A return to nature, a greater focus on the environment and new ways to combat physical and mental stress are all set to shape the future of health and wellness as Australia’s leading natural health college, Endeavour College shares the next big thing in food, diets, stress relief and self-care.
Experts from Endeavour College of Natural Health predict a new plant-based protein will knock almond off its ‘mylk’ mantle, probiotics will appear in everything from coffee to ice cubes, there will be a shift from counting calories to carbon emissions and we’ll even see the creation of beer supplements in a post-pandemic year.
Endeavour College nutrition lecturer Sophie Scott, who is also a clinical nutritionist and environmental scientist, says many future food trends will revolve around the environment as we increasingly become climate-conscious, as well as health-conscious:
- Move over soy and almond milk, Sacha inchi is the next big thing in plant-based protein. The ‘mountain peanut’ is native to South America and offers a big nutritional punch – it’s high in omega 3 fatty acids and is a good source of protein and tryptophan, which is an important amino acid precursor to serotonin that can promote sleep and general wellbeing. The seeds from the fruits are roasted or ground into a powder and added to foods, and the oil is also extracted. Expect to see Sacha inchi milk on shelves soon. As an added bonus, it offers an alternative income stream for farmers in Colombia and Peru struggling to break free from the illicit coca trade.
- Environmental eating is increasing as we all become more aware of the impact our food choices have on the planet. Climatarianism is set to be the new veganism as people make more educated choices about the climate impact of each food. We might soon see ‘C’ alongside GF, DF and V on food products and menus, while carbon labelling will become as common as nutrition advice and health star ratings after research this year indicated that a carbon label would influence purchasing behaviour. It’s a very timely trend in the wake of the UN Climate Change Conference, especially considering that the food we eat is responsible for nearly a third of global greenhouse gas emissions and agriculture is the second biggest contributor to greenhouse gases (after the energy sector). With Australians eating on average 95kg of meat per year, which is three times the global average, Reducetarian and Flexitarian diets, which are more flexible than a strictly vegan diet, will also continue to grow in popularity. According to recent data, around a fifth (nearly 20%) of Australians are flexitarians who actively reduce their meat consumption. Reducing our intake of junk food is another way of reducing emissions, while also benefiting health. More than a third (35%) of the energy in the average Aussie diet comes from junk foods and alcohol. Ready-made food and drinks mightn’t create as much carbon as meat production, but because of the quantity we consume and all that packaging and processing, the climate impact adds up.
- Taking locavore (someone who eats locally produced food) to the next level, ultra-urban gardening will see us bring orchards and veggie patches indoors by making use of whatever space is available. Think vertical lettuce walls, microgreen tiny towers, baby tomato vines and even mini lemon trees all flourishing inside our homes. It’s all about growing your own organic fruit and vegetables and creating sustainable food practices. It will be made easy with grow pod kits and bespoke lighting and is set to become the new indoor design movement. Green is here for good.
- We have become a nation of snackers and food businesses are taking note. During lockdown, half (49%) of Australians replaced normal meals with snacks, a third (32%) of Aussies rarely ate full meals, and 28% of us admitted to being heavy snackers. This trend looks set to continue even post lockdown as people continue to work from home for at least part of the week. Demand for healthy snacks like muesli bars, breakfast bars and rice crackers is growing and with the advent of technology, we’re looking down the barrel of super snacks created to suit specific health needs. Think keto chips made healthier with pomegranates and cauliflower, and yoghurt made to taste with a personalised probiotic mix.
NEXT BIG THING IN NATURAL HEALTH
Endeavour College naturopathy lecturer and naturopath David Stelfox predicts natural health will grow in the new year after concerns about climate change escalated during the pandemic and we have increased awareness of the need to nurture Nature and ourselves:
- Immune support won’t just be a focus heading into the winter months but a year-round pursuit as we try to be as healthy as possible to fight viruses like COVID-19. Research shows the benefits of well-known immunomodulating herbs such as Andrographis and Elderberry, which sold out in Australia at the peak of the first COVID-19 wave, but we’ll also start to see some new herbs enter the market off the back of heightened interest in herbal immune boosters during the pandemic. Look out for Desert Ginseng – it has been used throughout Mongolia, Western China and Iran for over 2000 years but has caught the attention of modern researchers because it is an immunostimulant that also has adaptogenic, anti-inflammatory, cognition-enhancing and antidepressant properties. Of particular interest is its ability to address immunosenescence (ageing of the immune system), affording extra protection for older Australians against viral and bacterial infections. There is even a citrus fruit peel that is capturing the world’s attention for its ability to treat respiratory infections. Recent research has shown Exocarpium Citri grandis can enhance lung function, promote the elimination of excess mucus from the lower respiratory tract and support the immune system against viruses. In addition to now well-known adaptogens such as Lion’s mane, Chaga and Reishi, we can also expect to see a greater range of medicinal mushrooms on the market such as Agarikon, Turkey Tail and Birch Polypore, which can assist our immune system. Turkey Tail Latte anyone?
