Set your sights on health and start your year right  


We, ever the eternal optimists, never fail to put down a few things that we hope we’ll do and achieve during our next twelve month sojourn around the sun. It signals how somehow we will try to be better than whom we were from last year, with lessons learned and a fresh sense of purpose. It is a ritual of hope.


And if 2020 taught us a lesson in anything, it’s that health should always be a priority. No matter who we are, where we are, or how busy we are, we halted on our tracks and asked ourselves if our bodies were “healthy enough” because who knows what ill winds will blow our way, COVID or otherwise. While we have seen businesses reopen, office work partially resume, and a few leisure activities return, complacency has no place given that this pandemic is far from over, it seems. It dawned on us that we all need to do something about it, beyond donning masks and spritzing sanitisers.


The truth is, we are all still reeling from last year’s wallop and these are changing the way we steer ourselves towards an unknown horizon, as evident in the this year’s strongest health trend forecasts.



Natural Immunity[1]


Only this time, our recourse to immunity is expanding beyond a daily vitamin pill in a bid to seek out gentler and safer natural protection. More people are looking in the direction of traditional lore for their everyday immunity boost in place of, or in addition to, straight-up vitamins. Those on the lookout for alternatives are now taking their grandmother’s advice seriously as new findings are promising on multiple benefits of certain ancient cures.


India’s Ayurveda practice has found resurgence via its holistic approach for the body’s wellbeing. For example, heralding ideas about the interconnectedness of digestion, blood circulation, gut health and immunity for centuries before it was a thing for current research.[2] And it carries a similar perspective with its herbal prescription, which feature plants that simultaneously go for the body’s protection by supporting several biological processes: think anti-inflammation, pathogen resistance, rejuvenation and mood boost all at once, as with Ashwagandha and Turmeric.[3] Although thankfully we don’t have to resort to the old timey ways of stewing and grinding these rather gnarly roots. Instead, one can just skip potentially off-putting brews and have them in capsule form as with Now Foods, CurcuFresh Curcumin and Now Foods, Ashwagandha.



Green is the Hottest Colour


Gone are the early days when veganism was just for the hippie types. In the age of social media, plant-based eating has only grown in popularity partly due to the greater ubiquity and accessibility of wellness influencers, but more due to the rising consciousness about eating’s ethical and environmental impact.[4]


But significantly different is how the trend is less about going hardcore with the diet shift, but more towards a more forgiving adaptation. Termed “flexitarianism,” its advocates point out how the end goal really is to reduce our meat consumption as much as we can and leniency with the occasional meat product makes the diet shift more sustainable.[5] This adaptive approach also helps people with specific dietary needs like Vitamins D or B12 (which rely heavily on animal-based sources) to think about eating more green meals besides the occasional meat or dairy rather than scrambling for expensive vegan alternatives.


One helpful development in this area is the boom of meat substitutes. What once required a trip to a vegan health store, these alternatives are more and more visible in physical and online stores—and even in restaurant menus.[6] Frequently made with protein-rich plant ingredients like soy, they feature improved textures with less of unwanted flavours and mimic beef, pork, and. Like with Now Foods, Real Food, Organic Textured Soy Protein, Granules, these are easily used in place of meat in many recipes.


With mainstream demand on the rise, vegan options are rapidly diversifying to offer new products, flavours, and culinary applications. Behind much of these are nuts, pulses, and legumes. Chickpeas, for example, are being interpreted into pretty much anything from bread to spreads to sauces.[7] Once just Keto diet ingredients, almond and coconut flours are also being adapted to lessen carbohydrates and add much needed protein for vegan-minded bakers, as with Now Foods Organic Coconut Flour and Now Foods Organic Almond Flour.


Stepping out


As many of us have been reasonably cautious with outdoor trips last year, the promise of better conditions this year has us just positively anticipating trips to nature in the coming months. And not just that, we’re also looking forward to exercising outdoors once more as gyms might not be safe yet but we’re all just itching to get ourselves moving.


A prevailing favourite is cycling. The combination of skipping potential crowds at the MRT, getting your blood pumped up, and just the free, fresh air coursing through you has only strengthened the enthusiasm for biking for many Singaporeans.[8] Another irresistible plus: being able to reach parks more easily, so one can unwind or do other sports aside from biking in one excursion.[9]


Craving for outdoor exercise goes beyond wanting to shed all that quarantine food poundage. Higher levels of exposure to green spaces pose a benefit in lowering our risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes while de-stressing both our bodies and minds. It is also seen to alleviate anxiety and depressive symptoms, which can help those who are mentally affected by isolation and current events. [10]


But excited as we are to be outside again, keep in mind that precautions still have to be practiced. Minimising contact with crowds may mean packing our meals in our rucksacks, or munching on portable snacks (like our favourites Now Foods Certified Organic Dried Apricots and Now Foods Raw Energy Nut Mix and simply have a meal back at home.


A bonus tip: don’t be a noob and forget hydrating adequately! Staying hydrated keeps the blood pressure stable during exercise. Insufficient liquids during strenuous activities can lead to dizziness and fainting. This is especially true for those who haven’t done anything vigorous for a while. Keep dehydration at bay by packing your own water and a portable Vitamin C drink, like the Now Foods Effer-Hydrate Lemon Lime Tablets, which provides electrolytes and immunity in a refreshingly effervescent drink.


Collective fingers crossed, we’re hoping that the next twelve months will be kinder to us. And while its certainty is quite out of our hands, the next best thing is to be proactive in making things better for ourselves and for those around us, while enjoying all what life has to give us at this moment.


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