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5 Science-Backed Wellness Trends for 2020 and Beyond

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In light of COVID-19, more Americans are focusing on health. This year, 55% of surveyed individuals say they plan on attending a health and wellness event. We all want to take better care of ourselves and our families. Not surprisingly, the gospel of self-care has taken the world by storm. And, judging by the wellness trends for 2020, health will dominate the national conversation well into 2021. Let’s be honest; you probably see health-related ads every time you log into your social media account.

But, unfortunately, the massive size of the health and wellness industry (+$50 billion) draws out some nefarious actors. Vigilant consumers and watchdogs consistently ferret out shady businesses using so-called science to hawk their products. From Chobani’s not-so-sugar-free yogurt to Kellogg’s faux “health” cereals, it’s tough to identify the right health trends to adopt. Facebook has even taken to deleting wellness pages that tout pseudoscientific claims.

So, what can you trust? Science obviously! Here are the five biggest wellness trends for 2020 and beyond, all backed by reputable studies — not fancy marketing gimmicks.

1. The Endocannabinoid System Will Transform the Field of Pharmacology

Two things you may not know about one of the most groundbreaking wellness trends for 2020:

  • Cannabinoid receptors are more numerous than any other receptor in the human body.
  • Prolonged exercise produces anandamide — a “bliss” inducing cannabinoid.

CBD is the most researched health-and-wellness trend on the Internet. According to a study, online users made more than 6.4 million Google searches for CBD in April 2019. In fact, we would argue that CBD has become the buzzword for health in the 21st century. Clearly, Hemp Oil is having its moment in the spotlight. So far, research shows that CBD may be beneficial for:

  • Balanced mood support (1,2,3)
  • Physical discomfort (1,2,3,4,5)
  • Mental tension (1)
  • Nervous system support (1,2,3,4,5)

While CBD has been shown to reduce health discomfort levels, it isn’t the only cannabinoid that interacts with our bodies in a profound way. Every human being has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) — a complex combination of receptors and neurotransmitters that directly interact with cannabinoids in our bodies. Other cannabinoids like THC and CBN (cannabinol) also interact with our ECS system. To date, studies have uncovered the role interactions between cannabinoids and the ECS play in our overall health.

The Importance of Cannabinoids

Believe it or not, it was just a few years back when scientists were calling cannabinoids like CBD the “most misunderstood compounds on earth.” In 2003, Nature Medicine described the endocannabinoid system as having “an important role in nearly every paradigm of pain, in memory, in neurodegeneration, and in inflammation.”

Yet, research surrounding hemp and its cannabinoids didn’t flourish until the last few years due to regulatory issues (namely, the illegality of the hemp plant). Scientific American even made a rallying call to increase research into cannabinoids — like CBD — back in 2004. But, it wasn’t until the last few years that we really started to understand the massive role Hemp Oil plays in our bodies.

CBD may be no stranger to fame, but it’s not the only cannabinoid we should pay attention to. The other hundred plus compounds in hemp also affect our ECS in profound ways, and consumers are starting to notice. Of course, pure CBD products still reign supreme in the public consciousness. But, Hemp Oil is where modern trendsetters are heading. CBG (cannabigerol) and CBC (cannabichromene) are two of the rising stars in the cannabis world. Initial studies show that both exhibit anti-bacterial properties and offer effective nervous system support.

Depending on your supplier, natural Hemp Oil may contain a hundred or more types of cannabinoids. For consumers, Hemp Oil is an effective way of obtaining health benefits from cannabinoids without the THC “high.” People are already adding Hemp Oil tinctures to their green smoothies in the morning. Within the next few years, Hemp Oil may be a breakfast staple.

2. Outdoor Living Helps Connect Us With Nature

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Did you know?

  • Preliminary studies suggest that spending time in nature leads our bodies to produce protective anti-cancer proteins.
  • You don’t have to spend nights camping out in the mountains to reap some of the rewards of nature. Sitting near a window that affords a view of trees and grassy landscapes can reduce workplace anxiety and increase productivity.
  • Studies suggest that walking in nature reduces the risk of depression and is increasingly being used as a form of therapy by individuals suffering from mood disorders.

