The past year has brought about many new nutrition trends: coconut oil by the tablespoon, celery juice for breakfast, matcha flavored everything, golden coffee and tea, and CBD tinctures. What is worth taking and what should you approach with caution? My dietetic intern Emily analyzed five nutrition trends over the past year, sharing some tips and advice to keep in mind. (Hint: the answer is always variety and real food!)
1. LOCO FOR COCO
Coconut oil has been at the forefront of nutrition trends over the past several years. It has been hailed for its anti-inflammatory effects from the presence of lauric acid, its natural moisturizing abilities, its anti-microbial properties, and its stability when cooking at high temperatures. Although coconut oil does have some really great properties and health benefits, it is still a saturated fat and here is what you need to know:
- Any saturated fat in excess can lead to high LDL and low HDL levels, wreaking havoc on your cardiovascular system. Consume in moderation just as you would any other saturated fat
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil provides significantly more polyphenol antioxidants than coconut oil. Try interchanging the two reap all of the benefits.
- Try using virgin coconut oil. This is made from fresh coconut oil and will retain more of is beneficial properties.
2. A STALK A DAY
The celery juice trend claims it can lower blood glucose, lipid levels, and increase the number of antioxidants to fight cancer. Yes, celery does contain antioxidants such as flavonoids and polyphenols, but how much juice does one need to drink to make this claim legit? The jury is still out. Here is what you need to know:
- Our juicing machines are our stomachs. Eating the stalk is just as beneficial and it provides more roughage.
- Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. One food source alone is not the answer.
- Celery Juice does provide the body with a lot of vitamins and minerals, but it is not a magical potion. Drink for enjoyment and its added benefits!
3. MATCHA ME
Like coconut oil, matcha has also taken a seat at the forefront of trends. The green powder is not only used in beverages, but now is being added to desserts and baked goods. It is used as a cancer fighting and weight loss agent, a detoxifier, an anti-anxiety remedy and so much more. As part of the green tea family, it does offer benefits, but to what extent? Here is what you need to know:
- The green tea is high in polyphenols and catechins, such as EGCG. This does provide the body with significant antioxidant activity, but it is important to also incorporate a variety of foods into your diet to provide your body with primary, secondary, and tertiary antioxidant activity levels.
- An 8-ounce cup of matcha contains 170mg of caffeine. While this may not be as much as coffee, it is still important to know when decided to consume a lot of this tea.
- Matcha is not going to detoxify your entire body. No food has the power to do this and this is why we have a liver.
- Sustainable weight loss should come from a healthy lifestyle, incorporating exercise and variety of different whole foods in the diet. Enjoy matcha as addition to your avocado toast, but don’t look at it as a quick fix.
4. GOLDEN TRUTHS
The “golden” coffee trend has put turmeric in the lime light. The antioxidant in turmeric, curcumin, is thought to treat a variety of different health conditions. Is adding a little bit of turmeric to your smoothie, cup of joe’, or tea making a difference? Maybe or maybe not. Here is what you need to know:
- There are no guidelines for how much turmeric you should be ingesting or what specific amount is needed to benefit health.
- Try adding turmeric to your meals for enjoyment, such as chicken curry, you get to eat a great meal AND get some of those benefits. Win-win – like turmeric granola!
- Don’t get to obsessed over one spice or herb. Incorporate a variety into your diet to increase health benefits and receive several different antioxidants.
5. HIGH ON CBD
CBD, a compound derived from the industrial hemp plant, has hit the ground running claiming to have incredible anti-inflammatory properties as well as a host of other benefits. You can find it as a tincture, in gummies, and other forms. As this is a fairly new concept, more studies need to be completed to understand its effects on health and if it can be used in the medicinal world.
- Not all products are created equal. Research the product and the company to know that it is quality.
- The FDA does not regulate the production of CBD oil. Again, do your research.
- Consult a healthcare provider if you are taking medications for other health issues as CBD oil may cause interactions.