Nutritionists Say This Buzzy Ingredient Can Bring You Stress Relief In The New Year


Just when you mastered the proper pronunciation of ashwagandha and sorted out the difference between reishi and lion's mane, there are some buzzy 2021 wellness ingredients poised to be the next big things in the booming business of health. And if some of your self-care resolutions this year include reducing stress, eating more nutritionally (which includes, perhaps, going vegan), boosting your immunity, and/or prioritizing sleep, you're probably going to want to get to know some of them a little bit better — if not incorporate them into your upgraded wellness regimen ASAP.

According to health experts, some of 2020's biggest trends will be sticking around in the new year as well. Last year was all about medicinal mushrooms and adaptogens, and it looks as though they're not losing steam anytime soon. "They are always highly valuable and have such broad benefits, particularly for the heightened stresses and immune challenges, so we'll want to continue to keep them close at hand," says Colleen Gerson, the functional medicine certified health coach behind Vessel and Soul and Foria's functional wellness educator and formulator. "By supporting our nervous system and stress response, they also further aid our immunity and resilience through day-to-day challenge and change."

Another pantry favorite of last year will be still be be a popular addition to many people's diet in 2021, according to Erin James, nutritionist, trainer, and founder of SQUAY. "Chickpeas have been somewhat popular, but I believe we’ll see a rise in chickpea consumption as they are a natural alternative to making vegan burgers, are great roasted with a crunch for salads or a snack, and you can cook them to stay soft and go in your pasta, for example," she says. "Chickpeas have been a staple in my food lifestyle ever since I fell in love with them about two years ago. They are also packed with nutrition including protein."

If you've been using the aforementioned ingredients to boost your health but want to find some other sources of stress relief, meat substitutes, and more, some of the latest wellness crazes have also got you covered. For a closer look at five that nutrition experts say will be huge this year, plus a few ways to get them into your routine, read ahead.

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2021 Wellness Ingredients: Nervines

"[I] think nervines will become the next class of plant allies we'll be getting deeply acquainted with, as we look to actively calm our nerves and also to restore our nervous systems," Gerson says.

So what exactly are they? Simply put, nervines are herbs used to support the nervous system, and the wellness guru explains that their effects can range from stimulating to sedating. "Kava kava is one of the more deeply calming, grounding, and nerve restorative ones," she offers. "[It] actually shares many similarities to cannabis and hemp in associated stigma; array of different types; and potent healing properties for body, mind, and heart. It's been highly studied for its strong anxiety-calming effects, and further used to help soothe pain and muscle tension, is a mild euphoriant and aphrodisiac; qualities that could probably all use a hearty bump these days." A few other nervines to look for include valerian root, skullcap, catnip, and chamomile — all of which are said to promote relaxation and aid sleep.

2021 Wellness Ingredients: Jackfruit

Reducing your meat consumption in 2021? You might want to stock up on vitamin- and mineral-packed jackfruit. "Jackfruit is a fruit that can actually be cooked to look like meat and almost has a similar taste, depending on how you cook it and what sauce you use," James says, who admits to disliking the taste of most other meat alternatives. "Mastering cooking it at home is challenging but there are also many new food places popping up that serve it." You can also find many pre-seasoned jackfruit products already on shelves.

2021 Wellness Ingredients: Vitamin D

"With so much interest in strengthening the immune system, and a strong likelihood that we'll still be spending quite a bit of time indoors and at home through this winter, ensuring that our bodies have adequate vitamin D levels has never been more important," explains Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino, physician at Parsley Health. "Because vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased susceptibility to infections, and vitamin D can be quite difficult to obtain through food sources or even sunlight, a high-quality vitamin D supplement is going to be a must-have (especially during the winter months)."

2021 Wellness Ingredients: Nutritive Tea

"Two herbal teas in particular are being used in place of synthetic multivitamins: red raspberry leaf and nettle leaf," shares Dr. Kate Denniston, licensed naturopathic doctor at Los Angeles Integrative Health. "[They both] contain incredible amounts of natural vitamins and minerals, which most of us need due to our nutrient depleted soil and modern farming practices. Aside from being potent sources of natural nutrients, they're also known for increasing the growth and strength of hair, most likely due to their high mineral content."

2021 Wellness Ingredients: Humic & Fulvic Acids

Speaking of mineral replacement, Denniston adds that consuming humic and fulvic acids (via supplement) is another way to do just that. "These acids improve our microbiome and protect our immune system in addition to providing mineral content," she says. "Minerals are essential co-factors for many biochemical processes in the body and are required for healthy metabolism, immune function, balanced hormones, healthy hair and skin. Shilajit, which contains humic and fulvic acids, has been used for its health benefits for centuries in traditional ayurvedic medicine."