Whether it's due to all the brainwashing from Netflix documentaries, or just down to better access to information, consumers are way more informed when it comes to health, especially in terms of nutrition. And as you'd expect, businesses - be it big time brands or small, independents or startups - have caught on. As a result, there are now loads of nutrition companies competing for our money, all promising the world and to fix our unhealthy habits.
Whether it's smart juicers, connected blender, high-tech cookers, antioxidant superfoods, or vegan protein powders; it's become almost impossible to know where to start when it comes to eating yourself healthy. Out of all the many aisles of Holand & Barrett or Planet Organic - how do you really know what's actually any good?
Here is a rundown of the best nutrition innovations that use technology to aid us in leading a healthier life, be it appliances, gadgets, services, or supplements.
Super smart, healthy cooking: Thermomix
The Thermomix is a multi-functional gadget for the kitchen that basically lets you do all your healthy cooking at once. The potentials of this thing are endless. Thermomix weighs, chops, blends, mixes, grinds, grates, cooks, steams, whisks and kneads, all at the touch of a button. Yep, pretty crazy stuff. There's also a full color touchscreen that can plan shopping lists, prepare meals and guide users through easy to follow recipes, meaning less time is spent in the kitchen and more time enjoying the end result.
Weight management: Nutribullet Balance
Launching in the UK this summer, the NutriBullet Balance uses its SMART Nutrition System which sees the blender connect to an app on a smartphone or tablet, and give real-time nutrition data, down to the very gram. It does this by weighing the food that you put into it, measuring and tracking as you pop them into it.
It can, therefore, count calories, proteins, carbs, fats, and sugar content of recipes by using the built-in Nutrition Sensor. This is all about making it easier to make healthy smoothies as users can following the recipes built into the app, which are suggested based on the user's personal tastes and nutritional goals.
Nutritional needs based on your biomarkers: BlueprintFit
BlueprintFit is a biomarker testing service for people who want to know more about the genetic makeup of their bodies so they can make better, healthier decisions when it comes to nutrition, fitness, and exercise. After a blood test, users can uncover their current biomarker levels, which can also be tracked over time to gauge health, wellness, and performance.
This is because the blood tests tell you how your body may or may not be programmed, which you can then act upon, and make modifications that impact your biomarker levels and this change and improve your health.
The tech part comes via the app, which lets you control, access and view your test results on your mobile devices. Through the dashboard, you can also view multiple Blueprint test results, instantly search for any biomarker you've tested for, and view results that are out-of-range. The app integrates with Apple HealthKit, too, allowing you to share health and fitness data with other apps so you can have all your fitness and health apps in one place.
I gave BluePrint a go in a bid to aid my triathlon training in August and to help me follow my vegan diet to a performance level, but without losing weight or muscle. To make sure that I was getting adequate nutrition and didn't lose weight while actively training, BluePrint advised me to reinforce my importance of calorie-dense foods, such as avocado, nuts, nut butters, seeds, etc. It also encouraged me to log my calorie input to assess macros to ensure I was consuming at least 100-112g per day and not losing weight but having the fuel I needed.
A genetic kit that enables monitoring of our internal wellness: Muhdo
Saliva DNA capture is perhaps one of the easiest ways to do a DNA test: spit in a tube, stick a stamp on it and send it through the post.
After running a bunch of tests, your genetic profile will be sent to you or uploaded to a personal online account. A fitness and nutrition plan will then be made especially for you based on your genetic markers, depending on the company doing it. It essentially tells you the nutrients your body needs more and less of to complement your workouts, and what types of exercise you benefit from the most.
While there are hundreds of companies that do this nowadays, Muhdo is particularly interesting because it tells you what nutrients are lacking in your gene pool, and which vitamins are vital for you to take in order to stay at your best or prevent injury. For example, it will tell you if your body will best respond to high load, low repetition workouts, if it's sensitive to caffeine, or if you should take magnesium for better sleep and recovery.
