The wellness world moves a mile a minute. What was “healthy” 3 years, 3 weeks, or even 3 days ago might not be anymore; and from wellness retreats to superfoods to self-care rituals and supplements, it’s hard to keep up with what’s popular at the moment.
As a culture, we’ve turned being healthy into a trend — a trend that’s expensive and time consuming to try and keep up with. And while it’s great to have goals and be actively involved in your own health, getting too tied up in what’s popular at the moment can be daunting, exhausting, and even dangerous.
As a functional medicine practitioner doctor, a big part of my job is helping you tell the difference between wellness trends that can actually improve your health and those that you’d be wise to let pass you by.
Here are three things to keep in mind when you’re trying to decide if something is right for you:
1. No two bodies are the same
In recent years, we’ve learned just how much everyone’s DNA, physiology, and health status are different. And while there’s usually no harm in trying out new things, listening to your body is essential. If you notice that a wellness trend — whether it be cryotherapy, the newest HIIT workout, or a low-carb diet — is putting unnecessary stress on your body or mind, there’s no need to force it. Not every fad is worth implementing in your own life.
2. Obsessing is not the same thing as being healthy
There’s sometimes a fine line between healthy living and obsessive living. If you find yourself hyper-focusing on everything that goes on your plate and how much you’re working out, it’s time to re-think your approach. If any wellness trend is turning into an unhealthy obsession, feels out of balance, puts you in debt, or causes fear relating to food or about ‘’breaking the rules,’’ it’s time to stop. It is not the right trend for you. Instead, your motivation should be loving your body enough to take care for it. You can’t heal a body you hate.
3. The research matters
When you first hear about a new wellness trend, the first thing you should ask it: What does the research say? The good news is that plenty of wellness trends — like the ketogenic diet — have a ton of science behind them. In fact, this high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet has science-backed benefits like weight loss, restored energy, stabilized blood sugar, enhanced cognitive function, and more, and because of this, more people are continuing to hop on the keto train. My book Ketotarian, goes into depth on why I think this wellness trend is one worth paying attention to.
Another trend to keep an eye out for is intermittent fasting, which has actually been recommended by health experts for centuries but has just recently really grown in popularity. When put to the test, IF has demonstrated some amazing health benefits such as reduced inflammation, increased cellular health, and a faster metabolism. (To learn more about fasting, read my definitive guide to fasting).
Another trend that I’m excited by is adaptogens, which you’ll find all over Los Angeles and New York infused into lattes, treats, and beauty products. The word adaptogen is used to describe a wide variety of different natural medicines that have a few things in common: They are safe and they have a balancing effect on something called the hypothalamic-pituitary-endocrine axis, which largely controls your stress response. Many people struggling with hormone problems, weight gain, fatigue, anxiety, and depression can benefit from this group of plant medicines.
Personally, I’m so excited about the research surrounding adaptogens and other ways to calm stress and inflammation that I put together Calm Yourself, a supplement pack that provides synergistic support of adaptogens and other plant compounds to do just that.
As a general rule, evaluate wellness trends on a case by case basis. If you want more definitive answers on whether something will benefit your health or not, I always recommend working directly with a functional medicine practitioner who can run labs and is trained to make recommendations on what foods, diets, supplements, or lifestyle routines that will optimize your personal health.
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer webcam as well as in-person consultations for people across the country and around the world.
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