28 Dec 2016 • Breakfast TelevisionWatch on network
Each year I reflect on the year gone by and look closely at the year ahead in order to observe what I believe are the current health trends as they relate to natural health products and the health concerns my patients and consumers at large look to solve. Appreciating that natural health products account for a +$60 Billion dollar industry in North America, there are huge trends that emerge each year – many of which impact hundreds of thousands of lives for the better. Below, I am pleased to share my top 5 health trends – and their natural product solutions. I feel the leading ingredient company’s behind each product are best in class. They help fuel our health and drive our success. Some of these trends are in their infancy mind you – and others have only just become part of the mainstream – but watch out for all of them this new year!
TREND 1 – The Vegan Appeal
The appeal and potential for vegan health products is expanding well beyond the small group of people who avoid animal products for ethical reasons. Vegan products are appealing to the much larger base of consumers seeking healthier, cleaner foods and natural health products. One reason this is occurring is the the vegan trend is gaining tremendous social media traction – to the point where “vegan” and “Coca-Cola” are competing for who is getting the most social media messages and marketing!
Here are two vegan trends to look out for in 2017. First, the Lupin Bean: referred to as the “miracle bean” for its nutrition and positive effect on health – Lupin is comprised of 40% protein, 30% fiber, PREbiotic material and sports a super low glycemic index coming in at a GI of only 11. It is vegan, non-GMO, and gluten free and easy to digest because it’s free of gastric irritants found in many other legumes and pulses like lectins and saponins. Lupin is also low in phytic acid which means the amount of minerals you absorb from your meal will be higher.
The flavour is very mild like raw hazelnuts with a slight beany note. You can include it in baked goods, bars, shakes, soups, and non-dairy ice creams. In recent human studies, participants who ate bread enriched with Lupin flour had significantly reduced blood glucose and insulin responses compared to those eating plain bread and also experienced far greater satiety or “fullness”, lower cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. Find it in this wonderful Dimpflmeier carb smart bread
Also to keep an eye on are the Vegan Omega-3 sources. Now, we all understand the importance of taking omega-3 essential fatty acids for brain, heart, immune system, skin, hair, nails – and the list goes on. But there is a real global sustainability problem when it comes to fish oil as the oceans are becoming seriously depleted. The new vegan players in town I want you to look at are Echium, Ahiflower, and the Algal oils. But my favourite is Ahiflower seed oil.
Ahiflower seed oil is a nutritional supplement and food ingredient that delivers a unique and unparalleled combination of essential omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids — essential for health, vitality and wellness. Ahiflower has a naturally-balanced fatty acid ratio that we want — its omega-3 content is about 4 times its omega-6 content! It is pure, vegan, non-GMO, and extremely sustainable. Each batch is traceable to small independent farms in the UK where Ahiflower seed is exclusively grown. In fact, a single acre of Ahiflower produces as much omega-rich oil as 40,000 sardines!
Not to mention that being plant-derived, there is no fishy taste, no fishy smell, and no fishy after effects. It is the most complete and most optimally balanced single source of healthy plant-based omegas available. Plus, it naturally contains beneficial levels of anti-inflammatory GLA, which neither fish oil, algal oils, nor flax seed oil contain.
Ahiflower oil may be the healthiest, cleanest-tasting, most sustainable, and scientifically-proven plant seed oil that delivers all your essential fatty acid needs. Simply put, it’s better than flax and it’s not from fish.
TREND 2: Fiber is the new Protein
We should be eating more fruits and veggies – we know that! But processed, refined foods that have been fiber stripped still dominates the North American diet. We’ve all been bombarded with messages to eat more fiber. That is because most of us don’t come anywhere close to the 30 grams recommended daily. And yet, there is fiber-fortified version of nearly every packaged good. But why is it so important and how can we ensure that we are getting enough of the right kind of fiber!?
Most of us know fiber helps with constipation – but many don’t know that fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease and could prevent colon cancer! Some have tried the gritty, gloppy, mess of fiber drinks only to experience bloating, gas and cramping. But a recent soluble fiber technology called SunFiber is something to watch out for in 2017. It comes from the guar bean grown in India. Unlike typical fiber, this new soluble fiber is invisible, tasteless, odourless and colourless. It also has one of the strongest pre-biotic activities known. Equally interesting, it improves absorption of minerals, including calcium, iron, zinc and protein where other fibers often actually decrease absorption rates of these most essential nutrients.
It is super easy to use by the way. Stir it into anything. Bake with it. Sprinkle it on your favorite salad or mix it into your morning shake.
TREND 3: Score one more for the Good Bugs!
