Top 8 Health + Wellness Trends for 2023
Here at Ancient + Brave we love to buck the trend, find innovative ways and lead the pack with our wellbeing strategies and nutritional protocols. With 2023 just around the corner, talk of upcoming wellbeing trends is emerging and thankfully a few ‘new kids on the block’ have long been embedded into our Brave Lifestyle. 2023 prediction reports show a rise in popularity for food provenance, organic, sustainable and eco everything and personalised nutrition - we’re delighted to see these particular concepts will be here to stay in the very near future.
Our in house nutritionist has also found a rise in some new trends we can certainly get behind too. Check out our 2023 list of positive wellbeing predictions;
1. The Rise of ‘Yăng Shēng’
Rather than the old model of ‘following diets’ with stringent and strict rules (which may work for one person but not another), yăng shēng is an ancient Chinese concept which means a ‘nourishing life’.
A foundation of health in Traditional Chinese Medicine, yăng shēng is the practice of holistic health and well-being, nurturing many aspects of your life including body, mind and spirit in harmony with the natural rhythms - a concept we can truly get behind!
It also takes into consideration universal laws and core theories such as yin and yang (read: balance) and seasonality. Whilst physical health is still a pillar of yăng shēng, there is a huge emphasis on the interaction between the soul and spirit with the body. In 2023 we predict a movement to this more intuitive and flexible way of looking at what we eat, how we move our bodies and choose to wind down. Want to know more (and we wouldn't blame you) check out our yăng shēng article.
2. Protein needs for thriving, not just surviving.
It’s no surprise we’re a fan of protein here and we’ve long been flying the flag for people to reach their optimal requirements, rather than just a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA).
It’s worth noting that the current RDA for protein is 0.8 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. It’s arguably in line with what many adults in the UK are eating and yet an RDA is an estimated minimum amount of protein you should be eating to avoid deficiency, nitrogen imbalance and muscle loss. Therefore the 0.8g/kg number is going to fall short of what's optimal for most people’s health.
Luckily a growing number of nutrition experts are now advising people to reach beyond ‘just avoiding deficiency’ and increase their protein intake closer to 1.0 all the way to 1.6grams per kilogram of body weight. There is also a bigger emphasis on tailoring protein requirements to life stages rather than just activity levels; those who at an older age or going through pregnancy and post-natal healing will need higher levels of protein.
Protein timing is also key and set to be a focus for the future. It appears that eating protein in the first and last meal of the day is most important. A protein based breakfast is optimal for activating muscle hypertrophy after a period of sleep (growth of muscle cells) which is important for not just for those looking to build muscle but for anyone looking to live a healthy life full of vitality.
We’re all up for a bigger focus on protein - however, whether you choose plant or animal (or both), we think it’s incredibly important to be intentional and conscious about where your protein comes from and how it gets to our plates.
3. The ‘biotics’ family
The past decade has seen an explosion of information about the microbes we live with and many of us are now well-versed in the power of probiotics. Our understanding of these living bacterias and yeasts that appear to be good for us is only scratching the surface and there is no doubt more to uncover the more we get to know the different strains and species living within and on us. What we do know is that gut health and the balance of these probiotic microbes is incredibly important to our overall health and wellbeing. Whether or not you experience problems with your gut - the health of it should always be at the back of your mind due to the far reaching effects it has on our overall wellness.
2022 saw a rise in the importance of prebiotics, which function as a food source for your probiotics and gut microbes and these now feature in many gut supporting supplements and functional foods. To give our gut bugs enough prebiotics, which come in the form of fibre, it is recommended we get around 30g of dietary fibre every day. However, the latest figures suggest that in the UK, the average fibre intake for adults is 18g, 60% of what it should be.
As well as pre and probiotics, get ready to see a rise in the interest around postbiotics, synbiotics and psychobiotics!
Post-biotics are substances probiotics create through fermentation. It’s helpful to understand that all three work in a continuum; prebiotics feed probiotics, which produce postbiotics. In fact many of the health benefits we credit to pre and probiotics may actually be the work of postbiotics. Key players include short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, that are used as a major energy source for the colon and impact many metabolic processes. Research on postbiotics is still fairly new and limited, however, initial research may point to benefits such as helping to maintain a healthy immune system, reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar and modulating the microbiome in our gut.
A synbiotic is a supplementation term, which is simply given to prebiotics and probiotics found together in one product. These combinations ideally will have been tested together.
Psychobiotics are probiotics or probiotics that have been found to influence bacteria–brain relationships. We know the gut-brain link is a powerful one and future studies are looking for exactly which these psychobiotics help to reduce anxiety, depression and exert cognitive changes.
Know your biotics now?! Warning: there may be more to come…
4. 2023 Superfoods heroes
Some once thought exotic superfoods are now well within most people’s repertoire of favourite ingredients - turmeric, cacao and antioxidant rich berries feature in some of our top products with impressive benefits and studies to back up the claims.
In 2023, it is predicted that the next generation of superfoods will emerge from our seas.
Already a staple in many Asain cuisines, thanks to their super rich nutrient diversity, sea vegetables, algaes and seaweed are becoming more mainstream in people's diet and supplementation.
