Photo: McLellan Style
Countless brides will kick off 2017 with a never-ending list of health resolutions to reach peak bridal beauty — but how many of these #fitnessgoals are actually good for you? We consulted with Nikki Ostrower, nutritionist and founder of NAO Nutrition, for her expert advice to brides hoping to improve their health and appearance before the big day. “When we're not thinking properly or we're stressed out, we tend to emotionally overeat or eat foods that aren't supportive of our healthy lifestyle,” Ostrower states. However, she counters, “When we have a balanced mood, we are going to more likely want to make better food choices.” If you're hoping to beat bridal stress and eat your way to nirvana in advance of the wedding, read on for Ostrower's top trends of 2017.
1. Adaptogenic Herbs
First, Ostrower explains, look to natural remedies of the past for 2017's top trends, including adaptogenic herbs. “Adaptogenic herbs have been used in traditional Chinese medicine and ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Basically, what these adaptogenic herbs do… is they help to lower our cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced in response to stress. However, if we're abusing it, if we're stressed out all the time, then our adrenal glands become exhausted,” Ostrower states. Sound familiar? Ostrower explains that this type of burnout is common, especially among brides. “Just the act of taking in an adaptogenic herb, which nourishes our adrenal gland, we're preventing our [bodies] from unnecessarily trapping our fat, and also giving our minds the ability to handle stress more effectively,” she explains. However, stress prevention isn't the only benefit of taking adaptogenic herbs. “These adaptogens also boost the immune system, they support managing a healthy weight, give us more endurance, help with focus, and encourage a balanced mood,” she elaborates. Pop into your local health food store to find adaptogenic herbs like Gynostemma to help with digestion, fatigue and youth restoration; Astragalus to attend to your chi, or energy; or Asteracantha for assistance with blood sugar levels and heightened stress. Ostrower recommends incorporating the herbs into daily meals or adding a pinch of your favorite combination to the blender for a “mind, body and spirit smoothie.”
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Another of Ostrower's favorite phenomenons for 2017 is apple cider vinegar. Explains Ostrower, “It helps our body to build its own hydrochloric acid, which is the beneficial acid in our belly [that] helps to digest fats, carbohydrates and protein. It's like putting the key in the ignition and jumpstarting digestion. “You never want to take it in shot form,” Ostrower warns brides.” “People think, ‘No pain, no gain,' but that's not the case with this. You really want to dilute this in water, so it's 1 tablespoon to 8 ounces of water.” Ostrower recommends brides utilize unpasteurized apple cider to reap the most benefits.
Golden-hued turmeric is an age-old beauty and health remedy perfect for brides on the go. “It's a super-power antioxidant that helps to fight free radicals and carcinogens, and also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties,” Ostrower reveals. The nutritionist suggests blending the spice with hot water, lemon juice, honey and coconut to concoct a DIY boost juice.
4. Bone Broth
To treat irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, Ostrower suggests bone broth. “Bone broth really helps to heal and seal the gut on a cellular level,” she explains. “They call it chicken soup for the soul. Traditional bone broth has so many minerals and micronutrients that really help.” Ostrower elaborates that the broth can be consumed like a soup, or brides can add in vegetables and meat to make it into a healthful meal.
5. Mindful Meals
Many brides also happen to be busy professionals with a full work and social calendar, meaning that most meals are eaten on the fly with little attention paid to the food itself. While the habit is understandable, Ostrower stresses that eating mindfully is an underrated health practice guaranteed to improve overall well-being. “When we're stressed out, we tend to eat really fast or we skip meals and it affects our blood sugar. Or, if we're overeating, it affects our metabolism,” Ostrower reminds brides. “A really cool trick is, if we're [mindfully] eating, digestion is going to be seamless,” the nutritionist states. “Get all of your senses involved; really look at your food. Give thanks [for] the beautiful, bountiful food that's on our plates.”