The overall health trends I am forecasting for 2024, come out of an in-depth study of the market and the learnings from my clients. Plus keeping in touch with what's going on around the globe as far as healthcare policies are concerned. So here is what I see the trends are pointing towards:
1. Plant-based foods are here to stay
There is no ambiguity now that plant-based nutrition is the way forward to sustain a healthy gut and blood condition. The non-consumption of saturated fat from meats greatly reduces the risks of heart disease and many cancers. 2024 will see a lean towards companies striving to make plant-based food products, as will restaurants introduce more options for vegans.
2. Locally-produced foods will be a priority
Although this has been a recurrent theme in the past as well, using locally-produced foods will gain momentum in homes, food delivery companies and restaurants. Not only is it a healthier option for freshness, but also a more sustainable option, lessening the carbon footprint; that is transportation, packing and the farmers need not be pressured to harvest foods.
3. Nutritionally-enhanced snack options
We have all heard of nutritionally fortified dairy, and cereal. However, companies will lean towards using better whole grains to make baked goods for example using millet-based options. Since millets are a complete grain packed with micronutrients and vitamins, low on the glycemic index (GI they will continue to dominate the whole grain food group. Also, a lot of companies will add plant-based adaptogens to products, making them more beneficial for the health of their consumers. E.g., ashwagandha in teas.
4. Focus on diet and health gadgets and cookware in the kitchen
There will be a bigger pull from customers looking to enhance their kitchens with gadgets that make their food healthier. E.g., dehydrating machines to make food, that consumers might want to carry with them on trips or using cookware made of ceramic, terra cotta, or cast iron; doing away with aluminium, or teflon-coated cookware.
5. Fermentation will now take a more superior avatar, that of now introducing more traditional cultures to ferment foods, lacto-fermented products will become mainstream
Instead of just lacto-fermentation, people will want to learn more about the wonderful world of fermented foods and also traditional methods of fermentation using koji (Aspergillus Oryzae). A subject that will also be talked about will be microbiome cleansing and how to achieve it via Panchakarma and detoxification methods.
6. Restaurants and products will take lifestyle disease into account
Companies making products, restaurants and grocery supermarkets will start adding tags alongside menus considering lifestyle diseases. Especially those that suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome/disease, diabetes, PCOD (S), autoimmune diseases.
7. Focus on postbiotics, apart from prebiotics and probiotics
Postbiotics are byproducts of probiotics when they eat prebiotics. The objective of having them is to further enhance your gut microbiome. Postbiotics are not living substances, but e.g., one such byproduct would be vitamin K or short-chain fatty acids. 2024 will see a huge focus on these byproducts beneficial for us.
8. Less restrictive diets and eating with freedom
The macrobiotic philosophy is based on this one tenet. How do we eat with freedom and not be caged in by a diet? 2024 will usher a change in eating in this fashion. Living a life 24x7 of eating right and not being ridden with guilt and following restrictive eating regimens.
9. Homemade products with traditional overtones
Food products will be dominated by this framework, and 2024 will see homemade products like sauces, chutneys, salad dressings and other such foods do very well. Traditional recipes will be brought out from kitchens and take centre stage. A deeper sense of our Indian culinary roots will be explored and also dominate.
10. Customized diet plans
Diet plans will become more customized and health-seeking customers will want attention. They will need customization and will come to realize that each customer is unique and has special needs that need catering to. Also, they will want personal management by nutritionists. Consumers will want diet plans that are rooted in history like Ayurveda and Macrobiotics, and a personalized approach from those well-trained.
11. Longevity will be the new mantra
No longer do people only want weight loss or strengthened immunity; in 2024, they will want 'longevity' and want to live well into their 80's. Hence prevention will also be the new language amongst health enthusiasts.
12. Focus on recovery post-workouts
Health enthusiasts will now spend time 'recovering' after workouts by using means like saunas, steam, ice water baths and massages. Resting between intense workouts as opposed to going at it straight for all the days of the week will be the new way to work out.
13. Mobility and balance will take priority over just weight lifting
Women especially will start focusing on balance and mobility rather than just weight lifting. I have seen more back injuries in the last year amongst women who a perimenopausal and men post 40 and this is a gnawing concern amongst adults (Gen X). Hence a leaning towards activities like yoga, mat Pilates, reformer Pilates, and calisthenics will start assuming priority. Having said that, women and men will continue to engage in strength training.
14. Slowing down and taking breaks
People will realize the value of slowing down and taking breaks even if it means breaking up their day. One will see people engage with nature more like a walk in the park with grass under one’s feet or going for a walk in the middle of the day.
15. Outdoor fitness will take a front seat
Treks, hikes, walks, and sitting in fresh air will be activities that will be more predominant. People will realize the need to be more expansive including these activities, rather than being contracted in their AC environments (offices and homes).
16. CBD health products and their incorporation into wellness routines
CBD products will start assuming a special role, in people lives and in striving to keep healthy. Products made with CBD (teas) or oils for better health will become more common.
17. Sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene will continue to occupy an important place in people's need to recover, recuperate and relax. Nighttime routines and products that will aid people with their sleep patterns will also dominate the sleep scene.
18. Mind-Body Connection for mental wellness
People will realize the value of how the mind impacts the body and will start using more tools that will aid with their mental health. Meditation techniques will continue to occupy a space in people's lives, as will tech-driven apps designed to achieve a state of calmness and be zen.
19. Employee-driven health and wellness programs among corporations
Corporates will introduce more health-driven programs for their employees to avail of. They will seek to have more education imparted to their employees on how to take better care of themselves, these would be tech-driven and with the personal involvement of nutritionists and fitness experts involved.
20. Awareness around hormonal health amongst women will grow
Women will continue to share their perimenopause and menopause journey getting more vocal about hormonal health. Hormones and the role they play in women's lives will continue to dominate conversations among women.
21. Caffeine, sugar and alcohol-free will be the new mantra
Going caffeine-free and alcohol-free will be the new health yardstick. People will start realizing the value of what they are doing wrong in their lifestyle with sugars dominating their lives, and caffeine causing havoc with their cortisol levels.
22. Holistic Hydration
Water will be infused with adaptogens that will help people. As will drinks like e.g., a kombucha or gingerale enriched with adaptogens.
23. Mushrooms will become a mainstay
Not just any mushrooms, but specifically Lion's mane which impacts anxiety, and fatigue, and is known to increase life span. Also, Lion's mane can impact one's microbiome [promote the growth of beneficial bacteria] which has neurological benefits. Reishi, shiitake and maitake will also stay mainstream.
Already trending in 2023, these will be used more in one’s wellness routine for prevention, longevity and targeted ageing.