In 2019 saw wellness and clean lifestyles growing in popularity. Picture: Pexels

Health trends come and go. While some may last the whole year, others are short-lived and seasonal.
 
Foods that were in last summer are suddenly out of favour.
 
Carbohydrates were once everyone's favourite and have fallen out of favour.. 
 
2019 saw wellness and clean lifestyles growing in popularity.
 
According to World Health Organization( WHO), a healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition.
 
“It protects you against many chronic noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. 
 
Eating a variety of foods and consuming less salt, sugar and saturated and industrially-produced trans-fats, are essential for a healthy diet,” says the organization. 
 
To stay ahead of what you should be putting in your grocery basket, here are some summer  top diet  food trends from Mari Pronk, a registered dietitian and Association for Dietitians in South Africa’s spokesperson.
 
DNA diets and personalised nutrition

Hundreds of genes, which affect weight and nutrient metabolism, have already been identified. 
 
The results of a DNA-test, can assist a dietitian in providing you with the healthiest diet in order to lose weight, combat chronic disease and reach your optimal level of health.

Testing your genes can give information regarding the type of exercise that best suits you, which supplements to take and avoid and which diet approach to follow.
 
Gene testing is becoming more popular in SA.
 
Plant-based diets

This focuses on making vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, soy products and whole grains the focus of meals, rather than animal products.
 
The positive effect on your health is obvious. Plant-based foods are naturally high in fibre, vitamins and minerals and low in fat and cholesterol. It’s also more environmentally sustainable.
 
Plant-based foods contain anti-oxidants and phytochemicals that can protect against cancer. 
 
Whole foods

This way of eating is all about returning to the basics. The emphasis is on whole, minimally processed foods. 
 
Whole foods are defined as foods that have not been refined, minimally processed and eaten in its natural state. This includes unprocessed food, such as fruits and vegetables, minimally processed food (inedible or unwanted parts of the food is removed), such as oats, brown rice and legumes. 
 
Whole foods are low in added salt, sugar and fat and do not contain additives. They are naturally higher in vitamins, minerals and fibre.
 
Eating mostly whole foods on a regular basis, can thus help to prevent unwanted weight gain.
 
Gut health
 
Recent studies have shown a connection between the trillions of bacteria in our gut (the gut microbiome) and our mental health and physical well being. 
 
If the balance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut is altered, it can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, weight gain, a decrease in immunity, body-wide inflammation, autoimmune diseases, diabetes and cancer.
 
Everyone has a unique gut microbiome, influenced by our environment, genetics and the foods we eat.
 
The good bacteria in the gut, called probiotics, can be increased by taking a probiotic supplement (tablets), or by eating certain foods. The focus has now shifted towards these foods. Fermented foods are currently the most popular food containing probiotics. 
 
A large variety of fermented foods, are currently available and include kombucha (fermented tea), kefir (fermented milk), sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) and kimchi (a spicy fermented cabbage).
 
High-fiber foods act as prebiotics. Thus the intake of these foods are also important, especially garlic, onion, asparagus, carrots, celery, apples and chicory. 
 
Intermittent fasting 

The interest in fasting will increase as more research shows the benefits of fasting on weight loss and chronic diseases like diabetes.
 
Several forms of intermittent fasting are currently recommended. This includes the 16:8 method, where all food is consumed within eight hours, followed by 16 hours of no eating. Hours of fasting can range from 12 to 18 hours.
 
Fasting is not recommended for children, pregnant and breastfeeding woman. If you have a chronic disease, first consult your doctor or a registered dietitian, before attempting this way of eating.