glow all in 45 minutes!” she says. If you’re a Pilates buff and you’re looking for a new challenge then hot Pilates could be your calling!
For those who are a bit “wellness-forward” you’ve probably been drinking kombucha for years but for the rest of us, the kombucha trend is really just beginning. Some bars, cafes and restaurants have already introduced kombucha on tap and the drink is a fave amongst celebs and yogis alike. A study conducted at Cornell University looked at the antimicrobial quality of kombucha and found that the drink could be a seriously healthful beverage as it was able to reduce a range of pathogenic bacteria. It concluded that the consumption of kombucha could boost immunity and general well being.
You’ve probably spotted a Matcha green tea latte on Instagram in the past 12 months and now the Matcha craze has well and truly made it to our shores. Matcha literally means “powdered”, so when you drink Matcha green tea you’re consuming the actual tea leaves. This is why it offers so many potent health benefits. From greater focus, to increased memory the benefits of Matcha green tea are many. In fact, a study from Oregon State University even found that the compounds in green tea leaves could increase the number of “regulatory T cells” that play a key role in immune function and suppression of autoimmune disease. So it might be worth considering swapping your 3pm cappuccino for a Matcha green tea latte and you could reap the many health benefits.