By now we have heard of the many applications probiotics have for gut health. But look out for an all new application in 2017! There is a well-researched probiotic specifically developed to support ear, nose and throat health and to support immune system health. It is the first probiotic specifically developed for oral health and it naturally supports fresh breath. It is called Blis-K12 (which stands for a bacteriocin-like inhibitory substance) and will soon be available in Canada. This is an extremely safe yet powerful strain of a bacteria called Streptococcus salivarius which normally occurs in the mouth and throat. S. salivarius is a naturally occurring oral microbe that appears in newborns shortly after birth. While most people have the non-specific S. salivarius populations, an estimated 2% of the human population has an abundant amount of more potent strains like Blis-K12. Studies show that children with naturally occurring microbial strains like K12 are better able to maintain mouth and throat health. The applications are quite promising. Look out for it in chewable tablets, fast-melt tablets, lozenges, chewing gum, and fun stick-pack powders that can be sprinkled directly onto your tongue and then swallowed.
TREND 4: Cranking up Cognitive Function
The supplement industry is reaching a $40 billion industry in North America. About 75% of all Canadians take either all or one of a multi, vit-D, and essential fatty acid. To date, food and health companies have mostly ruled the market. In 2017, Silicon Valley will be getting in on the action with an all new space in “nootropics”.
“Nootropic” is the latest term used to define “smart supplements” designed to improve cognitive function – particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, and motivation and willpower. The word actually derives from the Greek language meaning ‘Towards the Mind’
Nootropics have actually been around since the early 1970s and are made up of things like caffeine and vitamins B6 and B12. The twist now is that these pills are being repurposed, repackaged and sold to Silicon Valley and Wall Street overachievers who work long hours. But do they really work? The reality is some do!
My favourites to look out for in 2017 (evidence based and safe) are Vinpocetine and Bacopa. (While you don’t want to discuss supplements, we can show these as loose leaf herbs)
TREND 5: The Energy Crisis
The number one reason people seek out my professional advice and clinical consult at P3 Health in Toronto is to achieve increased vigor, vitality, and energy. Energy is our life force. We all want more of it. The reality is that we need more of it to keep up with the demands of everyday life. We strive to be focused and improve productivity, while performing better, faster, stronger, and working longer days. In 2017 we are facing an energy crisis. More personal, work, and family demands than ever before. But how do we get more energy? First, we need to redefine energy. A calm, focused and alert attention is the type of energy we all desire for 2017. We want energy that makes us more efficient, but not frazzled and distracted. Something to get us through work, family obligations, and life in general with enough left over to feel good ourselves! For many sugar, caffeine and energy drinks offer a quick fix, but these are stimulants but not true energy. In fact, think about it for a moment. How did caffeine even become associated with the meaning of energy!? If I asked you what word best matches with caffeine: energized or tired? Most would come back with “tired” and that’s because it’s used largely as a fatigue remedy.
While some studies have shown that moderate caffeine intake offers health benefits, the newest research shows the perceived benefits of caffeine are brief and with over consumption, more seriously, could even lead to poor health.
Caffeine is also found in most Energy drinks; a multi-billion dollar industry popular among both the old and young alike seeking an energy boost. And unlike coffee that’s usually sipped, delivering caffeine over time, the sweet “soda” type flavour and cold temperature of an energy drink results in it being consumed at a much higher rate.
Patients often arrive at my clinic doorstep years after having abused coffee, energy drinks, and other stimulants and what I will inevitably discover is that they have adrenal fatigue and an underproduction of noradrenaline largely caused by coffee, energy drinks, and other stimulants.
But, there are clean, non-stimulating sources of energy available that don’t cause stress on your adrenal glands.
One to look out for in 2017 is SunTheanine brand of L-Theanine (because the SunTheanine ingredient holds all the science). This is safe and thoroughly researched amino acid. And like caffeine, L-theanine is nothing new to consumers, having been consumed for over 1000 years as the calming and focus enhancing component in tea. We can showcase this as matcha tea (rich in theanine)
The other true energy booster to look out for in 2017 is called Nicotinamide Riboside (NR). NR is a very unique member of the vitamin B3 family. The body converts NR into Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+) which is an essential molecule found in every living cell. NAD+ then enables cells to covert the food that we eat into the energy that we need. NAD+ is also the communication molecule between the cell nucleus and the mitochondria which are the energy producing factories in the cell. If NAD+ levels are low, then communication may be impaired and mitochondria dysfunction may result. When this occurs, everything begins to breakdown and is one of the main reasons we lack energy. NR is found in dark green leafy veggies and grass fed dairy. Both of these ingredients are naturally occurring in food but at the end of the day, you need to supplement to achieve a therapeutic outcome.
Happy New Years 2017 everyone!