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Top five natural health trends of 2017

The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) has consulted with industry experts and released the top five natural health trends to look out for in 2017 to help Canadians achieve their goals of healthier eating.

January 31, 2017  By Massage Therapy Canada staff

From flax seeds to cashews

“Canadians are becoming more conscious of their healthy habits,” says Michelle W. Book, in-house holistic nutritionist at CHFA. “There’s a lot more focus now on a holistic lifestyle that begins with natural health. By identifying these latest products in natural health, we want to help Canadians navigate through their health food stores and get a jump-start on their healthy year.”

Here’s what should be on your radar in 2017.

Whether you purchase or germinate them yourself, people coast to coast will be adding sprouts into their diets in 2017. Sprouted foods are low in calories and fats, but high in digestible protein, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. By allowing the seed or grain to sprout, the nutrients naturally present are released, and vitamins and minerals our bodies typically can’t access from the dried seed are activated during sprouting, allowing for better absorption.

Plant-based alternatives
In 2016, we saw the rise in excitement around vegan and raw menu options. With this has come a boom in plant-based alternatives to common dairy products, including yogurts, cheeses and beverages. While almond-, hemp-, soy- and coconut-based drinks remain popular, some exciting newcomers will be available at local health food stores in 2017, including alternatives made from flax seeds, hazelnuts and cashews. These options are super creamy yet low in calories. They’re also a great source of calcium, vitamins A, D and E, and are naturally lactose-free, with virtually no saturated fat or cholesterol.


Digestive enzymes
What makes digestive enzymes trend-worthy is that each one has a specific purpose that aids in proper and efficient digestion. Digestive enzymes work to break down specific parts of the foods we eat, such as carbohydrates, protein and fats. This helps our bodies absorb the nutrients better and can help to reduce bloating, indigestion, and the likelihood of ulcers from acid buildup in the stomach. Because cooking and processing may destroy enzymes found naturally occurring in foods, supplementing can fill this gap. Canadians may want to speak to their health-care practitioner to see if digestive enzyme supplements are right for them.

For a food that grows in the shadows, mushrooms are about to enjoy time in the spotlight. People will be paying attention to edible mushrooms, such as white and brown button mushrooms for their many health benefits. Both are a rich source of B-vitamins and minerals, including selenium and copper, and white button mushrooms can even help to reduce inflammation. In 2017, expect to hear more about mushroom supplements. Research suggests that maitake mushroom supplements make potent immune boosters due to their high concentration of the beneficial fibre called beta-glucan, while teas made from reishi mushrooms have also been hailed for their potent immune system effects.

Smart carbs
It’s time to throw out the junk and choose smarter. There will be many new and exciting carb foods made from beans rich in fibre. Many of these new healthy alternatives can result in better digestion, brain function and more balanced energy. While refined carbohydrates like white breads and pastries stress your body’s system, overwhelm the digestive tract and spike insulin levels, smart carb options allow the body time to break down and absorb them. Try swapping traditional pasta with bean pasta for a great nutritional boost, and ditching the chips for crunchy bean snacks instead.

CHFA is Canada’s largest national trade association dedicated to the natural health and organic products industry. The Association represents manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors and importers of natural health and organic products, with a membership of more than 1,000 businesses across the country.

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