What does the crystal ball say for health trends in 2022?

From plant-based diet to mental health awareness and focus on exercise, we take a look at some of the emerging health trends for 2022.
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It’s the new year and everyone’s focus is on getting their health, body, and mind back on track. Post the holidays and the celebrations, that blast of energy starts to subdue everywhere! As a global entity, there is much more focus on wellness, and I’m happy to share that more and more practitioners are entering this space, hoping to make a difference in the lives of many. What is going to emerge through 2022 in terms of health trends?

1. Plant-based diet

There is a lot of movement towards a plant-based diet. This includes practitioners advocating for it, environmental reasons, plant-based products, and several plant-based ingredients available today for optimal health. This is not a transient trend but is very much here to stay globally.

If you are considering jumping on the plant-based bandwagon, or already have, do remind yourself that you need some professional guidance if you want to make this work.

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Many people start eating plant-based diet and are guided poorly by someone who does not know about the nutritional intricacies of this diet or the individual body. This results in them starting enthusiastically, and then gradually feeling the detrimental impacts from not implementing correctly, and at times giving up or chugging along. If you do find that it does not work for you, you do not owe anyone an explanation. If you find that you are forcing yourself to stay that way and silently suffering symptoms, get the guidance that you need so that your ethical choices can be long lasting safely.

2. Age of the microbiome

This last decade has brought a lot of attention to the role of the microbiome in all health, and 2022 promises the same. Research in the connection of the microbiome to different systems, symptoms, and conditions has been phenomenal! As research grows, it provides us with valuable information on how we can support our health and create vibrancy and serenity.

The balance between the beneficial and the pathogenic bacteria is required to maintain homeostasis and for several functions to occur. This balance prevents them from becoming pathogenic and they stimulate the growth of the intestine lining and therefore protect the immune system. They are also structural. This means that they form a part of the intestine barrier and prevent intestinal permeability.

They also help synthesise biotin, folate and vitamin K. Without them, there is muscle activity in the intestine and this leads to constipation, the root of most health issues. They are also your perpetual antimicrobial.

What happens with most people is that this bacterial relationship can become pathogenic, where the harmful outweigh the beneficial. This causes damage to you.

Several things are required to build a robust microbiome, one that is rich in beneficial bacteria as well as in the diversity and variety, so that it can be deeply protective. You require soluble fibre, insoluble fibre, resistant starches, prebiotics, probiotics and polyphenols. The best way to build a great microbiome is to eat vegetables at all meals.

3. Mental health awareness

It is great to see mental health awareness growing every day. Mental health globally has moved to a more integrative approach, where therapy, medication if required, understanding physiological root causes, and correcting the body’s terrain come together to provide the patient with the best possible outcome.

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Looking into inflammatory lab markers, understanding the patient’s protein intake, peeking into nutrient status of iron, B12, omega-3, zinc and D3, assessing liver health and exploring hormonal balance provide a patient the best results.

I am not sure if India is there as yet. Let’s call this my health trend wish to the crystal ball for 2022. Even if you are on medication, you can always be your own advocate, asking your doctor to look deeper at these areas. You could also ask a nutritionist to work alongside your psychologist, as your health, needs a team effort!

4. Less alcohol and more exercise

As is usually the case after the whirlwind of celebrations at the end of one year, anyone who has gone wild and berserk, will try to restore balance in the new year. The year always begins with people consuming less alcohol, indulging in mindful eating, and restoring exercise regimes. It is common for people to add weight in the last month of the year, and once they are back to work, and the kids are back to school, there is restoration in schedule. That disrupted circadian rhythm of the year end starts to come back on track, guided by school timings. The added weight suddenly gets noticed, and food gets on track. Opportunities to drink reduce. Exercise and fitness studios are full in the new year.

5. Keto craze may start to fade

Keto is something that was big in 2021. However, several practitioners speaking keto do not advocate for a strict keto. At times, it is a general low carb diet that they are promoting. Further, there is a world of difference between a healthy keto and a dirty keto. A keto diet high in cottage cheese, especially in a plant-based keto, can start to fade as people notice increase in inflammatory symptoms.

Strict keto is not highly practical either. Adhering strictly to a keto diet is restrictive and challenging to many. The trend is likely to fade, especially as those who did not see improvement in weight and symptoms, gradually drop it and move to other sustainable diets. You might yourself let go, seeing that it did not make a great difference to your health.

Edited by Megha Reddy

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)