- While gut health and probiotics are ‘trends’ of years gone by, we will see more developments in this area as we continue to learn more about the gut microbiome and its influence on our mind, body and emotional health. Taking probiotics to the next level, expect to see gut-healthy cocktails and mocktails made with probiotic ice cubes, and probiotic coffee and tea, which are being touted as the best way to start the day. The role bacteria plays in our overall health is also broadening beyond the gut to the skin and mouth to target common concerns such as gingivitis and bleeding gums or chronic inflammatory skin conditions like eczema. Keep a lookout for probiotic mouthwashes, throat gargles, skin washes, lotions, toothpaste, deodorants, as well as new probiotic supplements that use very specific probiotic strains to address our skin and mouth microbiomes.
- We have all lived through an incredibly stressful time and stress will continue to be a challenge for us all. It influences our moods, our energy levels, our ability to concentrate and create, and so many other aspects of our health. As people look for new ways to improve concentration beyond coffee, tea and energy drinks, we will see more stress-busting supplements on offer. Bacopa, Withania and Panax ginseng are already popular for stimulation but new research is shining a light on some more alternatives such as Spearmint and Galangal (an aromatic herb found in many south-east Asian dishes), which have been found to assist with stress alleviation and improvement of our cognitive functions. In a mind-bender for beer-loving Australians, Hops are also being developed as a supplement rather than a beverage after recent studies showed Humulus lupulus, which is commonly used to make beer, increased concentration and reduced stress.
CHINESE MEDICINE BECOMES MAINSTREAM
According to Endeavour College Chinese medicine educator Greg Cope, complementary medicine is only set to grow as Australians turn to ancient practices to assist with the mental and physical stresses of the modern world:
- Chinese medicine has been steadily growing in Australia for the past two decades but the pandemic pressed fast-forward on many complementary treatments and we’re now in the midst of a Chinese medicine boom. As stressed and sore Australians sought relief from the mental and physical toll of lockdowns, Chinese medicine clinics quickly booked out – some were fully booked from September, with hundreds of bookings flowing into the new year. Like acupuncture, cupping and other treatments become more mainstream, practitioners are welcoming people of all ages and from all walks of life. Shonishin, commonly known as paediatric acupuncture, swaps needles for soft stroking, light tapping and gentle pressing, and is increasing in popularity among young children. To cater to the Chinese medicine boom, Endeavour College is tripling its Chinese medicine offerings from 2022, including the only specialised acupuncture course for undergraduates in Australia.
- Modern life is busy and as we look for new ways to pause and take stock, slow movement is on the rise. While tai chi is traditionally embraced by seniors, expect to see more young people taking up Chinese martial art as a novel way to slow down and reconnect. qi gong, a more tailored movement that is designed to target a specific concern, is also growing in popularity. These ancient practices are as beneficial as any meditation app when it comes to mindfulness and because they can be done anywhere from the living room to the back yard or a local park, it’s the perfect socially distanced way to destress.
- The pandemic has created many shifts and changes in everyday life but undoubtedly one of the biggest is the working-from-home trend and for many, that has led to an increase in aches and pains, which has led to an increase in demand for remedial massage. In the first few days after Sydneysiders were freed from a four-month lockdown, more people flocked to a remedial massage practitioner than the salon or spa, according to merchant data which showed remedial massage businesses spiked 735 per cent, while salons were up 694 per cent and beauty spas rose 676 per cent. With many Australians expected to continue working from home in the months and years to come, the rise of remedial massage will continue, including a specialist Chinese version – tui na. Often performed through clothing or a towel, this dry massage focuses on acupuncture meridians and pressure points and it’s growing so rapidly that Endeavour College is introducing the first higher education level qualification in tui na next year.
Endeavour College of Natural Health is the largest private higher education provider of natural medicine courses in the Southern Hemisphere. There are six campuses across Australia including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and Adelaide. Courses include Naturopathy, Nutrition and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies, Chinese Medicine, Complementary Medicine, Chinese Remedial Massage and Remedial Massage. Endeavour offers an alternative path to university and VET courses for Australians wanting to pursue a career in the booming health and wellness industry. www.endeavour.edu.au