Every day, it feels like there’s a new must-try food or drink that’s loaded with goodness to elevate your health. Is it just overinflated hype, or is there really truth to these trending tonics and bites? Let’s dig a little deeper and see what’s hot and what’s not.
Used as an antidote in cases of poisoning and drug overdoses in emergency rooms across the globe, activate charcoal binds toxins and helps eliminate them quickly. But it’s also turning up in toothpaste as a whitener and being touted as a hangover remedy. While activated charcoal can’t absorb alcohol, it may help remove some of the other chemicals you have ingested in the form of artificial sweeteners in drink mixers. That’s probably why you may see charcoal as an ingredient in some craft cocktails. But according to WebMD, there really isn’t any evidence that it helps hangovers. In regard to skin care, it can help treat acne or serve as a good remedy for bug bites. On the negative side, it can cause dehydration and gastrointestinal blockages in severe cases. And it can interfere with certain medications, so be sure to talk to your doctor before taking it. This trend seems a little too risky for my tastes.
There’s a reason your mom or grandmother makes homemade soup when family members are under the weather. Bone broth has a whole slew of healing effects — from healing your gut to supplying important minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, silicon and sulfur to the body. If 85 percent of your immune system is residing in your belly, taking good care of that microbiome is key to overall health. Sipping bone broth daily can calm irritable bowel syndrome and repair digestive disorders like leaky gut. Bone broth also helps your joints, as it’s loaded with glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) like glucosamine, which helps the body assimilate and increase collagen levels in your joints and tendons. This is a good thing — an increase in collagen makes the hair, skin and nails healthier. Bone broth also helps your liver detoxify. So there’s a reason why all of your friends are buying Instapots and making their own bone broth, as this trend is here to stay.
The non-psychoactive compound of cannabis is showing up in everything from lotions and tinctures to specialty cocktails and edibles. CBD is said to relieve anxiety, reduce nausea, and alleviate pain, along with addressing inflammation, depression, seizures and more. In reality, few studies have been done on humans at this point. But word on the street is strong, as people are swearing by the compound’s ability to combat pain and more. While it doesn’t seem to have risky negative effects, more studies need to be done, so do not believe everything you hear about the miracle of CBD. Don’t get me wrong — it seems to be helping people, but I am just not sure ALL of the claims are true. Bartenders are also adorning their handcrafted cocktails with CBD oil, but this trend tends to be for show rather than health purposes.
This cancer-fighting member of the cruciferous family of vegetables is having its moment as the new super vegetable — a healthy carb that can be riced, mashed, diced, filleted into steak and more. As a healthy alternative to traditional grains, it contains about 1/8th of the calories of white or brown rice. You can also make a delicious, thin pizza crust with riced cauliflower — and better yet, the crust can be gluten free if you use almond flour. This craze has gone mainstream, as you can purchase premade cauliflower pizza crusts at Trader Joe’s and even find it on the menu at California Pizza Kitchen! At one point last year, some Trader Joe’s were putting a two-bag limit per customer on cauliflower rice. And all those Pinterest moms are pinning up recipes with it like mad. But in the end, this healthy veggie is packed with vitamin K, C and B6. So what’s not to love about cauliflower? It’s the new Brussels Sprout.
This nutrient-dense superfood hails from Mexico. A flowering member of the mint family, it dates back to Aztec and Mayan cultures. Chia means “strength” in Mayan, as these tiny energy boosters were said to fuel the Mayan warriors. Loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants and calcium, chia seeds are truly good for you and can be added to yogurt, cereal, salads, soups and more. A delish dessert or breakfast, chia seed pudding is an easy mix of coconut or almond milk with chia seeds, vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup and fruit. While claims that chia aids in weight loss don’t seem to have enough science behind them, one theory is that these seeds make you feel full since they absorb water and expand in the stomach after being eaten. And while you may not lose weight from them, they are a great source of protein and calcium, so thumbs up.
References and sources:
Journalist Ann Wycoff has written about wellness, fitness, longevity, travel, spas, food and wine for the past 20 years for magazines like Shape, Fitness, Spa, Outside, Travel + Leisure, Coastal Living, Redbook, Modern Luxury, San Diego Magazine, Redbook, Marin Magazine and more. She lives in Encinitas, California.