There are lots of things that shape our food and nutrition trends such as changes in the way we live, our income, the environment and an increased interest in improving our overall health.
Here, nutritionist Laurann O’Reilly and owner of Nutrition By Laurann, brings us through her top food and nutrition trends for 2022.
1) Digestive Health: There has been a continued rise of interest in the area of digestive health with it playing a key role in many areas such as immune health, the absorption of vitamins and minerals as well as mental health (see below).
This includes areas such as probiotics (gut bacteria) and prebiotics (gut foods) such as fermented foods and fibre.
There has also been an increased rise in the consumption of ‘free from’ foods including dairy free, lactose free, grain free and gluten free products (Bord Bia).
Note: One must be careful when opting for ‘free from’ foods or eliminating certain food groups, as in doing so you may also be cutting out essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium and B vitamins.
Feel free to contact me and I will guide you on the best approach for you.
2) Food For Mood: Whilst life can be busy and challenging for many of us, it’s important to remember that the foods we eat can also impact our mood and stress regulation.
Bringing digestive health back into the picture, our gut health plays a key role in the regulation of stress and mood, through the ‘gut-brain axis’.
As our gut is a major producer of our mood regulating compounds serotonin (we call our happy hormone), dopamine (our reward hormone) and gamma aminobutyric acid ‘GABA’ (our stress regulation chemical), taking care of our gut health can have a really positive impact on our overall mood.
3) Sustainable Eating: Innova Market insights conducted a study across eleven countries, which revealed that when it comes to food choices, the top two environmental actions people are taking are reducing waste (43% of respondents) and eating in moderation (32%).
With consumers stating that they want to be more ethically and environmentally conscious. One of the biggest shifts that are being seen is that “the health of the planet is now the top concern of consumers”.
4) Plant Based: There has been a huge surge in plant-based diets and it continues to be the case. When asked what reasons consumers have for considering plant-based alternatives, they tell us they consider it healthier and better for the planet.
According to Innova Market Insights, “over the past year there has been a +59% increase in new plant-based products”, these have refocused from mimics of meat, fish and dairy to improving natural plant-based foods.
Note: The Kerry Health & Nutrition Institute (KHNI) suggests being “mindful of sodium, sugar, and saturated fat content when choosing or creating plant-based alternatives”.
It’s also important to remember that animal-based products play an important role in our diets also, containing essential nutrients such as iron and are a valuable source of protein for the repair of our cells as well as building and maintaining our muscle mass.
5) Pleasure Cravings: During lockdown many of us uncovered innovative ways to entertain ourselves at home such as home meal experiences and experimenting with new recipes.
Now that restaurants are back open, there’s a new need for ‘amplified eating experiences’ outside of the norm.
Innova Market Insights research has found that “consumers have a greater awareness of the comforts and possibilities of home, so now seek more from going out”.
6) Immune Boosting: After the past couple of years that we’ve had, immune health still remains top priority. With that there’s been a keen interest in nutrients such as vitamins C and D as well as the minerals zinc and selenium for supporting the immune system (KHNI).
However according to KHNI “other ingredients have gained popularity amid the pandemic.
“These include ingredients like yeast beta-glucans, probiotics, echinacea, elderberry, and even garlic”. Note: Remember to choose ingredients or supplements which are supported by strong scientific evidence.
Also, if you are pregnant, lactating, have pre-existing medical conditions or you are taking medications always consult with your GP or pharmacist.
7) Active Aging: Naturally we all strive to live longer and healthier lives. Whilst there are many products and supplements out there that promise us an almost eternal youth, it’s important not to fall for false advertisements.
There are however some nutrition and lifestyle strategies that we can take to improve our health and quality of live as we age, such as getting enough physical activity and protein in our diets (to maintain muscle mass), avoiding smoking to optimise our lung health and meeting your fluid requirements with researching finding that “hydration has links to cognitive health and memory” (KHNI).
8) Alcohol Free Alternatives: The drinks industry has really come a long way over the past few years.
With a huge array of alcohol-free alternatives now available, you can now enjoy the pleasure of drinking without the dreaded hangover, your liver will thank you too.
These amazing alternatives include:
1) Beers: Such as Guinness 0%, Heineken 0%, Carlsberg Pilsner 0% and Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0%,
2) Ciders: Bulmers 0%, Kopparberg Alcohol Free Mixed Fruit Cider and
3) Gins: Gordon’s London Dry Gin 0.0%, Cedars Crisp Non-Alcoholic and Silk Tree Irish based gin alternative,
4) Vodka: STRYKK Not Vodka,
5) Wines: Torres Natureo Tinto 0.5% or White 0.5% and Carl Jung Red or Sparkling Non-Alcoholic Wine
9) Healthier Treats: You may be wondering if there’s such a thing, but what if I told you that it’s possible to have delicious treats with wholesome and nutritious ingredients.
These include power balls (mostly date based), healthy brownies (made with raw cocoa), breakfast muffins and banana oat pancakes.
10) Online Nutrition Consultations: The pandemic has led to an increased availability of online nutrition consultation services, all from the comfort of your own home or office.
Through virtual solutions, connecting with a nutritionist and receiving nutrition advice is just a few clicks away. Check out my online nutrition consultation packages here: https://link.nutritionbylaurann.ie
11) Corporate Wellness: The area of staff wellness has never been more important, whilst some are back in the office, many are still working from home and others are opting for a hybrid approach, maintaining the health and welfare of employees through wellness training wherever they may be is the key to ensuring their physical, mental and immune health.
Check out my corporate nutrition services here: https://link.nutritionbylaurann.ie/corporatenutritionservices
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.