Now that we know what health and wellness trends are in and out for 2016, we wanted to see what's next. To find out, we quizzed Livestrong.com expert Jess Barron to reveal the top 2017 predictions in health and wellness with the Google trends data to back it up.
By now, we're all familiar with the term superfood. From kale to bone broth, it's safe to say we've all tried at least one of them in 2016. Below are a few you can expect to see in your 2017 diet.
In the year 2016, it was all about coconut oil, and it's been steadily growing in popularity. But while it is well-known for its many health benefits, those promises haven't been without some skepticism. As those doubts continue to surface, we're seeing avocado oil spike. According to Google trends, we expect to see a surge in interest come January 2017. "In October, Livestrong had the opportunity to interview Jillian Michaels at the BOLD Conference in Hollywood, and she told us, 'Avocado oil is the new coconut oil,'" said Barron. "Avocado oil has many health benefits including lowering blood pressure and helping relieve arthritis and psoriasis."
The health benefits of garlic are well-established, and regardless of the medicinal qualities, it really packs a punch in our favorite recipes. According to Livestrong writer Katie Farmand, black garlic has a less pungent flavor and nearly twice the antioxidants of fresh garlic. "It's long been valued in Asia, but only made its debut in Western markets in the past several years," she penned. "The powerful antioxidants in black garlic protect your cells from disease and can even help you stay younger longer."
The gentle, sweet flavor makes it a versatile superfood too. "Add it to any recipe in which you'd use fresh garlic, from pasta dishes to soups and stews," she wrote. "The best part? No garlic breath." In September 2016, Frito-Lay launched Black Garlic Doritos in Japan and searches for black garlic spiked incredibly high, although it was already building in popularity. So just what is black garlic anyway? According to Geekologie, it's made by slowly heating regular garlic cloves over several weeks until they caramelize." Sounds delicious.
Its bright pink exterior is hard to ignore when you see it in the market or grocery store aisle, but it turns out dragon fruit is more than just a pretty face. It's an anti-aging fruit with high levels of vitamin C and carotene. Barron said it has been steadily growing in interest on Google Trends over the past several years and looks set to increase in 2017, thanks in part to the delicious dragon fruit smoothie bowls we've been seeing all over social media (just like this one which had 178,000 views on Facebook).
If you've dabbled with maca powder before, or even if you're already familiar, expect to see it everywhere in 2017. Made from a Peruvian root vegetable, it's believed to promote energy, stamina, fertility, and sex drive. "According to the New York University Langone Medical Center, most of the research on maca has been conducted on animals, but there have been a couple of human trials that yielded interesting findings," noted Barron. "One study showed increased sex drive (not function) in males. Another study showed that it can increase sperm count however this study did not have a control group, thus making the results meaningless in the scientific community. As a rich source of B vitamins; vitamins C, D and E; iron; copper; and potassium, maca powder unarguably provides a simple way to increase your micronutrient intake."
To introduce it to your diet, simply add the powder to baked goods, smoothies, yogurt, tea, and cereals. Barron said maca is growing in popularity, and due to its fertility and sex drive tie-in, she predicts it will spike in February 2017.
Also known as "nooch," this longevity food is actually deactivated yeast. Unlike its cousin, it won’t rise during baking, but Barron said it's a rich source of vitamin B12, a nutrient that boosts your energy, protects your brain, and promotes healthy skin, hair, and nails. "It's also a complete protein (a protein source like meat, eggs, and milk that contains all nine essential amino acids), so it's a great addition to vegetarian and vegan diets," she noted. Nutritional yeast is growing in popularity, and Barron says you can expect to see it spike up in January 2017. "Its cheesy, nutty flavor makes it a great healthy topping for salads or salty snacks like popcorn," she said.
If you're always on the hunt for the next big vitamin to charge your inner batteries, Livestrong scribe Yael Grauer says we'll all be adding ashwagandha to our Amazon Prime list in 2017.
"Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which means it helps you adapt to stressors," said Grauer. "Although there is limited research on this claim, it is also thought to help improve sleep quality." The only time you should avoid ashwagandha is if you’re pregnant or are taking immunosuppressants, sedatives, or thyroid hormone medication.