5 Wellness Trends to Watch in 2023

The internet metabolizes wellness trends the way it churns through celebrity divorce announcements or song snippets on TikTok. Health hacks like slurping down olive oil or chugging bone broth burble up, break through, then slink into obscurity. All these frenetic fads make the concept of “wellness” squishy — wait, we’re drinking lettuce water? When did everyone get so concerned about their cortisol?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed. “Anyone who has learned anything from a conversation with their own nutritionist or maybe with their mother or just their personal life journey” can share their findings and suddenly go viral, said Emily Moquin, a food and beverage analyst at the research firm, Morning Consult.

But a few clear themes have emerged over the first half of the year. Now that summer has slouched into August, here’s a roundup of the health and wellness trends that keep popping up in 2023.

“Ozempic” has become an umbrella term for a new class of medications that can induce staggering weight loss, in part by squashing one’s appetite and slowing the emptying of the stomach. There’s Ozempic itself, an injectable diabetes medication that has become increasingly popular as people use it as an off-label tool to lose weight. There’s also Wegovy, a different dose of the same substance in Ozempic and that is approved to treat obesity; Mounjaro, a similar diabetes drug; and others. Some consumers have stretched to find unauthorized options, like drugs from compounding pharmacies or supplements like berberine.

Part of what’s so fascinating about drugs like Ozempic is how they impact the brain: Users have described their “food noise” — the incessant, spiraling thoughts about eating — shutting off. As more people turn to these drugs, some are also navigating stark side effects: shrinking muscle mass, intense nausea, vomiting, constipation and even, in rare cases, malnutrition.

And the hype is just beginning: Pharmaceutical companies are developing more potent drugs in this class, and a pill form of Ozempic is on the horizon.

After a pandemic-induced chill, bathhouses are back, and more people are turning to them with the hopes of sweating out toxins or boosting their brain. Researchers say there isn’t clear evidence that saunas can do quite all that, but a trip to the steam room might offer some health benefits.

Can’t focus? Can’t sleep? Are you taxing your poor immune system? Are you stressed about how stressed you are?

The multibillion-dollar supplement industry is eager to offer answers. One plant or another seems to go viral every few weeks (sea moss, anyone?) as consumers hunt for the right potion or pill or product. In particular, people have recently focused on supplements that soothe anxiety: Ashwagandha, a staple of Ayurvedic medicine, lurched into the mainstream this year, and legions of TikTok posts have touted untested herbal remedies to lower cortisol levels.

Maybe your date keeps listing love languages, or your Hinge feed is clogged with people gushing about their therapists. Psychological buzzwords have barraged the world of dating, as people use and abuse the jargon. Boundaries abound; daters claim to form “trauma bonds” over espresso martinis; people groan about gaslighting and love bombing.

“Instead of being like, ‘I’m 5-11, and I can bench-press some large amount,’ it’s like, ‘I have grappled with the challenges of my childhood, and I’ve thought deeply about my issues,’” said Paul Eastwick, a psychology professor at the University of California, Davis, who researches romantic relationships.

“We’ve just gone completely off the rails with protein in recent years,” Hannah Cutting-Jones, a food historian and the director of the food studies program at the University of Oregon, told The New York Times this past winter.

Take protein bars: They’re all over gas stations and gyms and grocery stores, but nutritionists say they are often little more than glorified candy. Or there’s cottage cheese, which hit a 19-year high for Google searches in July. Protein is a key part of the appeal of cottage cheese; a half-cup packs roughly the same amount of protein as three eggs. Never mind that most Americans are meeting, and often exceeding, the recommended daily protein intake — we just can’t seem to get enough.

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