Trends come and go, but which ones are hot in 2020? We find out!


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Health trends tend to come and go. What’s in today might be out tomorrow, and what’s been around for centuries might just become the most popular trend next month.

The year 2020 has its own hotlist for what wellness experts feel are this year’s go-to health trends. Here is a roundup of some that look set to stay.

CBD OIL

Short for cannabidiol, CBD is one of the compounds present in the cannabis plant. While it is not psychoactive, meaning it won’t make you high, CBD has been praised for having numerous health benefits. It has become a popular alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs, and new research is suggesting that it could be an alternative treatment for chronic pain.

It is used to treat a range of ailments, from anxiety to depression, insomnia, ADHD, and even hair loss. Some research seems to suggest that cannabis oil, which contains both CBD and a little THC (the intoxicating stuff), could help to make epileptic seizures in children less severe, or even end them.

Health practitioners have cautioned against promoting CBD as a “cure all” product, so be careful with this one. More research is needed, specifically in determining effective dosage quantities.

MICRODOSING PSYCHOACTIVE DRUGS

In recent years, microdosing psychoactive drugs has grown in popularity as a means to increase productivity and creativity. It’s also been touted as a way to treat everything from chronic pain and headaches to depression and anxiety. The drugs, taken in very small quantities, are mainly LSD and psilocybin, the active compound found in magic mushrooms.

A microdose can be as small as 1/10th or 1/20th of a standard recreational dose — small enough to trigger the drug’s effects on your mood or creativity levels without sending you on a hallucinogenic trip. People who microdose may choose to do so every day but typically do so two to three times a week. Most of the available research on microdosing is anecdotal, and experts have called for more research to be conducted

A DIFFERENT TAKE ON FERTILITY

There’s been a cultural shift in how we talk about infertility. As numerous celebrities have come out to share their stories of personal struggle — including Chrissy Teigen, Kim Kardashian and Michelle Obama — the subject has become less taboo. Unfortunately, the high cost of fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilisation, intrauterine insemination and egg freezing has meant that they have been largely inaccessible to couples struggling to conceive.

But as consumer interest in fertility has grown, affordable — even free — fertility technology has become a rising trend. Pioneered by Silicon Valley femtech start-ups, this tech includes ovulation/menstruation/fertility-tracking apps, wearables, and digital platforms. Fit pregnancies have also become a big thing. Women are increasingly incorporating prenatal-specific workouts in their fitness routines to keep them and their babies strong and healthy and to prepare for childbirth and delivery. 

LYMPHATIC-DRAINAGE TREATMENTS

While not new, lymph drainage seems to have experienced a surge in popularity. It is said to speed up the transportation of lymph fluid through your body and get rid of toxins, cellular waste, pathogens, and bacteria. The allure of a lymphatic massage is to promote faster lymphatic drainage and to prevent lymph nodes from becoming blocked.

Apart from supposedly promoting a healthy immune system, reducing inflammation, and improving digestion, lymphatic massage is also said to improve skin tone and sleep. You can book a lymph-draining massage or facial at a spa, but DIY home solutions for stimulating facial lymph nodes using rollers, sculpting bars, and stones are equally popular. 

ALT-MEAT

Vegan patties that “bleed” like real beef are unlikely to become any less popular in 2020. In fact, the proliferation of alternative meat options has likely just started. The recent introduction of vegan options in select restaurants and food stores across the country means there must be demand for animal-product-free alternatives, even among traditionally meat- and cheese-loving South Africans.

But is it too soon for KFC Beyond Fried Chicken? Produced by the colonel in partnership with Beyond Meat, it’s anything but chicken… and it has already taken off to some extent in the US. Add to the mix “fish” and already-popular vegan cheeses, milks, and other products, and you’re looking at one happy, successful, growing plant-based food industry. 

DNA DIETS AND PERSONALISED NUTRITION

Tailormade diets and exercise schedules are where it’s at in 2020. Despite some scepticism from the scientific community, there’s now a whole industry that’s been built around the idea that your genes have an effect on your weight and metabolism.

Your DNA data are used to determine the best exercise regimen and diet for you, as well as which supplements you should be taking and how you can assist your body in fighting disease. 

Disclaimer: We are not offering healthcare advice. For advice on medical treatments and products, please consult a medical professional.

This article first appeared in the June 2020 print edition of S Mag. The Sowetan’s quarterly lifestyle magazine.   

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