By Jill Levy

2021 was all about home cooking, eating less meat and consuming more vitamins, minerals and extracts that help support a healthy immune system. In many ways, 2022 is expected to be similar — considering people are focused on holistic health, as well as eating in an eco-conscious way.

Experts predict that 2022 will be all about consuming more plant foods, especially those grown using innovative farming practices, and smaller amounts of sustainably raised animal products.

For the first time, Whole Foods Market has curated a “Trends Discovery Box” (costing $30) that features a variety of new and exciting products that fall into the “2022 food trends” categories described below, such as bison bars and hibiscus water.

Ready to try alcohol-free cocktails, grains you’ve never heard of and vegetables grown inside without any soil? Then you’ll love what’s coming your way in the upcoming year.

Here are 13 food and supplement trends for 2022 to get excited about …

1. Climate Friendly Supplements and Foods

With increased concern over how our food choices impact climate change, we’re seeing more products tailored to those who want to lower their carbon footprint and give back to the environment.

One of the biggest nutrition trends in 2022 is expected to be “climate-friendly products,” meaning those that are less destructive in terms of forest deforestation, energy use, destruction of topsoil, etc.

This category includes foods like sustainably raised beef and grain-based foods, such as pastas and cereals made with ingredients that help replenish the health of topsoil.

At Ancient Nutrition, we fully stand behind this mission and work hard to do our part in fighting climate change. In fact, our mission is to help people transform their health, and also to give back to the planet.

One way we do this is via regenerative agriculture, in which we grow our own functional foods, some of which are used as ingredients to create health-promoting supplements, while at the same time supporting the environment.

2. Highly Absorbable and Clinically Studied Collagen

Collagen is an important type of structural protein that many of us may not be getting enough of from our diets, considering it’s not found in typical protein sources like most cuts of meat. It helps to form and promote healthy connective tissues throughout the body, including our skin, joints, ligaments and the lining of our guts.

Although foods like real bone broth contain collagen, supplementation is considered the most convenient and concentrated way to obtain collagen. 

Collagen powders have been in existence for years now, but in 2022 more attention is being focused on absorbability of collagen (and other supplements too), since a product is only useful if your body can actually utilize it.

Hydrolyzed collagen is a type of collagen supplement that includes protein molecules that have been broken down into smaller units, making them easier for your body to digest, absorb and use.

For example, Ancient Nutrition's Multi Collagen Protein and Collagen Peptides formulations are powered by a clinically studied fermented/hydrolyzed eggshell membrane collagen. This is a proprietary ingredient that yields benefits for your skin tone, joint mobility, exercise recovery, hair growth, digestion and more.

3. More Eco-Friendly Low-Carb Options

Lower-carb diets are predicted to remain a steady trend in 2022; however, many low-carb dieters are opting for foods that have less of a negative impact on the planet and that support animal welfare (some call this trend “reducetarianism,” referring to people who don’t want eat entirely plant-based but want to decrease their reliance on animal products). 

Those who continue to emphasize high-protein, low-sugar foods — like meat and eggs — in their diets will have plenty of options when it comes to purchasing grass-fed, pasture-raised and wild-caught animal products. Some foods now even feature a mix of animal and plant-based ingredients, for example in burgers, to help reduce one’s overall meat consumption. 

Another food category that is on the rise is “lower-carb items,” meaning those that appeal to people watching their sugar and carb intake but who don’t necessarily want to follow a very low-carb ketogenic diet. This category includes low-sugar beverages, rices, cereals, etc.

4. Sunflower Seeds

Given the rise in nut allergies over the past couple decades (especially among children), seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, chia, hemp and flax have all grown in popularity as healthy, nut-free alternatives. 

Chances are you’ve tried sunflower seed butter at some point, but get ready for these seeds to pop up in a bunch of new products, such as protein powders, chocolates, veggie burgers, crackers and even non-dairy cheeses. This is great news, considering that sunflower seeds are a great source of healthy fats, fiber, protein, vitamin E and selenium.

5. Turmeric

Turmeric is a root (treated like a spice) that has been used in traditional health approaches such as Ayurveda for centuries. It contains the active ingredient called curcumin, which is known to support a healthy response to inflammation. It can also be used to help reduce joint discomfort and support mobility.

Not only can you sprinkle ground turmeric, which has a bright yellow color and earthy/musky flavor, onto things like eggs, soups and teas, but it’s now being added to a variety of new foods such as oatmeals, power bars, kombuchas and cultured veggies.

Because it can be difficult to get turmeric into your daily diet, turmeric supplements are also increasingly popular.

6. Innovations In Indoor Farming

Here’s one diet trend that you can practice at home: indoor farming, such as hydroponics which involves gardening without soil and instead growing plants in a solution of water and nutrients.

Hydroponics, as well as indoor aquaponics (used to raise fish and certain sea vegetables and plants), is giving rise to a new category of nutrient-rich foods and supplements that are being sustainably grown/raised indoors, such as herbs, leafy greens, veggies, fish algae and mushrooms. 

