For the sixth consecutive year, food expert Mareya Ibrahim serves up the top eight healthy food and beverage trends to try in 2018.
1) Root to Table
By the time fresh produce arrives on your plate, it has lost a ton of nutrients—up to 77 percent of Vitamin C within just a week of harvesting, according to the University of California, Davis. Look for a new crop of "living" produce sold with the roots on for heightened freshness and prolonged shelf life, lasting up to 18 days as compared to an average 3-5 days for your typical bagged salad.
2) Good Gut Health 2.0
Probiotics are already BIG, with gut health-boosting, bacteria-rich foods like kimchee, kefir and craft kombucha growing in popularity. In 2018, the focus will shift to PREbiotics. Think of them as the fertilizer that helps your good bacteria grow. Look for prebiotic fiber powders containing ingredients like Jerusalem artichoke, inulin, acacia and chicory root, and try products like boosted MCT oil to get your daily dose.
3) Collagen Complex
Paleo diets put protein on a pedestal, and now, collagen is getting its turn in the spotlight. Think of it as the "glue" for your hair, skin, nails, bones, tendons and ligaments, with a full spectrum of action-packed amino acids. Shoppers are looking for their fountain of youth in the form of flavored bone broth powders, heat-and-sip organic beverages and collagen protein at your local smoothie bar
4) Boosted Basics
You used to buy basics like flour, peanut butter, sugar, water, milk, coffee and bread, but in 2018, look for products that are pumped up with multiple nutrient boosting add-ons, including antioxidants such as Camu Camu, Sacha Inchi Seed and Baobab; plant-based Omega 3's like flax meal, chia seeds and hemp seed; antioxidant herbs like turmeric, clove and cinnamon; plant-based protein; and activated charcoal.
5) Alt Coffee
Trying to find more caffeine free zen in your cup? Look for coffee alternatives made from brain-boosting mushrooms and herbs like dandelion root. You'll also see loose teas that are brewed like coffee with Mokapots, and ground roasted cocoa beans for your Aeropress and pour-over cones.
6) Hot Hot Hot
Inspired by YouTube eating contests, get ready to torch your taste buds with spices like ginger, black pepper and clove that add sweet heat to desserts, beverages and liqueurs. Peppers like Carolina Reaper—at over 2 Million SHUs—will light up the obvious hot sauces and also make its way into snacks, drinks and chocolate.
7) Tart Cherry
Tiny but mighty, tart cherries have one of the highest ORAC scores, with a mega boost of anthocyanins to battle free radicals and repair cell damage. Tart cherry is also known to reduce pain and inflammation, and is a natural source of sleep-inducing melatonin. Find it fresh, frozen, dried, chocolate covered, juiced and in concentrated powders, or try it in gourmet jams and pastries.
8) Shishito Peppers
Taking over where fried calamari and jalapeno poppers once reigned as a shareable appetizer, cancer-fighting Shishito peppers are full of active capsaicin and antioxidants. Just toss with a little coconut oil and roast or grill on a flat top until soft and blistery, add a dash of smoked sea salt, then pop the whole thing into your mouth (removing the stem).
Mareya Ibrahim, aka The Fit Foodie, is an award-winning entrepreneur, chef, author, patented inventor and 25-plus year food industry veteran. She is the founder and CEO of Grow Green Industries Inc., the makers of the patented eatCleaner product line.