Call it an industry; call it a lifestyle; call it a combination of the two - whatever it is, health and wellness has its finger firmly on the pulse when it comes to moving with the times. This year kisses goodbye to seaweed and souping and waves hello to tiger nuts and super spices, just two of the wellbeing trends that look set to soar in 2017.
The tiger nut is nothing to do with neither tigers nor nuts and is, in fact, a small root vegetable and traditional food that has been grown and eaten for centuries across the Mediterranean and Africa. Commonly found in the form of tiger nut flour - a great, gluten-free, grain-free alternative flour that can be used in baking or cooking - it's suitable for all types of diets from vegan to Paleo and nut-free. High in fibre and rich in calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, you can expect to see tiger nuts emerge as the dieter's friend in 2017 as they're great for the digestive system and are said to aid weight loss too.
Omega 3 from algae
You can expect to see all things natural, environmentally friendly and sustainable hit even greater heights this year, and, bearing in mind growing concerns about the sustainability of fish due to the over farming of our oceans, using Omega 3 from algae means we can access the benefits of the nutrient without affecting precious fish stocks. Most of us know about the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids - especially DHA and EPA from oily fish, but for anyone who can't eat fish or take fish oil supplements, getting a good source of these healthy fats can be a problem. The answer? Algae, which can now be found in both oil and supplement form.
Probiotic yoghurts and probiotic supplements have been around for ages - even probiotic chocolate has found a niche in the market, but the newest kid on the gut-health block is probiotic water. Tablets are out this year and functional food and drinks are in, so probiotic water is a wellness powerhouse combining the goodness of water with the added health benefits of lots of lovely life-giving microorganisms.
Cauliflower is amazingly versatile: you can pulse raw florets in a food processor to make cauliflower 'rice'; steam it and mash it for a comforting side dish; or just remove the leaves, shove it in the oven and bake it whole (which is great drizzled with a bit of good quality honey). It's low in carbs and calories and high in fibre, vitamin C, folate and potassium, and also contains compounds called glucosinolates, which are thought to have anti-cancer properties, so expect to see it everywhere in 2017.
If 2016 was the year of the superfood, 2017 is the year of the super spice, the king of which is bright yellow turmeric. Why? Turmeric contains curcumin, which has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, plays a role in cancer prevention and protecting against heart disease, and has also been shown to help relieve the pain of arthritis, injuries and even dental procedures. Other spice royalty includes cinnamon, a nutritional dynamo that keeps cells safe from oxidative stress and dangerous free radicals; saffron, as little as a tenth of a teaspoon of which has been shown to help improve cognitive performance and mood; and cayenne pepper, the capsaicin in which helps fight weight gain and obesity. If you're trying to detox this month, spice up your dishes with this little lot and you'll get a far bigger boost that you'd hoped for.
The future's bright, the future's...purple? That's correct: purple foods pack a powerful disease-prevention punch and are the choice of today's health-conscious eater. Purple kale, purple carrots, purple cauliflower, purple broccoli and the purple potato are all amazingly rich in anthocyanins (the antioxidant responsible for their purple colour) and have amazing disease-fighting properties. They can soothe inflammation as well as boost immune function and have also been shown to improve memory and brain function.
Sunflower protein powders
With more and more people going vegan, plant-based protein powders have already started flying of the shelves and we humans need protein for many reasons, not just to grow and support muscle tissue. It's also required for building, healing and repairing most of the other tissues in our body, as well as producing a range of vital substances such as antibodies and hormones. For optimal wellbeing, an adult needs a minimum of around 0.8 to 1g of protein per kilo of 'ideal' bodyweight per day, so if your healthy bodyweight is 60kg, you'll need around 50 to 60 grams of protein per day and you may need more if you're very active, or trying to build strength. The richest sources of protein are animal foods, so vegetarians and especially vegans may struggle to get enough, which is where sunflower protein powder comes in handy; easily blended into shakes and smoothies and mixed with digestive enzymes to make it easier on the tummy, it tastes as good as it does.