The wellness trends we’ll be embracing in 2020

Jan 14, 2020
Online fitness classes will be a major focus this year. Source: Getty

It’s been a wild decade for health and wellness, from gluten-free fads and hemp-infused foods to high-intensity interval training, but a new year always brings new trends with it. Trends towards plant-based and healthy ageing will continue in the new year, and while it’s not a new trend, 2020 will see online fitness go to the next level. Here’s a quick overview of what to expect.

Gut health

Being keen to maintain a healthy gut is nothing new. Fermented foods like kombucha, pickled vegetables and kefir were a hot trend in 2019, but nutritionist Michaela Sparrow reckons this year gut health and ageing will be a major focus.

Previous studies have found that a healthy gut could be linked to healthy ageing. She says gut microbiome, which is the combined genetic material of the microorganisms (made up of good and bad bacteria) in the gut, plays a vital role in age-related inflammation, digestion, cognitive function and even mood. Meanwhile, an unhealthy gut can contribute to a wide range of health issues, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

“Ensuring we have a diverse and healthy amount of good bacteria in our gut is essential for healthy ageing,” Sparrow explains.

As is the case with many health conditions, she says eating more vegetables can do wonders for the gut. Her advice is to eat plenty of prebiotic-rich foods, such as garlic, onions, leeks and asparagus, and to increase intake of probiotic-rich foods and supplements.

Plant-based eating

Diets that are focused on produce rather than meat are set to be massive this year. Nowadays, a lot of people are shifting away from highly-processed foods and consuming whole foods instead.

Recent studies have shown that incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet offers a number of health benefits including a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes. However, vegetarian and vegan diets can be somewhat of a catch 22 as they’re typically lower in protein than meat-based diets and can be lacking in some key vitamins and minerals, such as iron, zinc and B12.

Online fitness

Forget gym and spin classes, online training is the next biggest fitness craze. You can find a wide variety of workout videos online, from yoga classes and full body workouts to dance workouts you can do at home — all you need is an internet connection and a little bit of space!

Sparrow says regular exercise not only helps with weight control by burning calories, it can also help you maintain muscle mass and stronger bones as you age.

“It’s never too late and no one is ever too old to start exercising and building muscle mass,” she says.

Broccoli sprouts

This year, as predicted by Sparrow, you can expect to see broccoli sprouts showing up on menus everywhere. If you’ve never seen or heard of broccoli sprouts, they’re basically three to four-day-old broccoli plants.

And as it turns out, broccoli sprouts are packed with nutrients including a super-compound called sulforaphane that helps fight cancer, promotes weight loss and reduces inflammation. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of sulforaphane is the activation of Nrf2, Sparrow explains.

“If you want to fight ageing and protect against disease you want to activate Nrf2.”

You can easily grow broccoli sprouts at home, or pick up from your local grocery store.

Limiting screen time

While food and fitness trends are constantly evolving, it’s also important to think about eye health. We spend a lot of time in front of screens, so it’s no surprise that we’re starting to limit screen time for ourselves in 2020.

Sparrow says too much exposure to night-time blue light (through smart phones, tablets and computers), can lead to a number of negative health outcomes, including difficulty sleeping, weight gain, heart disease and serious damage to the retina.

“If our sleep is disrupted (because we aren’t making melatonin due to blue light exposure) this has a cascading effect on our health, increasing production of stress hormones, inflammation and oxidative stress,” she explains.

If you’re worried about blue light exposure, there are several things you can do to reduce it, such as wearing glasses with amber lenses as this will filter out the blue wavelengths and protect your retinas. You can also make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of time you spend looking directly at screens or set your devices to block blue emissions.

Important information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and information purposes only. It does not take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. It is not personalised health advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any decisions about your health or changes to medication, diet and exercise routines you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from a medical professional.

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