"We're always looking for a quick fix, miracle ingredient or drug to cure our issues and make us healthier," says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN and Founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition
. "When we find something that sounds almost too crazy to be true, we assume it's the next miracle worker and hop on board." But not so fast, she says. "It's always important to understand fully what we're putting into our bodies before we do so."
Find out if these hot health trends (and often hefty price tags) can live up to their claims.
1. Astrologically Farmed Eggs
Yes, this is a thing, thanks to London's uber cool Hemsley sisters
. It's the next step in biodynamic farming, where crops are planted based on the phase of the moon -- and on 100 percent ethical, self-sufficient land. Think organic -- x 100. For eggs, farmers use a moon almanac
to birth healthier chickens, which supposedly lay super delicious eggs. But is all the extra hands-on attention worth it (and the extra 15 cents per egg)?
"Not using hormones or antibiotics in the process of growing chickens is definitely beneficial, but it may not differ from other organic methods," says Smith. "No research really exists on this." While Smith notes that eggs are a good source of protein and nutrients like lutein, which may prevent age-related macular degeneration, you don't have to pay the astronomical price for these star-crossed eggs.
2. Blue Majik
isn't the only trendy blue food. Blue Majik
is making its debut in everything from protein shakes
to juice (like Juice Generation's $10 "Holy Water
," complete with the blue-green algae) to blue (aka smurf) lattes. It claims to reduce inflammation and support healthy joints.
"This is basically spirulina, which is a source of chlorophyll, energizing B vitamins and iron," says Smith. According to Smith, chlorophyll also includes nutrients like vitamins A and C and magnesium. "[Blue majik] contains a compound called phycocyanin, which may also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, but research has been done widely in mice." At $60 for 30 single packets, you might be better off sticking with your regular microalgae supplement.
There are plenty of magic mushrooms on the market, but this fungus that grows on caterpillar larva is the latest 'It' 'shroom (and an ingredient in Gwyneth Paltrow's morning smoothie). Advocates claim the fungus helps with oxygen uptake, stamina (on the field and in the bedroom) and recovery — not to mention boasts anti-cancer properties. Sounds pretty great, right?
Aside from its long use in Traditional Chinese Medicine, there isn't really much science to back it up. "No research in humans has found any improvement in trained athletes," says Smith. A study
from Brigham Young University found that it did not improve performance in trained cyclists. As for the cancer and libido claims? Most research has been done in animals, not humans. Given its high price tag (