Most Americans spend 90% of their time indoors. We’ve traded hunting, fishing, and outdoor sports for video games, the Internet, and phone screens. However, our bodies aren’t prepared to camp out in frosty air-conditioned rooms forever. Being outdoors can do wonders for our minds and bodies.

What the Research Says About Nature and Health

Two Women Hiking Up A Mountain

According to research, taking a walk in nature improves memory recall by 20%, decreases levels of anxiety, and lowers pulse rates by 4%. In fact, you get a boost in mental energy simply by looking at images of nature. CDC data shows that the number of adults embracing walking has jumped by 6% over the past few years, and we expect that number to climb as we all look for ways to disconnect from media and reconnect with the majesty of nature. Blue Zones — a wellness project based on longevity research — recommends that everyone walk at least an hour a day in order to earn that coveted “centurion” label. Taking a walk in the park may prove more beneficial than ingesting salads drenched in fat-laden dressings.

But, it’s not just simply walks that are driving the outdoor wellness trend. Since 2014, the number of people who spend at least two days a year camping has increased by 72%. Driven by Millennials and Gen X, camping is undergoing a new renaissance — and there’s plenty of research to support the benefits of camping.

In one study, students who spent two days in a forest had lower levels of cortisol (the human “stress hormone”) and inflammation than their city-dwelling counterparts. Other studies suggest that a few days in nature can bump our creative capabilities by up to 50%. Of course, you don’t have to be an expert in bushcraft to bask in the sun. Startups like Gateway — a premium cabin rental business that recently secured $22.5 million in Series B funding — offer people the opportunity to unplug from the online world and embrace the serenity of nature in cozy luxury cabins.

Meanwhile, AutoCamp — a “glamping” experience offered in Cape Cod — lets you experience the great outdoors in trendy comfort. Finally, HipCamp offers an “Airbnb” camping experience for those looking to experience wilderness living minus the “wild.”

3. Alt-Meat Enters the Mainstream

“I believe that in 30 years or so… all meat will either be clean or plant-based, taste the same, and be much healthier for everyone” ~ Richard Branson

Did you know?

  • Beyond Meat’s growth has doubled over the last year.
  • Annually, we eat over 220lbs of meat per person.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen plant-based meat substitutes go from a niche to mainstream option you can order from the Burger King drive-thru. The plant-based meat boom isn’t going away anytime soon. Beyond Meat — one of the leaders in the plant-based burger space — has seen its growth double over the last year. So far, White Castle, Burger King, McDonald’s, Qdoba, and hundreds of other restaurants have added these delicious faux meats to their menus.

We’re seeing major players in the meat industry, including Tyson, Purdue, and Cargill, jump into the alternative protein market with their own offerings. Presently, the global market for alternative meats has skyrocketed above $5.2 billion. For consumers, plant-based meats offer a better way to savor the tastes they love without incurring the consequences they fear.

Will We Stop Eating Meat Altogether?

The American Association (ACA) recommends that Americans cut out the majority of meat from their diets. There are also thousands of studies that show the benefits of sticking to a minimal-meat or meat-free diet. Already, 80% of Millennials purchase alternative meats when grocery shopping, and research points towards Gen Z having an even more insatiable appetite for plant-based options.

We won’t see meat leave the menu anytime soon. But, for health-conscious individuals, alternative proteins offer a great way to stay healthy without significant sacrifice. A full 70% of the world’s population is decreasing their consumption of meat, and around a quarter of consumers expect to see meat substitutes at their favorite eating spots within the next year.

4. Skincare Goes Au Naturel

“The finest clothing made is a person’s own skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this.” ~ Mark Twain

Did you know?

  • By 2027, the natural skincare market will be worth $54 billion dollars.
  • Millennials are driving the demand for natural skincare, one of the most notable wellness trends for 2020.

In this “love the skin you’re in” age, finding ways to increase skin elasticity without caking it in laboratory chemicals isn’t easy. But, it certainly is trendy. According to a report by Kline & Company, “natural” is the leading trend in the personal care industry. At Synchronicity, we’re heavy believers in the power of natural products to transform our health. Why slap a coat of lab-created petroleum products on your lips when you can pick up a natural solution like Wthn’s Rose Lip Polish? Or, why use a BHA-infused lotion when you can rely on natural Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil Lotion?

