With new superfoods and alternative health products popping up in the media every day, it’s hard to know what the cleanest, most effective product innovations really are. Dr. Jeremy Wolf N.D., Lead Wellness Advisor at LuckyVitamin.com, breaks down the trends and how to be a savvy wellness shopper this fall.
HEALTHY BACK TO SCHOOL OPTIONS
Summer is over, which can only mean one thing. Back to school. And back to packing lunches. It’s estimated that the average family will use 500 Ziploc bags each year and according to one survey, around 2.79% of Americans use 21 or more bags within 7 days. That’s around 1,000 bags a year. Luckily LunchSkins has reusable dishwasher safe sandwich, snack and lunch bags that are a creative and environmentally friendly alternative. Another trend for the 2016 school year will be lunches that are gluten free, dairy free and include meat alternatives. More and more parents, children and families are embracing an allergen free or vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. As a result, I believe school lunches across the country will have more options for children with dietary restrictions.
The beetroot movement is upon us, I repeat, the beetroot movement is upon us. Since 2009 beet products have quadrupled. Beets have attracted a lot of attention as a “functional food” meaning they not only provide basic nutrients, but may help promote optimal health and reduce the risk of disease. While this vegetable’s popularity has only recently gained back momentum, its use dates back to ancient Roman times. So why has it become so popular again? Beets are a source of nitrates and provide a natural means of increasing nitric oxide (NO) availability. Beetroot is a rich source of phytochemical compounds that include ascorbic acid, carotenoids, phenolic acids, and flavonoids. Beets also contain a group of bioactive pigments known as betalains that are thought to have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Beet products can be found in the forms of Beet Juice, Energy Bars, Sports Shots, Protein Powders, Veggie Packs, and Beet Crystals. LuckyVitamin carries a large selection of these products from top rated brands.
Let’s face it, trends in the natural beauty and personal care industry aren’t just for women. With more & more men growing beards, companies all over are outfitting all natural beard oil, washes, and balms for men. Beard oil works to soften and condition facial hair while moisturizing the skin to prevent dryness, itching and irritation. Badger’s, certified organic man care beard oil is one of my personal favorites. Beard wash is generally a combination of herbs, extracts and other ingredients intended to clean, moisturize and condition the hair and skin of the face. Lastly, beard balms offer a little hold for grooming but also condition the beard to help stop dryness, split ends, tangles and frizz. Use of these products can help any man turn their 5 o’clock shadow into the manliest of beards.
The term superfood describes nutrient-rich foods that are considered to be beneficial for one’s health and well being. There’s yet another superfood craze you may not have indulged in yet, but chances are after reading this you will! Pulses, which are another name for lentils, chickpeas, beans and dry peas, have become one of the most talked about superfoods in the health and wellness industry. Pulses provide protein and fiber as well as vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and magnesium. In fact, a ½ cup serving of black beans has one and half times the iron of a 3-ounce piece of steak. Pulses are also packed full of saponins and tannins, phytochemicals which may possess antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic benefits. An article from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that inclusion of pulses in a diet may be a beneficial weight-loss strategy because it leads to a modest weight-loss effect, although further research & future studies are needed. This summer, shop LuckyVitamin to incorporate your favorite pulses into your diet.
White flour is unfortunately a big part of most individual’s daily food consumption even though it provides little nutritional value. With more and more individuals following specific diets free of allergens or other restrictions, limiting white flour can make baking, cooking and eating out very difficult. Now it’s no wonder more companies are providing alternative flour options. These options include rice flour, coconut flour, buckwheat flour, almond flour, sorghum flour, amaranth flour and many more. LuckyVitamin has a large selection of alternative flour options from top brands such as Bob’s Red Mill, Nutiva, NOW Foods, Arrowhead Mills and more.
Activated charcoal has long been used by hospitals around the world as a safe and effective treatment for poisoning and drug overdoses. This ingredient is making its way to the beauty realm, from facemasks to shampoos, toothpowders and deodorants. These products use activated charcoal, which means the coal has been heated to increase its adsorptive power, increasing the rate at which molecules bind to a surface. Activated charcoal is great at trapping chemicals, absorbing dirt and oil, absorbing 1,000 times its own weight in moisture. Some great beauty products using activated charcoal include Piperwai Natural Deodorant, Dr. Sponge Konjac Facial Sponge, Level Naturals and Collective Wellbeing.
Berberine is a chemical that is found in a number of plants commonly used in botanical medicine practices. These herbs include barberry (Berberis vulgaris), oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium), goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis), and chinese goldthread (Coptis chinensis). Berberine is a yellow-colored alkaloid compound. Alkaloids are compounds found in plants that have physiological actions on humans. Berberine is believed to have anti-microbial actions against bacteria, fungi, viruses, and helminthes. It may also has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and may even be beneficial against metabolic syndrome (a group of conditions that puts you at higher risk for stroke, heart disease and other health problems such as diabetes). With the increasing rise in metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease and the therapeutic potential of berberine, it is no reason that this chemical is trending upward. LuckyVitamin has a large selection of Berberine products from top rated companies such as Vital Nutrients, Douglas Laboratories and Biotics Research.
Wellness bloggers and celebrity chefs have been talking about this trend for some time now, and its popularity continues to grow. Bone broth, or stock, is made by boiling the bones from the animal of your choice (commonly turkey, chicken or beef) with vegetables and spices. Part of the reason it’s becoming so popular is because bone broth is easy to make, relatively inexpensive and packed with vitamins, minerals and proteins. Some of the benefits may include promoting strong bones and reducing joint pain and inflammation. It may also help inhibit infection and seal your gut to promote healthy digestion. While it’s best to try and make your own bone broth, Pacific Natural Foods, Kettle and Fire and Osteobroth are great sources of convenient pre-made broths.
Saturated fats get a bad rap. However, it’s important to remember that saturated fatty acids are classified by the length of their chains, such as short, medium or long chain fatty acids. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are a form of saturated fat with many proposed health benefits. There are three separate fatty acids classified as medium chain: caproic, caprylic and capric acid. MCT oil is one of the biggest growing health trends right now. It’s believed that because MCTs are more rapidly metabolized that they may increase energy expenditure (calories burned) leading to weight loss. It is also believed that MCTs have a lower calorie count and are not stored in fat deposits in the body as much as long chain fatty acids. Lastly, MCTs may provide you with a little extra energy to get you through the day. You can use MCT oil for a salad dressing or cooking oil, however, it does not have a very high smoke point (320°F). Other MCT sources include coconut oil, palm kernel oil, cheese, butter, milk and yogurt. Shop our large selection of top selling brands such as Nature’s Way, Now Foods, Quest Nutrition, Barlean’s and many more.
When it comes to fruits with health benefits, avocados are at the top of the list. They’re packed full of fiber, potassium and vitamins such as vitamin B6, B5, C, E. One of the most talked about benefits is the fact that it provides the body with “good” fats, also known as monounsaturated fats. These fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood, which in turn can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. One new and interesting use for avocado is avocado oil. Brands are using avocado oil to make all sorts of products, including cooking oil, avocado mayonnaise and avocado kettle chips. You can even find avocado oil in personal care products. Some great brands that use of avocado oil based beauty products include Peter Lamas, Giovanni, Now Foods and Baby Mantra.