Health Food Trends for 2018
(The Freeman) - January 1, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines -  The New Year will herald in a wave of new health trends for the kitchen cupboards of many homes. These trendspromise to make the skin glow and the waistline shrink.

Last year we got to grips with smoothie bowls and flexitariansim, and gave cauliflower rice and fermented foods a go. This year will see a similarly unusual array of new ideas for how we fuel up; but while some may be a little strange, many are backed by science.

These are the most likely trends to watch out for in 2018.


Just when we’ve learnt how to tell our kimchi from our kombucha, another gut-friendly group of foods arrives on the scene – prebiotics. Prebiotics are a relative to probiotics, which feed the ‘good’ bacteria already in our digestive system so that it can fight off the ‘bad’ bacteria in order to reduce bloating, diarrhoea and other digestive issues…

The Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology and the European Society for Primary Care Gastroenterology predict that prebiotics will be a growing trend in 2018. Both institutions suggest that in order to build levels of prebiotics, people should be eating two portions of fruit and five portions of vegetables a day.

Prebiotic foods particularly include garlic, onion, leeks and asparagus.

Birch Water

Set to replace coconut water as the health drink du jour, birch water is made from the sap of birch trees. It is more than just a way to stay hydrated – health benefits include clearing the skin, detoxing the liver, easing arthritis and reducing bloating.

“Birch water is packed with vitamin C, which aids brighter skin as it eliminates toxins. It also helps reduce acne for those who suffer from it,” said Paul Lederer, founder of TAPPED, who produce organic birch water.“The sap in birch trees is also an agent for detoxifying the liver. Birch water eliminates toxins that the liver processes, including alcohol and saturated fat.” Lederer added, “The excess water eliminated from the body through birch water, helps with both water retention and bloating.”

The anti-inflammatory properties in birch water which reduces swelling can purportedly help conditions such as arthritis and osteoarthritis. Drinking birch water is said to be also a preventative for a buildup of crystals in the joints which causes the pain.


New Year’s Day will see the start of another ‘Veganuary’ which 60,000 people participated in last January – a 260 percent rise from 2016.In 2018, experts are predicting that veganism – which involves not eating animal products – will go mainstream.This trend has been helped by the rise of vegan-friendly restaurants and food-to-go, meaning that the health-conscious can still keep up without spending hours near a blender or spiralizer.

Sugar-free Eating

It is now considered the culprit for premature ageing and expanding waistlines, and 2018 is likely to see many people fall out of love with sugar in a big way.“There has already been a move towards going sugar-free, but 2018 will see this trend become a daily staple in most people’s diets,” said Xochi Balfour, a naturopath and founder of The Naturalista.“This is because we are all finally waking up to the realities of how heavy sugar affects our physical body and our emotional states.”

Balfour explained, “From chronic hormone imbalance, poor skin and increased stress and nervous responses to insomnia, diabetes and depression, sugar has a huge role in interrupting all of our systems – and we are finally waking up to it.”

Balfour believes that people will start enjoying more unsweetened nut milks, green-only smoothies, pure dark chocolate and savory breakfasts.She also predicts an end for ‘healthy’ sweeteners that have been used as substitutes for sugar, such as agave, stevia and date syrup.


Personalized nutrition is backed by science, with research in recent years suggesting that how our bodies respond to certain foods – whether high-carb or low-fat – is very individual. However, this year will see this movement become even more personal, thanks to nutritarianism –where a person follows a nutritarian diet.

“This is creating personalized nutrition plans with a focus on gut bacteria issues, nootropics – substances that help boost cognitive function – and dietary requirements or preferences,” explained Anna-CariGund, managing director at spa consultancy Raison d’Etre.

The term “nutritarian” was coined by Dr Joel Fuhrman and involves following an eating regime that maximizes intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. It means eating nutrient-dense foods such as leafy green vegetables, other non-starchy vegetables such as peppers and aubergine, fruits, seeds, legumes and nuts.

Mushroom Coffee

These were recently discovered to be effective in the fight against dementia, and this year mushrooms look likely to achieve ‘superfood’ status. “Mushrooms are becoming ‘functional’, meaning they’re going to start cropping up in unexpected places,” said Darren Beale, founder of

“Think coffee, tea and health drinks.It’s all down to their super health benefits – they’re a powerful antioxidant and crammed with Vitamin D and B-Vitamins,” Beale added.


Forget superfoods, in 2018 it will be all about the powder – from matcha to maca, to turmeric and cacao.“The health and wellbeing benefits of so-called ‘superpowders’ has been well documented,” explained Beale.

“However,’she said,“in 2018 you can expect to see a powder explosion as good-for-your-body powders like turmeric, matcha and maca all of a sudden gain ‘must have’ status. And, yes, cacao is included in that too.”

Apple Cider Vinegar

It is a well-known savior for diabetes sufferers and those at risk of heart disease, and in 2018 the unlikely condiment is set to go mainstream. While last year it was drizzled on salads or consumed as a shot by Jennifer Aniston, it will begin to be re-purposed.According to Healthy Food Brands, it will next be used in soft drinks and mixers.


According to Evermore, adaptogens have become a real buzzword on the wellness scene recently and are set to be an even bigger trend in 2018.They are natural supplements said to manage levels of diabetes and cholesterol and also help fight fatigue and stress. This year will see them line up alongside well-known nutrients like magnesium and vitamin D in our cupboards.(

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