“Natural” isn’t just a trend; it has become a way of life. However, eating whole foods while slapping man-made chemicals on our faces may be antithetical. Still, what happens when natural substitutes don’t exist? For example, many retinol-infused skincare products contain chemicals. And, retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A, has proved effective in transforming skin at the cellular level.

You don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater, however. Brands like Clark’s Botanicals offer retinol-based, chemical-free face cleansers that contain wonderful natural compounds like oatmeal.

Put Nature Back Into "Natural" Skincare

If you’re considering making the switch to natural skincare, there’s no better time to do it than the present. There are hundreds of natural beauty products offering serious benefits. Still, you may quite rightly wonder: Can “natural” really compete with all those powerful skin-rejuvenating acids that Big Skincare constantly pumps out? You bet. If you haven’t been paying attention, WEN by Chaz Dean recently lost a $26 million class-action lawsuit because its hair care products were causing people’s hair to fall out. Similarly, Johnson & Johnson is losing billion-dollar lawsuits due to its carcinogenic talc products. And, that’s just the start. Without being over-dramatic, the FDA has banned at least 30 chemicals. In the EU alone, countries have banned over 1,300 chemicals in consumer products.

According to the Fashion Institute of Technology’s graduate school, 90% of consumers believe that natural beauty products are safer than the alternative. And, who can blame them for thinking so? Even the perfume sector, a notoriously chemical-laden industry, is getting a makeover. Presently, companies like Petite Historie offer completely natural fragrances that smell amazing without the addition of toxic chemicals.

5. Gut Health Is Still "In"

“Follow reason, but don’t ignore that gut feeling.” ~ Debasish Mridha, M.D.

Did you know?

  • Disturbances in the gut biome can lead to obesity, autoimmune diseases, and metabolic abnormalities.
  • Gut bacteria helps you digest food, fight off viruses, and regulate your hormones.

The past few years have been a Golden Age for our gut. We switched from fruit-infused water drinks to fermented beverages like Kombucha to satiate our thirst (and fortify our bodies). We also learned that our gut plays an important role in aging, disease resistance, and physical wellbeing. And, like us, many of our friends began scarfing down Greek yogurt to aid digestion and deal with a host of intestinal conditions.

But, like the endocannabinoid system (ECS), gut health is just getting started. 70% of your immune system is centered in your gut, and finding ways to maintain the trillions of good bacteria living there is more than a health fad. It’s become a pursuit of passion. There are 10x more bacteria in your gut than there are cells in your body. Probiotics in foods like yogurt help mitigate the side-effects of treatment for certain health conditions and provide seasonal immune support. In fact, probiotics have hundreds of proven benefits, so we won’t dive into the extensive research about this. For more information, check out this Harvard post.

Probiotics: The Secret to Optimum Gut Health

There are two ways to increase good bacteria in your gut: naturally (through your appendix) and orally (through consuming probiotic-rich foods). Did you know that your appendix actually serves as an incubation chamber or reservoir for probiotics (good bacteria)? But, even with our appendix cultivating microscopic goodies, many of us still need to maintain a healthy gut biome. And, the trick to doing this is simpler than once thought: you consume probiotics.

Companies like The Nue Co sell probiotic gummies that include both probiotics and prebiotics. For those looking to stock up on all their vitamin needs, Careof offers a vitamin service that delivers individually packaged vitamins — which are custom-tailored for your body — to your home each month.

The gut health revolution isn’t going away anytime soon. As one of the most significant wellness trends for 2020, it promises to change the way we eat forever. So, stock up on probiotics and drink up that Kombucha.

Wellness Trends for 2020: Reinvent Your Health Routine With Synchronicity

At Synchronicity, we believe that health and wellness is the single most important part of life. Happiness doesn’t happen by chance. You must put in the effort, change less-than-ideal lifestyle habits, and embrace evidence-based healthcare.

