4 health and lifestyle trends that will be everywhere in 2018
Gourmet foods for gut health
Want to feel amazing in 2018? Go with your gut. You may have already heard that the GI tract is home to trillions of bacteria that exert such a powerful influence on the body, scientists call the collective microbiome a “second brain.” But in the past 10 months alone, research has linked healthy gut flora to surprising perks like better appetite control, greater resilience to stress, even heightened sexual attractiveness. That may explain why Pinterest saves for “gut health” soared by 251 percent in 2017. While yogurt with active cultures and fermented foods such as kimchi are classic ways to boost good bacteria in the body, health-conscious foodies are spurring a new wave of trendy supermarket items made with beneficial microbes, from probiotic ice cream and nut butter to probiotic beer. For extra insurance, nourish your gut with fresh fruits and veggies (healthy bacteria love complex carbs) and swap out sugary soft drinks for water, fruit-infused seltzer or an anti-inflammatory tea like our bloat-busting Stomach Soother.
Shorter (and sweatier) workout sessions
So long, long runs. Toning up in 2018 will be all about quick bursts of super-vigorous exercise. When the American College of Sports Medicine surveyed 4,000-plus health and fitness pros this fall and asked them to forecast the biggest health trends for the coming year, their No. 1 answer was high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. Typically lasting 15 to 20 minutes, an HIIT session is defined by brief periods of “all-out” cardio—moving as hard and fast as humanely possible for 20 to 90 seconds—then resting for a brief spell and repeating. Mounting evidence suggests HIIT burns fat and builds muscle as well as (or more efficiently than) spending hours on the “dreadmill.” Plus, HIIT is better than moderate aerobic activity at helping people stick to their fitness goals. Want to try it? Here’s an HIIT how-to for newbies, and a healing salve to soothe your sore muscles afterward.
Solutions for sweeter dreams
No wonder one of Google’s top 5 health searches in 2017 was “Why am I so tired?” National data gathered from nearly 21,000 volunteers by biotech firm ResMed revealed that women were snoozing just 6 hours and 9 minutes a night as of last January, while men logged only 5 hours and 45 minutes of shut-eye—well under the 7-hour minimum recommended by many sleep experts. Fast forward to late 2017, however, and sound sleep is finally trending. Modern mattress startups such as Casper and Leesa have developed cult followings with affordable high-quality lines, kicking off what one report dubbed a “golden age of mattresses.” Meanwhile, research continues to grow in support of drug-free sleep aids like Longevity Apothecary’s aromatherapeutic oil blend. And next month’s Consumer Electronics Show will include an entire zone devoted to breakthroughs in sleep tech, including trackers, alarms and other innovations aimed at optimizing ZZZs. So much better than swilling seven cups of coffee.
Primo pampering for fur babies
Gen Y is all about nurturing Gen Fur. A 2017 poll by the American Pet Products Association found that millennials—adults born between 1980 and 1996—now account for 35 percent of pet owners in the U.S., officially surpassing their boomer parents as America’s biggest animal lovers. And this younger generation is more likely to treat Fido like fam: More than four out of ten said they think of their cats and dogs as “starter children” in an August poll, while in a separate 2017 Harris survey, 33 percent of millennial homeowners said their biggest reason for buying a place was to give their dogs room to roam. (Only 19 percent cited human children as a factor.) So it makes sense that millennial pet owners are ditching dubious pet-care products in favor of conscientious lines such as Bee Healthy Pets: all-natural, formulated with organic ingredients and made in the U.S. After all, considering how pets are proven to boost human health, why not return the favor?