As the website Vertical Roots, these approaches “allow growers to produce food anywhere in the world, at any time of the year, and to net higher yields with fewer resources“ (including less water and soil). 

7. Focus On Diets for a Positive Outlook and Overall Well-Being

2021 has not only made people reconsider how the quality of their diets impact their immune system function, but it’s brought to light the importance of eating to support one’s outlook, too.

Considering the impact of 2021, it’s no surprise many are looking to eat in a way that supports a positive outlook and mindset. 

In 2022, food manufacturers will continue to look for ways to decrease added sugar and processed fats in their products — which are linked to poorer overall health, including one’s mindset — while increasing usage of ingredients like adaptogenic herbs (for example, ashwagandha that supports a healthy response to stress), healthy fats and probiotics. 

You’ll now find these ingredients added to things like teas, fizzy beverages, yogurts and more, in hopes that they support a healthy “gut-brain connection,” healthy energy levels and resilience against the effects of stress.

8. Healthy Immune System–Promoting Diets

Immune system-supporting diets generally focus on increasing nutrient intake and promoting a healthy gut, since the gut microbiome essentially acts as the body’s main “gatekeeper.”

A strong and healthy gut lining assists in proper nutrient absorption, elimination, detoxification and also healthy immune system function, since the majority of one’s immune system is located inside their gut (the GI tract houses between 70 percent and 80 percent of the cells that make up the immune system).

This means that one food trend that is here to say is “superfoods” aimed at promoting gut and immune system health. These include foods that contain probiotics, which boost the presence of good bacteria in your gut to assist in healthy immune defenses, as well as foods high in antioxidants, vitamin C, zinc and herbs such as turmeric, echinacea and elderberry.

An immune system-promoting diet emphasizes a variety of leafy greens (including lesser known types such as pak choi and mazuna), dried and fresh berries, sea veggies and algae, herbs/spices, fermented foods and bone broth.

9. Gummies

While gummy vitamins have been available for years, manufacturers have recently stepped up the quality of gummies geared towards adults. With this supplement trend we’re seeing a bigger focus on reducing artificial additives, adding more beneficial ingredients and cutting out sugar.

10. More Milk Alternatives

Even if consuming dairy isn’t necessarily a problem for you, you’re not alone if you’re still interested in lower-calorie, lower-sugar, plant-based milk alternatives. 

What are some types coming down the pipeline this year? These include new variations of pea, oat, hemp and macadamia milks, as well as milks featuring a mix of nut/seed/legume ingredients (such as coconut and almond) that may enhance the texture and taste.

11. Probiotic and Non-Alcoholic Drinks

We’re always looking for clever new ways to avoid sugary drinks while satisfying our cravings for tasty, bubbly beverages. 

This year we can expect to see more options available that not only nix the added sugar, but add beneficial ingredients such as probiotics (“friendly” gut bacteria), fruit and plant extracts such as yozu and hibiscus, prebiotics (which “feed” probiotics) and adaptogenic botanicals which support a healthy stress response.

Non-alcohol “mocktails” (also called “buzzless spirits”) are another growing category, as alcohol is known to increase calorie intake and often cravings and other issues, too.

Look for new alcohol-free mixers made with ingredients like juniper berry, lavender, lemon verbena, bitter orange, fennel, damiana and gentian root. You’ll even come across a bunch of “liquors” in the coming year that contain almost zero alcohol, allowing you to mix our favorite drinks without the buzz.

12. Sleep Support

Diet and exercise have long been the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle, but in recent years sleep and stress management (which is tied to getting good rest) have come to be viewed as two key components of wellness. That’s because adequate sleep is needed to maintain a healthy metabolism, an upbeat mindset and a healthy immune system.

This explains why food and supplement trends that seem to be attracting a growing audience are those featuring calming ingredients — such as herbs and botanicals like CBD, lavender and ashwagandha, kava kava, valerian root and magnesium. Some of these ingredients are included in Ancient Nutrition's Stress & Sleep Support Capsules.

These ingredients offer benefits such as supporting a calm and positive mindset while offering sleep support.

13. Personalized Meal Kits/Plans

Meal kits gained a lot of attention during the 2021 when people were cooking at home more than ever. But now companies are looking for ways to maintain their momentum, including by personalizing kits based more on dietary preferences, and by including more eco-conscious and “functional foods” (foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition).

Personalized diets are all about finding what works for you as an individual, based on things like your genes, metabolism and taste, and then making healthy eating as simple as possible. 

No matter what type of diet you choose to follow, there’s a kit and plan for you, such as those that are geared towards plant-slanted diets, vegetarians, Paleo dieters and so on. 

Jill Levy has been with the Dr. Axe and Ancient Nutrition team for six years. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Fairfield University, followed by a certification as a Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Jill takes a “non-diet” approach to health and really enjoys teaching others about mindful eating, intuitive eating and the benefits of eating real foods.

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