In the final analysis, we can’t rent you a snazzy cabin in the mountains or make you eat probiotic-infused yogurt. However, we can offer you fine hand-pressed, whole-plant Hemp Oil produced from sustainably raised, organic hemp plants. If you’re ready to get back in the driver’s seat in light of the plethora of wellness trends for 2020, contact us. Let’s talk hemp, health, and happiness.

Young Woman Reading In Room

10 Wellness-Focused Books Worth Reading

Reading good books can benefit your health and wellbeing. And, a healthy lifestyle delivers the same benefits. So, why not combine the two? Over the years, and especially in the last decade, a number of authors have released a wide range of wellness-focused books that have wowed both critics and audiences. These books have garnered critical acclaim, topped bestseller lists, and become cultural icons.

Each of them focuses on a different wellness trend or aspect of healthy living that you can embrace. We’ve gathered them in a single list of the top 10 wellness-focused books ever written. This list has a little something for almost everyone. So, dive in: borrow or buy the books, and start walking the path towards happiness and wellbeing.

Disclaimer: the list below isn’t ranked in any way. The quest to find the best “wellness-focused book” on earth is an impossibility. Instead, each of the books featured below stands in its own right and deserves consideration.

1) Lifespan: Why We Age, and Why We Don't Have To (2019)

by David A. Sinclair

Aging and wellness are almost indisputably connected. Much of what we learn about living a healthy lifestyle is designed to help us live longer. In this book, however, one of Time magazine’s most influential people takes a different approach.

In his book, Sinclair — a Harvard-based researcher by trade — doesn’t just focus on living longer. He focuses on the elements that help us stay healthy for longer, and he highlights surprising truths about the connection between stress and the ability to keep our minds fresh. 

Like so many other relatively recent wellness-focused books, this tome also explores the topics of intermittent fasting and its potentially healthy benefits. Sinclair is careful, of course, to avoid making outrageous claims that can easily be refuted by medical professionals. In fact, the science-based research and the candor with which he discusses his topics are one of the main reasons why the Scientific Inquirer had many positive things to say about the book:

After 400 pages of Sinclair’s solid research and blunt social commentaries, most readers may feel that Lifespan is promising us the equivalent of Ponce de Leon’s “Fountain of Youth.” Sinclair’s message, however, is startling simple: “There is no biological law that says we must age… it takes radical thinking to even begin to approach what this will mean for our species.”

2) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2014)

by Marie Kondo

This is the book that inspired the Netflix series, itself on our list of top streaming shows related to wellness. So, you may be familiar with the book’s basic concept: that decluttering your home (and your life) can change both for the better.

The book that made Marie Kondo a mainstream influencer became a #1 bestseller on the New York Times list upon its release. More comprehensively than a TV show ever could, it takes its readers through each step of her KonMari method of de-cluttering and de-stressing. If the show was about entertainment, this is the self-help guide to your own wellness.

Does it work? Ultimately, that depends on your personality. No wellness advice is a magic bullet that solves all the problems in the world. However, some of the tips are so profound, straightforward, and eloquent, that it’s well worth a read. As the Today Show puts it when trying out the KonMari method:

The best part about Kondo’s book is her advice on how to deal with the hardest items to get rid of: those things that make you feel guilty. That dress I bought five years ago and wore just once, because it makes me feel dumpy? It’s survived many a purge because I can still remember how much it cost, and it’s in perfect condition — even though I know I’ll never wear it.

3) Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (1970)

by Shunryu Suzuki

Not all wellness-focused books are from within the last decade. Perhaps, no book exhibits that more than Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, a transcription of teachings by the late Shunryu Suzuki, the monk who popularized Buddhism in America.

Few words describe this book better than the word “wisdom.” In particular, the teaching on mindfulness will stick with you, focusing on simplicity not as a starting point but a worthy goal. Truly achieving that calm, clear simplicity is the guide behind much of what Suzuki teaches in this book.

The underlying message: trust in yourself. Let go of the things that could harm you. Discover who you truly are, and leverage that knowledge to live a more satisfying life. This isn’t one of those books you read once and put away, either. As a Patch.com reviewer puts it:

It’s interesting to note, as time goes by, which parts of the book speak to me. As a middle-aged parent almost twenty years removed from that reciting newlywed, I am struck by Suzuki’s, or perhaps Zen’s, insistence that if we remain steady within ourselves, everything outsides of ourselves will be steady as well. He offers what may well be the best parenting advice I have ever encountered.

