I love this time of year. I look to reinvent myself from a health perspective to continue to escalate my health. This year was a challenge for me. For the first time, at the age of 56, I had surgery. My 35 years of endurance racing wore out my left hip. I had full hip replacement surgery in June of 2017. Nonetheless, these challenges only fuel my desire to be the best healthy person I can be. Life and health are about making adjustments and evolving.
So, when I hear of a compelling new health trend, I am always very curious. How does this impact me? What are the benefits? Is it supported by legitimate science? You know the drill. As 2017 winds down, I found the following three trends very compelling over the past year:
Organic Products Consumption Expected to Rise
I know that it seems we have been talking about organic for the past several years. However, I felt compelled to highlight the Organic trend as it is indeed out of control. As more people, especially millennials, realize how pesticides and nutrition impact their health, they demand food that is healthier and more nutritious. This has translated into a robust organic industry that has experienced double-digit growth annually.
In fact, according to a Grand View Research, Inc., the global organic food and beverage market is expected to reach USD 320.5 billion by 2025. Growing popularity of non-GMO products among consumers and the health benefits associated with their consumption is expected to drive the demand.
Additional Highlights from the Grand View Research Report Include:
- The global organic food market was valued at USD 77.4 billion in 2015 and is expected to see the highest growth in the Asia Pacific from 2018 to 2025
- Fruits & vegetables emerged as the most significant organic food product segment in 2015 and is estimated to generate revenues of more than $110 billion by 2025
- The beverage market is estimated to exceed $55 billion by 2025 and anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 13.1% over the next nine years
- Coffees and teas are expected to emerge as the fastest growing sector with a CAGR of more than 15% from 2018 to 2025
- The U.S. is the most significant market in North America and was valued over $40 billion in 2015. As previously mentioned, the growing popularity of non-GMO products among consumers is expected to drive the demand.
Plant Proteins Present an Opportunity for Global Growth
According to Global Market Insights, Inc., the Protein Ingredient Market is expected to reach $43.3 billion by 2024. And plant proteins are a major part of this growth. Plant protein is projected to reach a global value of more than $10bn by 2020. In fact, Mordor Intelligence has forecast compound annual growth of 5.7% between 2015 and 2020.
From pea protein to hemp proteins, an ever-increasing number of plant-based protein sources are being introduced into the marketplace that offers quality nutrition, taste, and sustainability at the same time.
Given consumer desires to moderate animal-based protein consumption combined with environmental concerns, the use of plant-based proteins offers a viable alternative across multiple existing and new product categories. What’s more, protein is the powerhouse macronutrient that research suggests is the most filling when it comes to satisfying hunger, which is particularly important within the context of the global obesity epidemic. Formulating and marketing foods and beverages that leverage plant-based proteins present an opportunity for global growth.
According to Innova Market Insights, the protein trend is driven by increasing health concerns— primarily weight management—plus the move of sports and performance products into mainstream consumption. These products are now targeting the more active, rather than just world-class athletes.
Cardiovascular Health Challenges and Solutions
The increasing incidence of lifestyle-based conditions–most notably those conditions that impact cardiovascular health, obesity, and blood sugar–has compelled consumers to increasingly consider natural solutions for their particular health challenges. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cardiovascular events are a leading cause of death in the United States. And cardiovascular challenges can impact people of all ages and backgrounds.
According to June 2015 data from the US Census Bureau, the baby boomer generation is 75.4 million people strong. Many are now entering retirement. As the invincibility of youth gives way to middle-age decline, and then to the reality of aging, cardiovascular health remains a focus of many “boomers.” Everyone understands the importance of eating nutritious foods. A healthy diet impacts weight, energy level and, ultimately, cardiovascular health. However, in this day and age of mostly processed foods, what are we putting into our bodies?
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health, one in three American adults takes at least one dietary supplement each day. And 50% take a multivitamin daily. Overall, in 2015, Americans spent more than $21 billion annually on vitamins and minerals. And heart health supplements top the list. They range from fish oil to flaxseed oil to artichoke and garlic extracts. Is there any evidence that these work? Can they lower LDL (bad) cholesterol or triglycerides – or raise HDL (good) cholesterol? Which supplements should you consider taking for cardiovascular benefits? Interestingly, according to recent research by Innova Market Insights, the number of supplements with a heart health positioning grew 71% from 2011 to 2015. Predictions also point to heart health as a key trend to watch shortly.
