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My endeavor is to delve into certain issues to give you some perspective, help you understand the world better, attempt to understand why we do what we do, and maybe in all of this, make the world teeny-weeny better! 

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6 Nutrition Trends to Watch in 2024


With the explosion of so much health-related information on social media things have psychologically no doubt deteriorated for us. As we numbingly scroll through our Instagram feeds, not only has this caused an exponential increase in the levels of stress, anger, paranoia, isolation, irritation, frustration, and a host of other mind-fu***d emotions but has added complexity to the already complex topic of nutrition.

Simply put, we are habituated to reflect at this time of the year as it draws to a close. And this makes us wanna ask ourselves the same ol' boring mundane questions that we keep asking year after year at the same time every year - What the next year has in store for us? As the whole world hinges on nothing but hope, we are oh so cute to hope for a better next year. Since my last deep-dive into investigating the coolest nutrition trends at the end of 2021, as of today, I can safely say that these trends are going to continue for a few more years. So sit back, with your cuppa, or whatever it is you wish to hold in your hands, and deliberate on the below.


1. ‘Immunity-building’ foods will continue to rule!

No brownie points for guessing this, but anything that builds immunity will continue to sell like hotcakes. The entire immunity-building-food movement has evolved from a focus on immunity foods to whole immunity diets. "Want to build immunity? Subscribe to our immunity diet program only for 5000 bucks per month" will be the in-thing. We saw the interest pique amidst the pandemic but this trend is here to stay. Vitamin A, C & D, nuts, seeds, foods containing zinc & magnesium et al will continue to fly off the shelves.


Keep an eye out for companies that will suddenly start to label their packaged products with ‘immunity-building’ slogans.


2. ‘Anti-’ will remain favorites

Anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-arthritic, anti-rheumatic, anti-oxidant, anti-flatulence, and anti-aging, will be terms that continue to be in fashion. These are mostly obtained from the consumption of spices and condiments, which have always been an integral part of the Indian diet. While the rest of the world will scramble to find their daily dose of spices, we Indians are safeguarded. We will need to go back to the basic home-cooked meal which will provide us with all the ‘anti-’ stuff. Already there is a spurt in demand for cinnamon, mustard, turmeric, garlic, coriander, et al and this trend is expected to continue.


Keep an eye out for companies who will begin adding these spices & condiments to their existing range of products to capitalize on the demand and watch out as achaar (or pickle) sales surge.


3. Adaptogens will be the underdogs

With the exponential J-curve rise in the number of people being diagnosed with different forms of mental stress, depression, and anxiety issues, adaptogens are like the underdogs in a marathon, who clandestinely overtake others right in the final lap.

When we encounter stress, our body releases a hormone called Cortisol, which is the body’s response to stress and that’s normal. The cortisol is responsible for our ability to fight that stress. Under normal circumstances, the release of cortisol is good however repeated release is bad as frequency causes the body to become insensitive. Since we are experiencing continued stress levels, this cortisol can result in hormonal imbalances and interfere in lead body mass development. Found in our very own ashwagandha, turmeric, tulsi, or basil, these adaptogens are key in the fight against stress.


Keep an eye out for companies that will creatively launch new variants of supplements with added adaptogens.


4. The Climatarian Diet will rise

There is another long-term and in fact, a deeper crisis blatantly staring at us, a worldwide crisis i.e. climate change. Increasingly, people are becoming aware of this reality with an unexpected increase in the number of hurricanes, storms, wildfires, pressure-system shifts, and weather shifts reported worldwide.

As people confront this stark reality, more and more will continue to get enrolled in this debate either by way of activism or thinking of new ways to contribute.


Consumer research shows that while personal health will be the major driver, there will be a push by consumers to shift to climate-friendly foods due to environmental reasons. There will be a shift from the chemical-intensive to chemical-free. You will see a shift from climate-destructive foods to foods that will contribute to biodiversity and soil health. Climate-consciousness will rightly grow and 'I am a climatarian" will be the new trending hashtag as we start to feel more responsible for our current ecological predicament.


You can also contribute here! To align with this ideology, if you aren’t already, you can increase the intake of fresh-, home-grown, or organic fruits and veggies to promote better health, better community health, and better health for Mother Earth.


Keep an eye out for regenerative/pasture-based meat dairy farming products, microgreens, and companies that will achieve growth on the backdrop of growing veggies hydroponically.


5. Pre/Postbiotics, and focus on gut health!

Prebiotics, obtained from the consumption of certain foods, act as food for the ‘good bacteria’ i.e. probiotics. This process of fermentation results in a byproduct called postbiotics. So as the focus on postbiotics grows this would have growth in consumption of prebiotic-rich and postbiotic-rich foods as well. However, just like prebiotics (found in apples, bananas, green veggies, and whole grains) and probiotics (found in supplements and some foods like yogurt), postbiotics can also be obtained from external foods like yogurt, buttermilk, and even in pickles.


More than 15000 studies have been conducted in the last five years and research by and large shows that almost 90% of the diseases can be traced back to ‘gut health’ in some way or the other. Interest in this topic grew by more than 60% last year according to some surveys. Though prebiotics and postbiotics have been around for a decade now, there is a strong thrust on postbiotics studies as well, as they are believed to have anti-inflammatory, immunity-boosting, and gut health-strengthening properties.

“So put that homemade aam-ka-achaar (or mango pickle) back on your plate instead of fretting over how much oil it contains!”

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6. Protein will continue to shine

More and more accessible sources of protein will flood the market. There has been a 50% growth in interest in plant-based protein whereas protein supplements shall continue to hog the limelight. A new line of foods called protein snacks has already become a major focus for companies and we will continue to see launches of protein bars, protein chips, protein biscuits, and on-the-go protein drinks.


 

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