Health Trends on the Coast

Every year we make promises to ourselves. This year we’ll try that new diet. This year we’ll find an exercise class to go to. This year we’ll get better sleep. The list varies according to the latest health and wellness trends. Whether it’s a new group fitness class or the latest food designated a “superfood,” most of us are willing to try the year’s trends if only to motivate ourselves to achieve our resolutions. We’ve put together the top health and wellness trends for 2019 you might want to add to your list.

Heart & Home

Where you reside takes a direct hit on your overall well-being. A World Health Organization study found that up to 90% of our health outcomes are tied to where and how we live based on the observation of environmental pollution, air quality and healthy foods, among various other factors.  

According to a 2018 report by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), these “wellness lifestyle real estate and communities” came about in 2000, putting human health and well-being at the center of their home and neighborhood designs.

Wellness real estate is broadly defined as homes and communities that are “proactively designed and built to support the holistic health of their residents,” according to the GWI report. Today the wellness real estate movement is a $134 billion industry with more than 740 projects underway in 34 countries.  

RiverLights, located in Wilmington, is just one of the Cape Fear communities that delivers wellness-centered living, located just five miles south of historic downtown.

Edible Weeds

Edible weeds such as sorrel, dandelion greens and amaranth may be the next microgreens. Herbs and plants have many medicinal qualities, including micronutrients and vitamins that can supplement our diets, Devine explains. But while these weeds can be good supplements, it’s important to continue to live a healthy lifestyle and not expect any one food to cure all your aches and pains alone.

Though edible weeds can be harvested in the wild, they are most often found in pill or powder form on the shelves of health food stores. “Dandelion root has a lot of detox qualities to it,” Devine says. “The only danger with any sort of food supplement like that is looking at whether it counteracts any medications you’re on.”

Look for ground dandelion root and other edible weeds at Lovey’s Market, Tidal Creek Co-op or vitamin and supplement shops such as GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

As more and more states legalize the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes—and as a recent Farm Bill passed in Congress has expanded our ability to cultivate hemp—the plant’s derivatives such as CBD and hemp oil have come to the forefront. Most states have legalized CBD as long as it contains none of the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This means that patients can seek pain relief using CBD without the mind-altering effects of marijuana or other pharmaceuticals.

CBD has been used to treat everything from pain to acne to depression and anxiety, and while the research behind it is still slim, its growing popularity has encouraged more clinical trials. It’s important to note, however, that CBD is known to interact with several medications, so you should always seek the advice of your doctor before trying it.

Visit local businesses Hemp Farmacy and Tree BD for more information or to buy CBD, hemp and other similar products.

Medium Chain Triglyceride/Fatty Acids (MCT) Oil

MCT oil, a staple in the Ketogenic diet, has historically been used for people with small intestine issues and difficulties absorbing food. “In a Keto diet, MCT oil is digested differently, rapidly absorbed and converted into ketones quickly. They give you a surge of energy, and they keep you fuller longer,” Molly Devine says. “The benefit of using MCTs as part of a weight loss plan is that you feel satiated for a longer period of time and are less likely to snack between meals.”

For quality MCT oil, Devine recommends the Ketogenic supplement company Ketologic as well as Nature’s Path. You can usually find MCT oil at local health food and supplement stores such as Lovey’s Market, Tidal Creek Co-op and Whole Foods.

Less is More

Following the 2014 publication of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, many people have been applying her logic to their overstuffed homes. This year, Kondo has begun her own TV show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, on Netflix, bringing her message and methods to an even wider audience.

The correlations between a cluttered home and stress, anxiety and even depression are often discussed, but our materialistic culture has made it difficult to de-clutter or rethink the merits of retail therapy. This year, we are cracking the norm and changing how we think about “stuff”.

For those looking to declutter in the Cape Fear region, check out Jam Organizing, Simply Reclaimed or Tranquiliving to get some local help.

Flotation Therapy

Float therapy is a powerful tool for wellness, relaxation, pain relief and better sleep.  As with any therapy, with regular use its benefits are enhanced. And float therapy is essentially that: floating.  

There are a number of benefits that come from three elements of flotation therapy:

  1. Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate)
  2. Weightlessness / Counter-Gravity Stimulation
  3. Meditation / Theta-State

The National Institute of Health (NIH) supports meditation as a means for lowering blood pressure, easing symptoms of anxiety and depression and more. The latest floatation therapy research shows that during floatation the amygdala basically shuts off, “turning down” anxiety in the brain.

Try out Aqua Float & Cyro and True REST Float Spa here in the Cape Fear and read our more in-depth feature here.

HIIT and Group Fitness

This year, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and group fitness continue on the upswing. While classes such as OrangeTheory and Barre Fitness are still popular, we should expect to see other sports and activities such as yoga and running to present their own versions of HIIT classes. Local running store Fleet Feet offers the latest information on running groups and training sessions around Wilmington. You’ll also find HIIT-style yoga classes at the numerous studios around the Cape Fear region such as Longwave Yoga’s Hour of Power or Prana Pump.

Focus on Healthy Sleep Habits

This year, many of us will finally be focusing on getting some good shut-eye. “Sleep is imperative for body function,” Devine explains. “When we are chronically underslept, hunger increases…your body is craving sleep and energy, and mistaking that for sugar or caffeine is easy to do.” Sleepless nights can cause a whole host of problems: weight gain, inflammation, higher blood pressure and stress and anxiety, just to name a few.

Luckily, there is all sorts of new technology to help us get better sleep, including wearable sleep trackers, smart pillows and weighted blankets. There’s even an ice cream specifically manufactured with good sleep in mind!

Not getting good sleep? Consult our local sleep experts at the Wilmington Health Sleep Center, Atlantic Sleep Center or SleepCare of Wilmington.

Unplugging from Tech

Did you know the National Day of Unplugging is March 1-2? Especially following the privacy breaches on Facebook and other social media, many people have begun to slowly unplug themselves from their tech. Turns out, sometimes the tech we use can be harmful to our health. “Cell phones, computers—they all have this blue light which really activates the neurons in our brains so we have trouble shutting down,”  Devine says. “I recommend having a tech detox about an hour before going to bed.” She suggests reading a book or listening to music instead of browsing our phones or computers immediately prior to sleeping.

Besides the issues with sleep and vision, too much social media time can cause anxiety because of the constant overflow of news and information. It’s important to practice mindfulness when using tech. Meditation, yoga and massage are all good ways to detox from tech and social media overload.

Locally, check out Blue Ginger Spa for a great massage or try meditation and mindfulness counseling with Everyday Mindful by Jen Johnson.


“Some people still like one-on-one, face-to-face interaction, but Telehealth allows us to reach a wider population of people when driving to a provider is not an option,”  Devine says. The convenience of Telehealth also helps ensure a patient will show up to an appointment.

Today, Telehealth is being revolutionized through apps and online portals and is championed by younger consumers looking for efficient, cost-effective solutions to a healthcare system that grows more costly every year. More and more healthcare providers offer a Telehealth option, and some companies such as RelyMD and Carolina Partners Direct Care are entirely web-based. But the convenience factor is clear— accessing healthcare directly from your smartphone or another device is easier, quicker and much more affordable.