Health & Wellness Trends That You’ll See Popping Up Everywhere

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The original Latin meaning of the word doctor is “to teach.”

As a physician, I consider myself to be an educator, first and foremost. I love teaching my patients about their medical, surgical, and cosmetic options, and helping them to choose the best possible course of action to get the results that they want.

Of course, part of being a good teacher is being willing to learn new things! Especially in the medical industry, where innovations are constantly emerging, it’s important to be a “lifelong learner” and stay on top of all the latest trends, such as these:

1. Inflammation-fighting foods.

You’ve probably heard that “inflammation” isn’t good for your body, but what is inflammation, exactly? Well, there are several kinds. There’s arthritis, which is a type of inflammation that affects your joints and bones. There’s asthma, which happens when your lungs become irritated and inflamed. There’s inflammatory bowel disease, which you can probably picture without much of an explanation from me, and many others.

Research shows that switching to a clean, minimally processed diet can dramatically reduce the amount of inflammation in your body and can help to reduce—or even reverse and cure—many types of diseases.

Food manufacturers are hopping on the anti-inflammation train with protein bars, bottled drinks, and tea blends packed with inflammation-fighting ingredients like goldenberry, turmeric, and ginger. Expect to see a whole slew of new inflammation-fighting products hitting the grocery store shelves.

And don’t forget to eat plenty of whole foods like leafy greens, broccoli, bok choy, celery, beets, blueberries, pineapple, wild caught salmon, bone broth, walnuts, coconut oil, flax and chia seeds.

2. Flotation therapy.

Imagine sealing yourself into a pitch-black chamber, stark naked, and then floating in a shallow pool of water infused with Epsom salts for thirty to sixty minutes. Sound like fun?

Flotation tanks (also called, “flotation therapy tanks” or “sensory deprivation tanks”) are popping up in Los Angeles, New York City, Brooklyn, and many of other major cities. Flotation fans swear that it’s an incredibly relaxing experience—no light, no sound, and a soothing feeling of weightlessness that can be very meditative. A “float session” may help to alleviate anxiety and depression and promote deeper sleep.

I tried an early version of this during college. It was a bit scary at first, but when I got used to it, it was very relaxing, and I think I even dozed off!

3. Tech-driven fitness.

Doesn’t it seem like everyone is suddenly wearing a FitBit monitor to track their daily activities, or checking their daily steps on a smartphone pedometer app? Soon clothing will come with all kinds of embedded monitors. We’ll be able to monitor our blood sugar without a finger prick. Tech, health, and fitness are colliding in all sorts of exciting ways. As just one example, Orangetheory Fitness is a company that provides high-intensity workouts featuring a heart monitor that tracks how hard you’re working. They’re opening a brand new Orangetheory studio in a new city every single day for one year. (Yes, we’ve even got one in Fargo!)

4. New FDA labels.

In the not-too-distant future, those labels on your food and drinks will look a little different! The calorie and serving size numbers will be much bigger, and you’ll see a new section that explains how much “added sugar” has been packed into the product.

This new, redesigned label will be mandatory on all packaged foods by summer 2018, but you might see certain companies rolling out the new labels even sooner than that. (Here’s the old label style on the left, and the new style on the right.)

I’m definitely in favor of these new labeling standards because here in America, we’ve got a serious sugar problem, in case you haven’t heard. There’s so much sugar that’s sneaking into almost everything we eat, even non-obvious culprits like pasta sauce and salad dressing.

Excessive sugar consumption raises your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and many other serious illnesses. Hopefully, these new labels will help us become much more mindful about how much sugar we’re actually consuming. Those sugar grams add up quickly, and really, you don’t need them.

You’re sweet enough as it is.

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