Popular Health Food Trends of 2017

Today, you can’t just have a latte. It’s got to be a turmeric latte with adaptogens, collagen and probiotics all in one. Because can you really put a price tag on your health?

Well, that’s exactly what juice shops are banking on. And larger chains, like Starbucks, are getting in on the green juice and turmeric latte action, too. In fact, Forbes reported that the global market for health and wellness reached $686 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow $815 billion by 2021.

“People expect and hope for a miracle that will make them feel and look their best,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN, founder of Better Than Dieting. “But the truth is there’s no one food. You have to think of your diet as an orchestra. You can’t have just one instrument,” Taub-Dix says.

Most nutritionists will agree that your healthy ensemble starts with a well-balance diet. And the latest health food trends are a fun way to keep your diet fresh and exciting, says Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Nutritious Life. “I always say a diet that focuses on whole foods is most important, and these products are great bonuses.”

So if you’re looking to mix things up, check out our list of the biggest health food trends of 2017 — and tips on how to navigate their claims.

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7 Popular Health Foods of 2017

The 7 Most Popular Health Foods of 2017
Photos: Pond5 (left); Twenty20 (right)

1. Let’s Get Adaptogenic

Research continues to show how the foods you eat are directly linked to your mood as much as your gut. And that’s where adaptogens come in. Adaptogens are antioxidant-rich supplements and powders made from herbs and plants that are meant to help your body adapt to stress, anxiety and fatigue. But these days, you don’t need to buy jars of powders you don’t know what to do with to get your daily dose. Now you can find them in detox juices and unicorn-colored coconut butters, which you can use to make everything from mermaid toast to your own crystal latte (yup, it’s a thing).

The fine print: Because adaptogens aren’t regulated, Taub-Dix says to exercise some caution when you’re using them. “Be careful that the adpatogens you take don’t contraindicate the medications you’re on. Certain supplements and herbs can counter the effectiveness of the mediation you’re on,” she says. When in doubt, always consult with your doctor.

Top 2017 Health Food Trends: Probiotics
Photo: Courtesy of Daily Harvest

2. Probiotics 2.0

It’s time to feed your flora — and people are reaching for probiotics in every which form. After all, they’re the superhero of your gut — the body’s control center for sleep, immunity and even sports performance — responsible for fighting off inflammation and bad bacteria. But food manufacturers aren’t sticking with pills and capsules. Today, you’ll find everything from almond-based yogurts, cheese and drinks to ice cream, granola and chocolates boosted with probiotics. Ben & Jerry’s is even looking into release kombucha ice cream in the near future.

The fine print: Keep in mind, the bacteria in these products have a shelf life, and they need to be live bacteria in order for it to have any effect or benefit for you, Glassman says. “The best probiotics come from real whole foods, like kefir or sauerkraut, and reputable probiotic supplements,” she says. “Oftentimes products simply add a small amount of probiotics to be able to put it on the label. It’s more of a selling point than a benefit for you.”

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Top Health Foods of 2017: Bone Broth Protein Powder
Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Axe

3. Make Whey for Bone Broth

You’ve got a tub of whey protein above the sink. And a jar of bone broth in the fridge. But it’s 2017, and we’re on a quest for efficiency. That’s why the new wave of bone broth powders and supplements is mixing in everything from antioxidant-rich foods, like matcha and turmeric, to collagen and protein powder. So if you don’t like sipping on warm broth, these powders make it easier to reap the inflammation-fighting benefits in your post-workout smoothie, overnight oats and chia seed pudding.

The fine print: Since bone broth and collagen powders can be pricey, Taub-Dix says to evaluate your diet before buying a tub. “Most of us are eating more protein than we really need, which is 45 to 55 grams daily,” Taub-Dix says. “An ounce of cheese is six grams, a tablespoon of almond butter has four to five grams and an egg has seven. It all adds up,” she says.

Top Health Foods of 2017: Ghee and MCT Oil
Photo: Twenty20

4. Ghee-Proof Your Coffee

We’ll have our morning cup of Joe with a splash of…collagen, MCT oil and ghee, please. While bulletproof coffee isn’t anything new, “bulletproof” has come to mean more than just adding a tablespoon of grass-fed, unsalted butter to your java. As more people begin to cut dairy, ghee and MCT oil have also become popular coffee additions. Ghee is a lactose- and casein-free version of butter without the excess water, while MCT oil — medium-chain fatty acids that are found in coconut oil — provides LDL cholesterol-lowering lauric acid. Ghee and MCT oil now even come in a variety of flavors, from pumpkin spice to cinnamon swirl.

The fine print: If you’re new to these products, Glassman recommends starting with a simple recipe. “Learn how to make the turmeric or matcha latte you enjoy. Then, assess how your body feels after adding them to your diet before you make it a normal routine,” Glassman says. “When deciding to add any new foods to your diet, do as much research as you can, and make an educated decision based on your knowledge of your own body,” she says.

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Top Health Foods of 2017: Superfood Lattes
Photo: Twenty20

5. Upgrade Your Lattes

As the Danish hygee tradition of getting cozy heats up stateside, superfood lattes, like golden milk and hot cacao, are turning up at cafes. Instead of using coffee or espresso (which can wind you up), these tea-based superfood lattes incorporate soothing and health-boosting ingredients, like turmeric, collagen, protein powder, adaptogens and other herbs and spices. Even large chains, like Starbucks and Pret a Manger, recently introduced their own version of turmeric lattes. Turmeric is known to help fight inflammation in the body, while ingredients like collagen boasts muscle-building and anti-aging benefits.

The fine print: While these superfood lattes offer antioxidants from teas, herbs and spices, cafes might load them with sugar. For example, the turmeric latte from Pret a Manger has 25 grams of sugar in one serving. “Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, but whether you’re taking it in a pill or as a food, you don’t know how much is in there. These things become buzzwords and a magnet for the product,” Taub-Dix explains.

And if you’re pregnant or nursing, you might want to stay away from drinks with spirulina because they aren’t contaminant-free, Taub-Dix says.

Top Health Foods of 2017: Cannabis Sparkling Water
Photo: Twenty20

6. Cannabis for Higher…Health?

It seems as if Americans are eager to eat more greens, and we don’t mean kale. Since marijuana became legal in California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada in November 2016, cannabis edibles have become a burgeoning business. From chocolate truffles to caramel candies, there are more options than ever to get a microdose of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) — the agent in weed that gets you high.

But what about all that sugar? Now, seltzer waters infused with cannabis oil offer a new alternative — without the extra calories. Mount Joy Sparkling Water, Keef Sparkling and Sprig are just a few flavored seltzers with cannabis that claim to keep you hydrated, refreshed and energized.

The fine print: Eating and drinking cannabis can have a completely different effect on your body than smoking it. And because there aren’t regulations on labels, you might get more that the listed amount — and then some.

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Top Health Foods of 2017: Zero Food Waste
Photo: Twenty20

7. Going Zero Waste

We won’t knock this trend that does our planet good. With sustainable farm practices at top of mind for health food purveyors and restaurateurs, recycling food scraps continues to be a bigger movement as we go into 2018. We’ve already seen Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of New York’s Blue Hill, give new life to veggie scraps, like kale ribs, broccoli stems and carrot leaves, in his WastED pop-up. Then, there’s Regrained Granola, which uses recycled beer grains and coffee grounds for their bars. And Pressed Juicery recently came out with a vegan burger using leftover juice pulp.

The fine print: These sustainable practices are shedding light on food sourcing, so you can make informed food choices. Glassman says, “I think it’s a great change that shows people the impact their habits and their diet has on the world and the food system.”

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