Mushrooms: One of the Top Five Natural Health Trends to Watch Out for in 2017

by Dr. Melissa Carr, Dr. TCM

Jan 20, 2017

The New Year is here. And, for countless Canadians, with it comes the usual resolutions to eat better and live a healthier lifestyle. But with so many options to choose from, it can quickly become overwhelming, sabotaging your health goals before you even have a chance to start. With that in mind, the Canadian Health Food Association ( CHFA ) asked industry leaders for their top five natural health trends that will be popping up in 2017.

I’ll get to the mushroom part, but first, so you can be in the know for 2017, here are all of the top five natural health trends for this year.


Sprouts will be taking root in 2017, and for a ton of good reasons. For starters, they are super low in calories and fats, not to mention an easily digested and absorbed source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, sprouts have been shown to improve digestion, increase metabolism, boost skin health, support the immune system, lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and so much more. With so many great benefits, it’s easy to see why this healthy food trend will be sprouting up all over the wellness landscape this year.

Plant-based dairy alternatives

Plant-based alternatives are exploding in popularity, quickly moving into the mainstream. So, if you're looking for a great dairy substitute, there are plenty of healthy options to choose from including a wide range of products made from rice, almonds, coconut, cashews, soy, flax seeds, hazelnuts, hemp, and more. Plant-based dairy alternatives are a great source of calcium, vitamins A, D and E, and are perfect for anyone with food allergies, lactose intolerance, or who follow vegan diets. You can even make your own at home!

Digestive enzymes

By now, you’ve probably heard about enzymes and how necessary they are to your digestive process. But sometimes we don’t produce enough natural enzymes, and that can lead to bloating and gas, and possibly even ulcers. Adding digestive enzymes to your diet will help break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, helping to properly absorb the healthy nutrients found in the food we eat. Of course, it’s not a good excuse to binge eat, but digestive enzymes may help you digest the occasional buffet, celebration dinner or enjoy foods that you may otherwise find challenging to digest (e.g. dairy, legumes).

Smart carbs

Carbs have been getting a bad rap for a while, but in 2017, that’s all about to change. Hold on a moment. No one is suggesting it’s okay to wolf down an entire cake or a box of cookies—food that is full of refined carbohydrates is full of empty calories, with next to no nutrition in them. No, what I’m talking about is smart carbs—real power foods that are actually good for you (as long as you choose them carefully). So this year, skip the junk food isle and choose healthier carb options like fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.


Last, but certainly not least, mushrooms will be stepping out from the shadows and into the spotlight from coast to coast this year. These fantastic fungi have been revered for thousands of years in Asia because of their many health benefits and healing properties, leaving many Canadians to wonder why they haven’t added mushrooms to their diets sooner.

Reishi mushrooms, for example, are brimming with curative compounds like triterpenes, alkaloids, sterols, and various key polysaccharides. Japanese red reishi has been used to prevent and treat cancer and cardiovascular disease, boost cognitive activity, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and detoxify the body.

As one of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s top herbal remedies, it’s time to make this once “for royals only” herb a household name. While it’s possible to get dried reishi mushrooms, slice thinly, and brew as a tea, it’s much easier (and palatable—this herb is bitter!) to get it in a high quality capsule form.

Dr. Melissa Carr is a registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine with a B.Sc. in Kinesiology. In practice since 2001, Dr. Carr has a passion for sharing health information. She has been a nutrition instructor and a health consultant, lecturer, and writer for 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper, Fraser Health Authority, UBC, and the David Suzuki Foundation, amongst others.


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