That said, what is fueling the cardiovascular health crisis? Well, in a word, “oxidation.” Or, more specifically, “cholesterol oxidation.”
Cholesterol Oxidation Restricts the Normal Flow of Oxygen-Rich Blood
Cholesterol oxidation in the arteries causes a buildup of LDL cholesterol, which, in turn, causes the arteries to narrow, increasing the risk for a cardiovascular event. Although the process is complex, health professionals believe that oxidation starts slowly when certain factors damage the inner layers of the arteries. Over time, the arteries harden and begin to narrow, which restricts the normal flow of fresh, oxygen-rich blood.
Having cardiovascular risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop serious cardiovascular problems. But it does mean you may need to be more aggressive in managing cholesterol to prevent problems from occurring. In addition to making important lifestyle changes such as eating a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, exercising regularly, losing weight, and not smoking, a doctor may recommend a lower target for your LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol. Those at risk for oxidation, including genetic predisposition, should aim for an LDL of 70 mg/dL.
Finally, as we get older, the likelihood of oxidation in the arteries increases. This is especially true for men older than age 45 and women who have gone through menopause, which is usually around age 55. Women’s risk for cardiovascular issues increases at this time because their estrogen levels drop. If women go through menopause earlier, they may also develop arterial problems earlier.
Arterial Health Creeps Up with Age
In addition to an increased threat to cardiovascular health, the likelihood of developing health conditions that contribute to arterial health also creeps up with age. These include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. Also, if there is a hereditary component to your cardiovascular profile, there is a greater chance of it being passed from generation to generation. This is especially true if family members had heart attacks or other incidents at an early age.
Keep in mind that as you age, developing high cholesterol and other risk factors are inevitable. There are healthy lifestyle habits, including eating a good diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight that can help reduce the risk. It’s also smart to work closely with a doctor and watch for possible risk factors. Many health professionals recommend getting cholesterol levels checked every five years beginning at age 20, and more often after age 45.
Supplements to Promote Cardiovascular Health Now Clinically Validated
The good news is that certain supplements do promote cardiovascular health – and have been clinically validated. There are several very effective supplements for heart health. That said, there is a new breakthrough for combating cardiovascular oxidation. Flavonoid Root, a relatively unknown ingredient is supported by new science that provides compelling antioxidant properties and powerful cardiovascular health benefits. The ingredient is in the form of a unique extract that comes from this natural ingredient.
Recently, the results from a double-blind, placebo-controlled study were published in the scientific journal Food and Nutrition Research.
The study examined the effect of a unique Flavonoid Root extract on the thickness of the artery wall (carotid intima-media thickness or CIMT) in individuals with increased oxidation in the arteries. CIMT is considered a strong biomarker of overall cardiovascular and arterial health.
People with increased oxidation, total cholesterol greater then 240mg/do, were randomly allocated to 2 groups as follows: an experimental group that received 200mg of the Flavonoid Root extract and a placebo group. 94 subjects ultimately completed the trial. After one year, the study yielded the following results:
- In the experimental group, the thickness of artery (CIMT) decreased from 0.92 mm to 0.84 mm. In the placebo group, CIMT increased from 0.85 to 0.88.
- In the experimental group, total cholesterol decreased from 284 to 262 mm/dL. In the placebo group, total cholesterol decreased from 291 to 289mm/dL.
- In the experimental group, the LDL (bad) cholesterol decreased from183 to 173 mm/ dL. In the placebo group, the LDL (bad) cholesterol increased from 177 to 179.
- HDL or good cholesterol did not change in either group
- In the experimental group, systolic blood pressure decreased from 138 to 125mmhg. In the placebo group, systolic blood pressure increased from 136 to 137.
- In the experimental group, diastolic blood pressure decreased from 92 to 84. In the placebo group, diastolic blood pressure increased from 89 to 90.
These results were extremely compelling. Following one year of Flavonoid Root extract consumption, mean CIMT, total cholesterol, LDL levels, and blood pressure decreased. This suggests that this ingredient may attenuate the development of oxidation and related cerebral vascular issues.
The diversity and complexity of health trends are causing categories to fragment and are leading to a proliferation of new niches and new brands to serve them. This will create an opportunity for product development teams at health companies worldwide. As 2017 winds down, I thought the above trends were particularly compelling. In fact, based on the overwhelming metrics, these trends look to continue into 2018 and beyond.
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