Potato milk and dream therapy – the health trends to watch in 2022

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It’s not just potatoes – sunflower seeds are set for a revival next year. In the US, Ben & Jerry’s recently released sunflower seed ice cream, while Whole Foods has sunflower butter, and brands including Biona have leapt on the trend too.

Plant-based foods are only set to increase. Since the release of Netflix’s much-talked about documentary, Seaspiracy, more of us are looking for alternatives. Vegan sashimi ‘zalmon’, usually made with made with tapioca starch, is on the rise, along with mushroom ‘bacon’ from the company MyEats.

Dream retreats

Researchers at the Harvard Medical School found in a poll that 29 per cent of people had experienced particularly vivid dreams during the pandemic – a ‘dream surge’ which has led to a rise in dream therapy. From apps to courses and retreats, seeking help to decipher what it all means is on the up. Tree Carr, who runs a retreat, says she has seen a huge spike in people wanting to know more about their dreams. When you “begin to decode them, you realise that your unconscious mind is helping you to balance something out in your waking life,” she explains. 

Hyperbaric chambers

Breath work has gained prominence with apps and classes to help master the technique. But the newest way to oxygenate your body is a session in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Typically, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a treatment where you get into a pressurised chamber and breathe in pure oxygen. Athletes have long used the treatment: footballers Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo, swimmer Michael Phelps and basketball star LeBron James are all known fans. But now others are jumping on the trend to get the anecdotal benefits (studies are so far inconclusive) that include better sleep, faster recovery times and newly, improved breathing capacity for long Covid sufferers.

“In normal conditions, the air we breathe is comprised of oxygen levels of 20.9 per cent. However, inside a hyperbaric chamber, the air is able to reach 95 per cent oxygen. This increase in oxygen levels helps to oxygenate the blood and encourage new blood vessel formations… [this] helps to develop your breathing capacity,” explains Samson Garwood, assistant head of ftness at Lanserhof at the Arts Club. As well as at some fancy gyms, chambers are available at some hospitals and clinics around the country, including at The Nottingham Oxygen Centre, which is currently treating those with long Covid.

Heavy hooping

The surprising fitness trend storming TikTok is weighted hula hooping: the hashtag #weightedhulahoop has had more than 200 million views and counting. But unlike many social media trends, this one is actually good for you. A 2019 study published in Obesity Facts found that those who used a weighted hula hoop for just under 13 minutes a day for six weeks lost just over 3cm from their waist, along with abdominal fat, compared with those who just walked 10,000 steps per day. Try the Core Balance Weighted Fitness Hula Hoop, £14.99 (corebalancefitness.co.uk).

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