All of us want to be happy, healthy, and strong, to live well and fully. And there are so many ways to achieve that these days — everything from supplements to meditation can play a role in this overall feeling of “wellness.” Of course, ideas about what can actually make you well change pretty often. (Remember the low-fat craze of the 90s?! Yeah, that was…not great.) So, what are health insiders buzzing about in 2017? These 7 picks represent some of the biggest natural health and wellness trends on the rise this year, the products and practices you can expect to see all over your Instagram feed — stat.
Collagen: Move over, bone broth — the latest buzzy animal health food product is collagen. A protein found in the connective tissue of animals, the substance is an amino acid that has serious benefits for your skin, hair, nails, digestion, joints, and more. Your own natural collagen supply slowly depletes as you age, so the thinking is that supplementing it helps keep skin supple, hair strong, and your gut humming along. You can find collagen in many different forms, including powders, capsules, and gels. Collagen peptides (like those made by Vital Proteins) can easily be stirred into any meal or drink, without leaving a weird aftertaste.
Turmeric: This ancient spice has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic cooking, but it’s just now gaining attention as a health trend in the US. And its popularity is well-earned: the active ingredients in turmeric, curcumin and turmerone, are anti-inflammatory and research on their effects on everything from arthritis to cancer is encouraging. These days, people are eating and drinking turmeric in smoothies, golden milk, tea, and more. You can snag your own bottle of turmeric at the grocery store and add the spice to curries and stir-fries. It’s also available as a concentrated capsule if you don’t like the taste.
Probiotic skin care: By now, you know probiotics are good for your digestive and immune systems. But did you know they’re also good for your skin? With companies like MotherDirt, TULA, and Aurelia gaining steam amongst skin-care gurus, beneficial bacteria in moisturizers, cleansers, and sprays are getting more and more common. The thinking is that the good microbes in products can help with acne, redness, dryness, and skin conditions like rosacea. Some dermatologists recommend you use them along with internal probiotics, too.
Himalayan salt lamps: You may have noticed himalayan salt lamps popping up on the Instagrams of the witchy girls you follow, looking all chunky and magical. Once available only at hippie retailers, they’ve now made their way into the mainstream. Fans say the pretty pink salt (mined in the Himalayas, hence the name), works as a natural air purifier and combats radiation from electronics. Their efficacy is debatable, but the rosy glow they give off will certainly add some hygge to your life.
Infrared saunas: Who doesn’t love a steamy session in a sauna? These days, people are touting the benefits of a lesser-known version of the heated room: the infrared sauna. Most saunas create heat by making the air hot via stones or a heater, but infrared saunas do it by heating with infrared light (similar to the way you get hot in sunlight). Infrared saunas are said to be a balm for a variety of health ailments, like obesity, digestive issues, arthritis, and more. Research on infrared saunas is pretty lacking, but sweating in one probably won’t hurt you and could help you with relaxation. You can look for a facility in your area that has one, or even buy your own so you can sweat in the privacy of your own home.
Adaptogens: While adaptogens have recently been gaining popularity, these herbal helpers have been used for centuries — and the term itself was actually coined just after World War II. Adaptogens are therapeutic herbs that support the body in combating the effects of stress, returning it to a more normal and balanced state of homeostasis. (For more on how, exactly, adaptogens work, check out this interview with an herbalist.) They’re not something you take daily, as adaptogens are more of a “use it when you need it,” type of supplement, when you’re feeling like stress or inflammation is high or your immune system is low. Herbs like rhodiola, ashwagandha, ginseng, maca, and holy basil all act as adaptogens, helping the body in different ways. You may have heard of “moon dust” — Moon Juice’s notoriously haute hippie products herbal blends are chock full of adaptogens, for sure, but you can easily get the benefits in the form of teas, tinctures or capsules, available at your local herb or natural grocery store.
Lucid dreaming: Meditation and mindfulness are almost de rigeur now — if you’re not practicing, you certainly know about the mental, physical and emotional benefits. But the next frontier of mind expansion happens when you’re asleep. Lucid dreaming is basically a way to be conscious while you dream. What you do and experience in these conscious dreams can eventually help you during your waking life, as some devotees say it has benefits for awareness, behavior, relationships, and even addiction. One company, Dream Reality Cinema, has made an LA-based virtual reality system to help people lucid dream. But you don’t have to shell out a huge amount of money to learn how, as the lucid dreaming section on Amazon is stocked with books that can help you DIY your own powerful, gorgeous dreams.