The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.
One of the most rewarding parts of my job as Heinen’s Registered Dietitian is introducing loyal, health-conscious customers to new developments in wellness. I sat down with our Wellness category experts to learn all about coming trends in 2023 based on their research.
Get the inside scoop on each of these trends, plus top Fx-friendly products to help you move the needle towards a healthier you in the new year!
Immune Health: Quercetin & Mushrooms
The fact that people continue seeking ways to improve their immune health even though the pandemic is behind us, is evidence that fear is a powerful motivator. Because the immune system is our first line of defense against disease (including viral and bacterial infections), strengthening it should be an ongoing goal, not something we focus on when we’re already sick!
Quercetin is a natural pigment found in apples (concentrated in the skin), onions, cacao and green tea. It acts as a powerful balancing agent, thereby strengthening the immune system. It also serves as a shuttle for zinc, helping to transport it into the cells where it can stop viruses from replicating.
Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants. They help strengthen the immune system and protect body cells from damage that can lead to chronic diseases.
All mushrooms are amazing; however maitake, shiitake and Lion’s Mane are among the best! In addition to their brain-boosting abilities, they are immune powerhouses because they can stimulate your natural killer cells, a type of white blood cell that plays an important role in immunity against viruses.
You can find these and other varieties of fresh mushrooms in Heinen’s Produce Department, and in powdered form in the Wellness department. Mushroom powders can be easily mixed into hot cereal or stirred into your favorite plant-based milk and heated for a soothing functional beverage.
Stress Support: Goji Berries & Ashwagandha
Chronic stress is a daily occurrence thanks to our modern lifestyle. Family obligations, job demands, illness of self or a loved one and financial difficulties all contribute to our ongoing stress. And even though it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, the holidays can be a major stressor too!
The problem with chronic stress is that it floods the body with a cascade of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. If we don’t take measures to manage our stress, these hormones can contribute to a compromised immune system, high blood pressure, heart disease, high blood sugar, weight loss resistance and more!
Goji berries are tart yet subtly sweet red berries native to Asia and known for their medicinal properties, particularly those impacting immune health and stress. To get a daily dose of goji berries, add a handful of Natierra raw goji berries to homemade trail mix, or give your smoothie a mood boost with a scoop of Macrolife Naturals Miracle Reds Powder.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that promotes stress reduction in the body. Found in the Wellness department, Bare Organics Ashwagandha powder can be blended into smoothies or stirred into no-bake energy bites. Add a scoop to these Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites and pop one in your mouth when feeling overwhelmed.
Digestive Health: Prebiotic & Probiotic Drinks
A healthy gut is one that contains friendly bacteria and immune cells to ward off infectious agents like bacteria and viruses. It also supports wellbeing by communicating with your brain through nerves and hormones.
Adding prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods and beverages to your daily regimen can keep the good bacteria thriving and the bad bacteria at bay.
Probiotics are foods and beverages that have gone through controlled microbial growth and fermentation. Fermentation is a process in which microorganisms like yeast and bacteria break down food components like sugars and starches into other products such as organic acids, gases or alcohol. The result is a food or beverage containing live healthy bacteria!
GT’s Kombucha, an effervescent fermented tea beverage, is a smart way to get a daily dose of probiotics because it contains no added sugar. Heinen’s carries a wide variety of flavors to please your taste buds.
Prebiotics are a type of fiber that healthy gut bacteria can digest and use as fuel to promote the growth of more beneficial bacteria. Think of it like fertilizer for good bacteria.
Olipop is a prebiotic beverage reminiscent of your favorite soda pop! My favorite is the root beer flavor. It tastes just like the real thing! Look for it next to the kombucha in the Wellness cooler.
Sleep Support: Magnesium
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the human diet, yet close to 75% of Americans aren’t getting enough of it. It’s known as the “relaxation” mineral, and as such, can help support healthy blood pressure, sleep and overall mood. It also assists glucose into your cells where it belongs, helping to control blood sugar levels!
Pumpkin seeds, fresh and frozen spinach, dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher) and avocados are all rich sources of magnesium.
Plant-based diets continue to be a trend recognized by our Wellness category experts. Plant-based emphasizes the consumption of whole plant foods while reducing your intake of animal foods like dairy, eggs, meat and foods containing animal products.
This enduring plant-forward focus may be due to a growing awareness about the environmental impact of meat and dairy, health concerns and the rising price of meat.
Here are a few of my favorite plant-based finds, that I think you’ll like too:
- Actual Veggies veggie burgers (Meat Department)
- Culina coconut-based yogurt (Dairy Department)
- Esti plant-based cheeses (Deli Department)
If you’re still searching for the best eating style for your unique body, or if the areas of immune health, stress management, digestive health and sleep remain on your priority list, just remember:
“It’s never too late and you’re never too old to get the body you were born to have.“ – David Kirsch