4) 10% Happier (2014)

by Dan Harris

Zen Mind takes on meditation at its most profound level. On the other hand, 10% Happier makes it more of an everyday activity. This is the personal story of Dan Harris, the former ABC News correspondent whose on-air panic attack caused him to rethink and change his life.

This book is helpful but also funny. In fact, the lightheartedness with which Harris details the journey to mindfulness makes you fly through the pages without realizing that all his points are substantiated by real science.

In a nutshell, this is a “learning-by-doing” book. As Psychology Today points out, the title deliberately highlights the experience of someone who doesn’t fanatically practice meditation but has found more joy in life as a result:

Harris is a skeptic who has found something that works. It may seem grand and overly ambitious to imagine a world in which everyone meditates. But, as Harris points out, before World War II, most people didn’t brush their teeth. If we could have a revolution in dental hygiene, then why not a revolution in mental hygiene?  Why not a world in which everyone is 10% happier?

5) The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time (2017)

by Arianna Huffington

This celebrity-authored tome is one of the most influential wellness-focused books on the market. Written by the founder of the Huffington Post, it focuses on sleep (or the lack of it). Forget about the advice you read about successful people waking up at 4 a.m. every morning. Here, Huffington outlines how her daily eight hours of sleep and regular power naps have helped her productivity take off.

It’s all backed up by science, of course. The book offers many actionable tips, including stretches to do before going to bed. The simple takeaway: if you don’t get the sleep part right, you may negatively affect your health and every other portion of your life. 

Overall, it provides a good read at 300 + pages, even if some of the advice may sound similar to what you’ve heard before. Or, as Publisher’s Weekly described the book in its 2017 review:

Much advice is familiar—put aside the electronic devices, exercise more, and meditate—but some is less so, including suggestions on how to use the latest sleep-tracking devices and sleep-optimizing hotels. Huffington proves herself a powerful advocate for those suffering from what she identifies as the current “sleep crisis.”

Woman Holding Ballet Pose Near Ocean

6) The Telomere Effect (2017)

by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel

Get ready to learn about biology and chemical compounds. We’re fans of research that digs deep — have you heard about terpenes? —so, naturally, The Telomere Effect had to make the list.

Co-written by a Nobel Prize winner, the book highlights the source of Blackburn and Epel’s winning research: a biological enzyme called telomerase that scientists say is a core component for living longer. Here’s why: telomerase promotes healthy cell regeneration. As it turns out, this enzyme is activated through diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle.

All of this sounds complex, but Blackburn and Epel manage to explain it in an approachable, casual way. We’ll let Psychology Today explain it for us:

Blackburn and Epel end their wonderfully informative and readable book with what they call “The Telomere Manifesto”. They urge us to “Mind…Maintain…and Connect Your Telomeres” as well as to “Create Telomere Health in Your Community and the World (which focuses on the social determinants of our health and mental health)”… The result, as has been said, will be priceless.

7) Medical Nemesis (1974)

by Ivan Illich

Prepare yourself for some controversial prose. Medical Nemesis (also known as Limits to Medicine) has been criticized for not taking the modern medical establishment at face-value, preferring instead to question its inflexibility. Still, this isn’t an anti-establishment manifesto. Instead, it’s an embrace of the uniqueness of every human being and the need for personalized treatment as a result.

Crucially, Illich isn’t a medical practitioner but a philosopher. As such, his book should be read not as medical advice but as an inspiration for listening to our bodies. That said, it’s important to know that some of his more controversial views, like the warnings against the over-prescription of drugs, have found prominent support from members of the medical community.

Illich’s treatise is one of the most important wellness-focused books of the 20th century. He invites us to examine the human condition. Or, as the New York Times puts it in 1976:

He uses medicine to ask us what we want from life, and he questions our dreams of reason. He cares deeply about the human condition, and he has maintained the essential ingredient of that oaring, a capacity for outrage. If we can confront his outraged—and outrageous —questions, we will, inevitably, begin to change.

8) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (2016)

by Mark Manson

Certainly, the title is attention-grabbing. So, you reach for it on the library (or digital) shelf. However, the wisdom in this book goes way beyond the tongue-in-cheek title. According to Manson, wellness is about letting go of the things that don’t really matter and focusing only on the things most important to us. 

Granted, it’s a bit ironic that an online influencer with a six-figure social media following advocates against distractions like Facebook and Twitter. But, it’s just as refreshing to hear Manson’s recommendations against being positive for its own sake. Instead, he advises taking a more realistic approach to things that are “f**ked up” and learning how to live with them.

Essentially, Manson’s theme is: Life is imperfect. So, make the best of it. If that’s not a wellness lesson, we don’t know what is. And, as Huffington Post maintains in its book review, the crude language is just a cover for the profound life lessons in this book:

There are no soft puffy cloud prancing unicorns offering hugs on colorful rainbows, only F-bomb explosions and brutal smack-you-in-the-face reality slaps. But by the time you finish reading it, you’ll find yourself tingling with promise. The world suddenly seems brighter and lighter. You’ll feel free, and oddly, good, despite the shit sandwiches served throughout the book.

9) The Rhythm of Life (2016)

by Matthew Kelly

What does it mean to thrive? How can I feel empowered in a world that engulfs me in seemingly endless busywork? Those are exactly the types of questions you’ll find in one of our favorite wellness-focused books.

Kelly maintains that wellness is about slowing down. It’s about looking around and reflecting on what our eyes see and what we experience. Most importantly, it’s about finding that rhythm that lets us live a more successful, reflective, and fulfilling life.

Kelly calls it “the habit of thriving.” He prescribes a diet of the mind, from the books we read to the thoughts we focus on. Solitude becomes an asset, not a thing to avoid. From a 2016 Entrepreneur.com review:

I came across this book during a very dark time in my life. I just reached an injury settlement with the Chicago Bears, and I was very uncertain about what was in store for me at the time. After reading the book, I was very eager to put into practice all that I had learned and started to really pay attention to my needs and give them the attention that they needed in order for me to truly thrive.

10) Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (2012)

by Greg McKeown

Out of all the books on this list, Essentialism comes the closest to examining the true meaning of life. It focuses on the parts of everyday life that make it worth living and offers actionable tips to help you cut out those things that don’t.

This isn’t a book about how to get more accomplished. It’s about how to get the right things accomplished, the things that truly add value to your life. McKeown masterfully explains that success can actually be a detractor because it also leads to more distractions away from what is truly essential.

How did McKeown get to these insights? After leaving his wife and newborn in the hospital room for what turned out to be an unproductive business meeting, he had an epiphany. It changed his life considerably. Instead of taking on everything asked of him, he began to commit only to those projects that held meaning for him and that he had time for. The result was greater peace and more satisfaction with his life. This book is an easy read full of actionable tips, as Publisher’s Weekly points out:

By making better choices, and not taking on the weight of other people’s problems, readers can realize the non-essential nature of virtually everything in life, and learn to be present and spend more meaningful time with family and friends. This is a smart, concise guide for the overcommitted and under-satisfied

Enjoying Wellness-Focused Books and Practicing Mindfulness for a Healthier Life

Reading wellness-focused books like the above is immensely satisfying. They teach fundamental lessons and tend to inspire life changes that are just as fundamental. In a nutshell, they correlate with our concept of achieving optimal wellness

How we get there, of course, differs from person to person. You may want to orient your attention toward the world’s most innovative wellness companies. That alone will introduce you to products that can help you live a happier and healthier life.

Speaking of products: as you look for ways to increase your wellbeing, consider using Hemp Oil for relaxation. We believe our sustainable farming methods and LipidTrans™ Infusion Process produces the highest-quality Hemp Oil on the planet. In addition, its effects on the body tend to line up well with many of the concepts highlighted in the books above, helping you transition to a healthier life.

Either way, we’ll be glad to be at your side as you embark on a journey of lasting health. Tell us: what are your favorite wellness-focused books? Share your thoughts with us, and let’s have a conversation about mindfulness and relaxed living.