Recently, Muhdo launched what it claimed was the world’s first genetic kit that enables us to monitor our internal wellness and make lifestyle and diet choices to improve the quality of our lives. Instead of it being a one-off test, the new preventative healthcare kit gives personalized nutrition, exercise and lifestyle advice based on regular monitoring across the full spectrum of the user’s genetic profile. Six monthly saliva tests are used to track the impact on a range of health and fitness goals.
This is already a popular option for professional athletes looking to tweak their training, but I think it will soon become standard practice for everyone who’s health conscious.
SCIENCE SUPPLEMENTS & SPORTS NUTRITION
Okay so the below entries are not strictly a health “gadgets” as such, but plenty of technology went into making them a thing. There's a lot of science behind vitamins and supplements in general, but despite scientific claims, you don't know if they work unless you try them. I've tested a lot in my time, but here's a few stand out ones I've felt make a difference, and go hand-in-hand with the above nutrition tech.
All the essential nutrients, sustainably: Huel
Huel is one of the main ingredients in the Silicon Valley Diet, a cult meal alternative drink that the tech community is currently obsessing over.
Offering a nutritionally complete meal in powdered form, Huel can be dissolved into water to give you all the 26 essential nutrients needed to live a healthy balanced lifestyle on a daily basis.
How? It’s made from real food such as milled down oats which are high in fiber, releasing energy slowly to prevent snacking in-between meals. Due to the ingredients list of Huel, the company says you could theoretically live off it 100% of the time. I say theoretically because I can promise the severe cravings for real food would make this easy to do. Good for those starting a cleanse or detox, I'd say.
Also, all of the main ingredients within Huel are sources of protein. With the brown rice and pea protein, the protein has been extracted to give Huel the ideal amino acid profile to fulfill all the essential functions. Being a powder means users will only consume what they need to, therefore, reduce a large amount of food waste.
The “trifecta of health”: BodyBio Foundational Kit
BodyBio's supplements are developed to help clear the toxins your body doesn’t need, replenish the lipids it does, and rejuvenate with phospholipids. Recently, the firm launched its Foundational Kit, comprising their top three, “trifecta of health” supplements, which includes Phosphatidylcholine (PC), Balance Oil and Butyrate. Here is what each vitamin does for you:
PC: It’s not a vitamin, but a "nootropic". BodyBio says this phospholipid is designed for your brain, memory, mood and long-term cognitive resilience. BodyBio PC is made of pure phospholipids which automatically form liposomes in the body.
Balance Oil: This is formulated with a ratio of four parts omega 6 to one part omega 3. Taken in this ratio, these nutrients are said to positively impact brain function, digestive health, immune support, liver function, and cardiovascular activity.
Butyrate: Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid that is a potent detoxifier of ammonia and neurotoxins. It can also encourage the formation of friendly bacteria in the gut, helping to keep the good bacteria thriving and keep the bad bacteria out of your microbiome.
Available from: BodyBio.com
Instant BCAAs: NOCCO
Protein for the mind and body: Innermost
Innermost is probably one of my favorite nutrition powders. It's not only vegan and thus more sustainable, but it combines traditional sports nutrition ingredients such as protein with nootropic adaptogens. These are essentially herbal pharmaceuticals, which work to counteract the effects of stress in the body that are known to harm the neurological, endocrine, and immune systems. This, Innermost says, works to benefit you both physically and mentally.
It's also is one of few high-protein vegan supplement powders that doesn't taste like sawdust. I recommend it for use in the high tech blenders reviewed above.
Available from Innermost.com
Keep your hair on: It Really Works vitamins
Not a sports nutrition, but one you (well, the men out there) might want to look into if you're worried about the future of your appearance. The It Really Works vitamins are an extra-strength formulation of twenty-two minerals and vitamins, which the firm claims encourages healthier hair growth, including Keratin - a protein that makes up your hair, skin, and nails - as well as Rosehip, Retinol, Biotin, and PABA, which all improve your body's Keratin structure.
It Really Works Vitamins are therefore said to have 800% of your RDA of Biotin, 455% of your RDA of Vitamin B1 and 250% of your RDA of Manganese. After a 90 day trial, I definitely noticed my hair grew faster and looked healthier and stronger.
Available from Itreallyworksvitamins.com