Research shows us that as far back as 2.5million years ago, our early ancestors were consuming seaweed as part of their diet. High in prebiotic fibre and key nutrients such as iodine and antioxidants such as vitamins A,C and E - it’s easy to see why these foods are set to feature in our snacks and recipe development.
Looking to our seas for inspiration isn’t all that new here at Ancient and Brave HQ - you can already find sustainably sourced seaweed in our Vegan blends and of course our beautifully pure Wild Collagen features marine collagen from the North Atlantic.
5. Health + Wellness Community Spaces
There’s no doubt about it - we’re still feeling the hangover from lockdown days and the repercussions of isolation are beginning to emerge. In a recent UK report, around a quarter of adults (25%) reported feeling lonely always, often or some of the time. One of the many reasons this appears to be happening is the huge decline of social infrastructure and massive rise in online interaction.
The antidote for this may well be building however. 2023 looks set to welcome the rise of community based well-being spaces to meet the growing need for connection. These innovative spaces go beyond only having a gym with a sauna attached. Their blueprint is that of a holistic social space which offers many, many modalities all under one roof. Think of places where you may go for a yoga class but leave with advice on acupressure, or head in for a manicure and leave with a new breathing technique to reduce stress.
Therme in Manchester is one example; a modern bath house which combines beautiful botanical gardens with thermal bathing, wellbeing spa, nutritious food, entertainment and an on-site urban farm - with a business model designed to keep the entrance price low.
Proponents of this movement to social wellbeing spaces have noticed after the age of internet-only-connection, people now want convenient wellness but also in a space that creates a community where you can be surrounded by others experiencing similar struggles, wins, insecurities, and goals - making us all a little bit less alone.
As the saying goes, you are only as healthy as your community is - and hopefully ours is set to become healthier.
6. Movement Goes Primal
In the fitness world, something has been building over the past few years, set to take 2023 by strom. A move away from punishment in the gym to instead using functional exercises and movements that our bodies are naturally designed to perform.
Functional Fitness or Primal movement centres around core movements that are thought to be at heart the of all of the actions we perform, or our ancestors would have performed, in daily life. These patterns include squats, lunges, pushing, pulling, twisting, bending and locomotion.
Performing these actions takes us closer to our ancestral health, using the basis of human movement used in history to help humans survive and thrive.
7. Circadian Friendly Homes
For those of you who have been following Ancient + Brave for a while, you’ll know that light or lack of light at the right moments has huge impacts on your body and it’s internal circadian rhythm. The more we learn, the more crucial we are realising light and light spectrums are to our health. Circadian misalignment between your light exposure and your body clock has been shown to have a negative impact on sleep, hormone health, blood sugar management, nervous system health, heart health and even skin health. Where conscious light consumption has been shown to have positive effects on our mood, digestive health and energy levels. This has led to a new rising trend of bringing circadian lighting into the designs of our homes.
With simple additions already available such as a sunrise mimicking alarm clocks, blue light blocking glasses, light boxes and blackout curtains, it’s easy to make light work for you within your daily routine. Smart lighting steps up the game, bringing circadian style light programming into the design of our home.
One of the key concepts when working with your circadian rhythms is the establishment of routine. Smart lighting can be preset to create a healthy light routine that becomes integrated into your daily life without you needing to even think about it. This program can be as complex or as simple as you like to complement your personal routines and circadian clock. The consistency created by the automatic lighting is suggested to help create better sleep patterns and accompanying health benefits that comes with this.
8. Alternative ways to release
2022 showed a huge rise in the interest of psychedelic treatment for mental health. Although popular during the 1960’s and 70’s, specialists and therapists have been looking to plant medicine in more recent years as a way of changing the course of mental health treatment.
Thanks in part to the popularity of best-selling author Michael Pollan’s recent book and Netflix documentary, "How To Change Your Mind”, the Science Of Psychedelics, research and experimentation with psychedelics has gone mainstream.
Psilocybin mushrooms are legal in some parts of the world already, from the Netherlands, Jamaica and Brazil where ayahuasca is also available. Going even further, some wellness resorts in the Bahamas already offer psilocybin mushrooms-assisted healing, many also offer ibogaine treatment for addiction.
As ongoing clinical trials are starting to challenge illegal classifications globally, psychedelics are making waves in the legal realm, with some states in the USA voting for decriminalisation and legalisation, opening up the window for use as a therapeutic aid to treat post traumatic stress order, depression and anxiety across the pond.
2023 sets to add to this rising interest by going deeper into the roots and history of psychedelics. Certain psychedelics—ayahuasca and psilocybin included— have been embedded in some cultures for millennia and come from shamanic traditions. These cultures know how best to use these powerful plants and the rituals they undertake brings a deeper understanding and respect to what they can do. It has been argued that without the support of a shaman or expert in mental health and plant medicine, these therapeutic agents cannot be put to use optimally and with the reverence they deserve.
An awareness in mysticism has caught alight recently, especially among millennials, who are seeking everything from energy healing, psychic readings and aura photography. A desire to be connected to something bigger than ourselves is much less ‘woo’ and much more conventional in conversation around the dinner table. Will we see a rise in psychedelic-shamanic therapies? Watch this space.