As we welcome a fresh year, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and make some simple tweaks to your daily routine and factor in some good-for-you habits. January is typically the month that most of us try to eat better, move more and look for a new lease of life to power us through the start of the year. If improving your health and wellbeing is something you’re looking to prioritise this year, you’re in luck! Below, we’ve summarised the hottest trends in the world of health and wellness for 2024. Read on to find out how you can embrace some or all of these to better your health this new year.
1. Brain-health-boosting nootropics and adaptogens
The importance of looking after our brain is gaining significant attention as it may be linked with improving both mental and physical health. Improving focus and cognitive performance, achieving mental clarity, and alleviating “brain fog” are just some of the reasons why looking after your brain should be at the top of your wellness to-do list.
Nootropics and adaptogens have risen in popularity in recent years as they may be associated with improved mental wellbeing and performance. Nootropics may enhance cognitive ability through boosting memory, learning and thinking ability.
Examples include ginkgo biloba, Lion’s Mane, L-theanine and Reishi. Adaptogens help the body to cope with mental and physical stress and examples include ashwagandha, astragalus, rhodiola and schisandra. Together, they are a match-made-in-heaven and may be one of the most effective tools to stay on top of your brain health. Both nootropics and adaptogens are available as supplements, as well as through herbal teas and powders that can be made into a latte-type-of-drink.
2. Biohacking habits that promote longevity
Longevity is the buzzword to look out for in the 2024 health and wellness scene. Intensity is out, and consistency is in! The concept of living a longer and healthier life is a trend that is set to stay as people are seeking ways to age gracefully and feel their best while doing it.
Good quality sleep and nutrition are well-supported ways to improve your health, however, the quest for longevity is leading to new ‘biohacking’ techniques. Some of these involve breathwork, saunas, intermittent fasting and cold-water therapy, all of which may be linked with promoting optimal health. And of course, paying attention to our gut health through building a diverse and resilient microbiome is important as it may be associated with healthier ageing and overall longevity.
3. Microbiome cleansing
Our microbiome is the community of microorganisms including fungi, bacteria and viruses that live within our bodies. There is an increasing body of research supporting the gut-brain connection, which involves the bidirectional relationship between gut health and important processes such as immunity, inflammation, hormone balance.
Poor gut health may be associated with increased risk of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. Focusing on ‘microbiome cleansing’ or in other words, feeding your gut with good stuff that helps get rid of the bad stuff, is a trend that is set to flourish in 2024. To be specific, this involves consuming a diverse, whole-foods diet incorporating probiotics, prebiotics and fibre-rich produce. To get you started, try our Berry Gut Health Juice Shot, which is packed with live cultures to fuel your gut health.
4. Caffeine-alternatives with even more benefits
Coffee alternatives that provide a sustainable energy boost along with other health benefits will continue to gain popularity in 2024. Matcha, the holy grail drink for long-lasting energy without the crashes, is a concentrated form of green tea powder originating from Japan. Along with its slow-releasing caffeine content, it contains an array of nutritious ingredients such as L-theanine, chlorophyll and antioxidants. To name a few health benefits, matcha may be linked with increased energy, reduced stress levels, improved cognitive function and better mental clarity.
A lesser known caffeine alternative is Yerba Mate, an antioxidant-rich tea originating from South America, which makes a delicious herbal tea form and may lead to increased energy, improved mental focus, balanced blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation in the body.
5. The power of a plant-based
Following a plant-based lifestyle is set to increased again in 2024 as research unfolds supporting the link between the consumption of plant-based foods and their potential health benefits. Faux plant-meats and ultra processed plant-options might be out but a variety of fibre-rich natural and unprocessed plant-proteins such as beans and legumes, grains, lentils, nuts and seeds, and soy is another trend that is likely to stick this year. Lowered meat consumption, particularly red and processed meats, may be associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases. Focusing on plant-based foods may be beneficial from a planetary perspective, as research states that plant-based diets result in 75% less climate-heating emissions, water pollution and land use than diets containing 100g of meat a day.
6. Personalised nutrition
Personalised nutrition, also known as precision nutrition, is increasingly in demand and involves health professionals creating tailored plans to address and prevent chronic diseases by considering an individual’s unique characteristics such as DNA, race, gender, health history and lifestyle habits. This movement is largely driven by nutrigenomics, which involves the study of how genetics may affect a person’s response to certain foods.
To put this into context, our genetic makeup could explain why some people can drink endless cups of coffee and feel fine, while others may experience jitters and anxiety after just one cup. Research has identified genes specifically related to caffeine consumption, which indicate how efficiently the body can metabolise and excrete caffeine. A range of private companies offer nutrigenomic tests to the public, however more research is needed in this area to confirm their precision and accuracy.
Author: Plenish Nutritionist, Katie Morley
DipNT, mBANT, mANP, CNHC
Email: [email protected]