Much of 2020 will be remembered not only for disrupting world economies and normal lives alike but also for the learning it imparted. A lesson that sometimes planning goes meaningless, stress can come from factors beyond our control, and most importantly, health must never take a back seat.

Fears over COVID-19 and a short window until nationwide lockdowns triggered people to panic buy and hoard stuff. Due to this, a lot of them stockpiled months of groceries and personal care items such as hand washes, sanitisers, and soaps, while many others had to return home empty-handed.

Upended supply chains created another challenge in accessing essential products critical to fighting against the contagion. The entire ordeal ultimately brought people’s attention to maintaining good health to survive the global health crisis.

World organisations, health institutes, healthcare practitioners, etc. issued advisories over good hygiene practices during the first quarter of the year.

The internet was later swarmed with blogs and massive data on healthy food habits by fitness bloggers and enthusiasts, with an audience showing a sudden, active appetite for the information.

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Let’s look at some of the trends that the health and wellness industry has seen this year.

A rise in demand for immunity-boosting products

All products that could strengthen the immune system to increase its control over the pathogens were hugely popular amongst the masses. Fruits and vegetables, beverages, nuts, seeds, dairy products, supplements, and other nutritional edibles/drinks in all forms and packages, saw a huge upswing in demand to build resilience, or say, probably the only defence against the virus.

Increased awareness for nutritional supplementsThe year has also seen an increase in awareness, acceptance, and consumption of nutritional supplements. As people realise that the food they intake might fall short of certain macro and micronutrients, they are resorting to dietary supplements to fill in those nutritional gaps.

For instance, proteins are the building blocks of life and help in cell production.

Although dairy products and meat are a good source of protein, whey protein powders can also suffice for good amounts, in their absence. Besides, they come in packaged form and have a much longer shelf life.

A growing market for healthy foods and substitute eating

One of the best trends this year has been a craze for a healthier bite. Food aggregators such as Zomato and Swiggy doubled up their health food segments as cloud kitchens introduced new health brands on their menu.

Homestyle food was a hit amongst cities and people willing to eat right. Besides, there was an increasing awareness over healthier replacements such as jaggery, organic brown sugar, and A2 cow ghee in cooking. Healthier substitutes to mindless junk snacking have indeed emerged profitable for all stakeholders.

Mental health and wellness have been the talk of the town

The threat of the contagion, large scale business disruptions, loss of income, pressing teleworking routines, social isolation had their psychological implications. Today, mental health and wellness are gaining prominence over other things. Organisations across the globe have taken note of the situation to come up with employee assistance programmes to help their workforce deal with stressors better.

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At-home fitness has become popular

As opposed to the popular belief, gyms are no more fitness prerequisites, perhaps due to the social distancing. At-home fitness is gaining heat as people are taking an active interest in staying fit using IoT and smart wearables.

Easy access to health data pesters them subconsciously to take stairs, walk instead of driving to run errands, and perform activities that could complete their step count or calorie goals for the day. Fitness apps and videos are also coming in handy for the purpose. As a result, the online fitness market is flourishing, with instructor-led live streaming guiding audiences to stay healthy and active during this time.

The bittersweet year, which is nearing its end, rendered a lot of teachings. Hopefully, we will step into the New Year more evolved and better equipped to handle uncertainties. It can only be achieved if we understand our shortfalls, learn from them, and move ahead. Going forward, we have to learn to forget the bad memories for mental well-being and embrace a healthy lifestyle for overall fitness, as health is the only wealth.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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