Do you know what moves just as fast as the beauty world? Health, nutrition and fitness trends. As of late, wellness and clean eating have absolutely skyrocketed in popularity, and all of a sudden organic foods, whole foods, superfoods and gluten-free foods, which were once only found in health food stores, have all become normal, mainstream options in your local grocery store.
And with the buzz around nutrient-rich, natural food going strong, you'll also notice more and more health food trends starting to pop up. However, it can be difficult to know which trends are worth embracing, and which are better left untouched (or un-eaten!).
Luckily, we’ve done all the hard work for you. We’ve not only sussed out the biggest trends, but we also got in touch with some health experts for their advice on whether or not they’re worth trying. So, from faux meats to oat milk, here are seven major Australian health food trends that are about to be HUGE.
Beauty foods are big in 2019, but do those collagen powders actually work? “Collagen is everywhere right now from powders to bars to drinks. There is scientific evidence to support the use of collagen for anti-ageing – improving skin elasticity and hydration; but you might also see it being promoted for a number of other benefits such as gut healing, none of which are actually backed by scientific research,” says nutritionist Amy Savage.
Stressed and tired all the time? We feel you! Adaptogens are currently leading the pack in ingredients that offer benefits for both physical and mental health. “Drawing from Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, adaptogens help the body to cope with stress and hormone changes. Up until this year, they were rare and overpriced, but we’re starting to see more adaptogens on the shelves. Ashwagandha is the most popular one. Mushrooms are full of adaptogens, too,” says Founder and Director of GoodnessMe Box, Peta Shulman.
#3/ Alkaline water
There’s a new trend claiming to make the healthiest beverage even healthier: alkaline water. But is there such a thing as healthier water? “Another one I’ve seen trending on social media, alkaline water claims to balance the pH in your stomach,” says Savage.
“If it makes you drink more water, great, but plain-Jane filtered tap water is all you really need and our stomachs tend to do a very good job of balancing pH as part of our normal bodily functions,” she adds.
#4/ Oat milk
It seems like nearly every year for the past decade we’ve welcomed in a new alternative milk product. The newest dairy-free kid on the block? Oat milk. “Another amazing plant-based alternative along with the likes of coconut, almond and soy. Oat milk has the added benefit of beta-glucans, which can help to boost immunity and lower cholesterol,” says Savage.
“It’s packed with protein and nutrients, and it’s creamier than most nut milks – so baristas love it!” says Shulman.
#5/ Meatless meat
“In good news for vegans, vegetarians and anyone who dabbles in Meatless Mondays, the plant-based meat movement is also gaining momentum,” says Shulman. “Along with the original Impossible burger, we’re seeing vegan jerky (made with coconut), bacon chips (made with mushrooms) and even vegan eggs (made with chia seeds).”
As for whether or not these meatless alternatives are healthy, Savage says, “It's always important to look at the ingredients of these products and if you don’t know what it is, do you really want to eat it? It’s good to see more plant-based variety, but it’s important to be mindful of how processed the food might be.”
#6/ Coconut kefir
“A trend I love and one that tastes great,” says Savage, “Coconut kefir is perfect for anyone that doesn’t consume dairy kefir and wants to give their gut microbiome a boost. The fermentation process not only creates beneficial gut bacteria, but typically makes products fermented products lower in sugar.”
It’s not your imagination, cauliflower is literally *everywhere* right now. “Cauliflower is also making its mark on the health scene,” says Shulman. And it’s becoming part of the booming plant-based food industry for good reason. It’s a nutrient-dense (it’s high in protein and fibre) and super versatile vegetable that has the ability to take on many different flavours and textures – cauliflower lattes are even a thing! “It all began with cauliflower rice a couple of years ago, and now, you can buy cauliflower mash, steak, gnocchi and pizza.”
The best way to incorporate health foods into your diet
While most health and wellness experts aren’t opposed to trying new food trends, the majority believe in a balanced approach to nutrition (i.e. don’t go too crazy on one particular trend!). “The health world is so creative, but sometimes, the trends are taken a little too far,” says Shulman.
“Coconut oil is a good example. It’s beneficial to eat in small amounts, but many people went overboard, adding coconut to everything and eating spoonfuls of the stuff. Like any good fat, it’s best eaten in moderation. My advice is to do what feels right for your body, and when you’re in doubt, ask questions!”
Similarly, Savage says the best way to incorporate trending ingredients into your diet is to make sure you're eating a rainbow of different nutritious food groups. “I always recommend as much variety in the diet as possible. If you look at coconut kefir for example, it’s a great one to include daily [as are] other gut-loving foods like sauerkraut, but meatless meat options I would suggest consuming in moderation.”
“Some collagen products can be great and there are some tasty snacks out there, but there will be variables in the amount of collagen you’ll find in the product. It’s worth considering if the product will live up to its hype, so always take a look at the ingredients list,” Savage says.
“Oat milk is one of my favourites, but I don’t have it every day. I mix up my milks for variety and it tastes great in smoothies, with oats (for some double oat love) or even better, in hot chocolate!”
“Of course, the best trends are those that aren’t trends at all – just balanced ways to approach health and wellness. With that in mind, I hope a lot of these trends are here to stay!” says Schulman.
Looking for more trending ingredients? Check out why avocados are becoming the next big thing in beauty.
What do you think of these health food trends? Would you try any of them? Let us know in the comment section below.
Main image credit: @rachael_finch
Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.