From Brain Health To Sleep Syncing: What's New in Wellness
Next Avenue's Health & Caregiving editor shares some top trends and new research for 2023 and beyond
Editor’s note: The topics shared below are but a sample representation of the many more exciting lines of investigation in the health and wellness field. Watch for more Next Avenue health stories and current dialogues on well-being in the coming months.
February has never been so invigorating. As we jump into the second month of the year, the health and fitness realms continue to boom as more significant trends and avant-garde innovations dominate the wellness dialogue.
From physical and mental wellness to a growing demand for offline interactions and connection, especially within a post-pandemic climate, preventive health measures have become indispensable and a part of people's daily regime for optimal, integrative and sustainable well-being.
Indeed, 2023 is already at the forefront of redefining the ever-evolving health and wellness landscapes. While more health-directed trends, brands, and services rise to fulfill consumers' needs, it is worth taking a closer look at some of the most notable directions leading the wellness and well-being conversation this year.
As the next-generation powerhouse, nutrition is at the heart of a healthy brain.
Healthful, zestful living starts with a highly functional brain beyond the motor, sensory, cognitive, emotional, behavioral and social scope. Arguably the most intricate working organ in the body, the brain remains paramount in the academic and wellness spheres as more light is shed on its constantly developing, dynamic state.
While getting the care and attention it merits, and thanks to a broader knowledge of what it needs for future-proof, thriving success, brain health is multifaceted. Our environment, nutrition, lifestyle habits, and mental, physical, and emotional stressors, among others, have gained more traction as vital markers of enhanced cognitive function and improved brain healthiness.
To get the most from your brain, here are some powerful tips:
Brain Food: As the next-generation powerhouse, nutrition is at the heart of a healthy brain. Research suggests that the best foods for brain power flourish on food diversity and are equivalent to those that protect the blood vessels, heart, and hormones, among others.
Healthful, zestful living starts with a highly functional brain beyond the motor, sensory, cognitive, emotional, behavioral and social scope.
Therefore, ensuring a diet rich in essential fatty acids, amino acids, phytonutrients, fiber, protein, and antioxidants is critical to sustaining diversity and keeping a sharp brain as you age. Examples involve:
- Legumes and beans
- Whole grains
- Dark, green leafy greens
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthy fats such as olive oil, fatty fish or avocados
- Coffee and tea
Movement: It is no surprise that regular physical activity is central to keeping illness at bay and ensuring brain health in general. According to research, individuals that exercise more often have less damage to the small blood vessels that disseminate through the brain as well as a lower risk of dementia, which affirms the maxim, "what's good for the heart is good for the brain!"
If you are trying to include more movement in your wellness routine, why not try an exercise snack?
If you are trying to include more movement in your wellness routine, why not try an exercise snack? Recent studies indicate that exercise snacks or short movement bursts can significantly improve cardiorespiratory fitness and metabolic health altogether.
Sleep Syncing: Sleep hygiene and the quest for quality sleep is essential. One of the forces behind the mainstream sleep conversation is sleep syncing, or adjusting your circadian rhythm to your sleep cycle.
Examples include sleeping when the moon comes out and rising with the sun or swapping a heavy dinner for a lighter afternoon nosh to better support the body's biological cycles and detoxification processes.
A New Era For Metabolic Markers
In addition to human biology, metabolism is foundational to our well-being. However, metabolism is not just about weight. Instead, it is about all the essential chemical processes (as well as inflammatory balance) that come into play for the body to produce energy and support and optimize vital organs, function and the organism at large.
Regarding standard metabolic markers, the ever-popular BMI (Body Mass Index) assesses an individual's health by evaluating height and weight and gauging their weight/adipose status.
Regular physical activity is central to keeping illness at bay and ensuring brain health in general.
Thankfully, this year, new steps to advance metabolic health and performance are being taken, pivoting from the traditional BMI framework toward a more accurate reference to metabolic health.
In short, science is bringing to light multiple means and strategies within our control that can influence our metabolism and actively defy metabolic age (measures involving ideal levels of blood pressure, waist circumference, blood sugar, HDL cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides, etc.).
Moreover, by taking a personalized approach to metabolic health (think epigenetics, microbiome and nutrigenetics) and pursuing optimal wellness goals, we can turn the tide of metabolic fitness in our favor.
Beyond The Wrist: New Wearable Tech
Next-generation wearables devised as discreet and invisible care are more about inspiring healthy habits than data collection. However, 2023 is already bringing a more intentional, personalized and functional approach to exercise with a surge of cutting-edge technology helping consumers track anything from blood sugar and body temperature to sleep patterns and stress levels with minimal disruption involved.
Among the numerous brands at the front line of this ever-increasing wellness market are health and fitness wearable Whoop, health-tracking-around-your-finger Oura ring, sleep-tracking mattresses Eight Sleep, and touch therapy-inspired Apollo high tech.