We’ve started a new year, which means it’s time to make some resolutions, and those that center on better health tend to top the list. Whether you’re planning to drop a few holiday pounds or the pandemic has placed your focus squarely on mental and emotional health needs, your diet plays a major role in overall health and wellness.

Here are some of the top emerging trends to help you find balance and improve your outlook in the new year.

Natural Ingredients for Better Balance

Over the past two years, the conversation about health has shifted from one focusing primarily on weight management and functional fitness to one about holistic practices and medicine. This approach addresses not just physical but mental and emotional health. A balanced diet and regular exercise are great, but what are they doing for your psyche and your spirit?

For 2022, consumers are seeking ingredients that cleanse the body, improve gut health, boost immunity, combat stress, and generally produce overall feelings of wellness, strength, and relaxation. Which ingredients are topping the list for better balance this year?

Immune-Boosting Ingredients

First, there was coronavirus. Then, there were the inevitable mutations, including prominent delta and omicron strains. Now, we’re facing flu-rona (seasonal flu plus coronavirus) heading into the heart of winter.

In other words, now is a great time to focus on natural options to bolster immunity, and there are a number of ways to get started.

Related: What's New in Mood Altering Food & Drinks

Addressing gut health is vital. When your microbiome is healthy and strong, it can help to combat the introduction of toxins and pathogens, so you might want to add ingredients like miso and kefir to your diet.

If you’re worried about the detrimental effects of inflammation, consider anti-inflammatory ginger and turmeric. Or up your intake of ginseng for better general health and wellness.

Stress-Busting Ingredients

Mushrooms are on an upward trajectory heading into 2022, with dozens of varieties popping up in savory dishes like pizza, pasta, quiche, and tacos. You can even find them in desserts like candy cap mushroom cupcakes (the mushrooms taste like maple syrup, no joke).

While you might think psychedelic mushrooms are the only ones that can boost your mood, plain old cremini or shiitake mushrooms deliver tons of health benefits.

For example, mushrooms raised in sunlight offer a healthy dose of vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), which is known to reduce feelings of depression, boost immunity, and aid in weight loss.

Oat straw extract (or oat grass) is another ingredient to consider. This plant-based supplement may help reduce proinflammatory cytokines that contribute to depression, and saffron is good for more than just seasoning your rice or paella. It could also help to address depressive symptoms.

Natural Weight-Loss Support

If you packed on the “corona 15” during quarantine, you might be looking for ways to trim some fat in 2022. The current trend in dieting involves a focus on mindful eating rather than eliminating foods or cutting calories.

Related: How Consumers Achieve Emotional Wellbeing Through Food and Beverage

Two ingredients that may help you on your way are apple cider vinegar and celery. While there’s little evidence to support the link between apple cider vinegar and weight loss, the acetic acid it contains has been found to improve metabolism and suppress appetite in studies with rats.

Celery, on the other hand, is high in water and electrolytes, which help your body stay hydrated and balanced. It’s also a great source of dietary fiber, a key ingredient in healthy digestion and weight loss.

Balancing Energy and Relaxation Naturally

Plenty of people get through the day by pounding espresso shots, combatting the inevitable crash when the caffeine drops off, and then struggling to sleep at night. This only serves to create a vicious cycle of sleep disruption and fatigue, but there is a better way. You can break the cycle and regain a healthier balance with natural ingredients to promote wakefulness and sleepiness.

If you can’t do without that morning boost coffee provides, consider swapping in matcha green tea to boost energy and uplift mood, or add wheatgrass or spirulina to your morning routine to help you face the day bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Ginkgo and ginseng may help you attain the focus you need to hit the ground running.

So how do you deal with daily stress in order to relax and enjoy a restful slumber? Chamomile tea is a celebrated classic, but you can also turn to options like golden milk (warm milk with spices like cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and/or nutmeg) that are gaining popularity as of late.

If you’re looking for holistic ways to achieve better balance and improve overall health and wellness in 2022, focus on ingredients that boost immunity, bust stress, aid in maintaining a healthy weight, and balance energy and relaxation. 

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