6 Wellness Trends on the Rise in 2023

Woman waking up feeling well-rested



“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas Edison


The pursuit of wellness, while very popular today is not a new concept. Ayurveda, a holistic system of medicine from India, dates back as early as 3,000-1,500 BC. It strived to create harmony between the mind, body, and spirit and utilized practices like meditation and Yoga.


Traditional Chinese Medicine hails from the same era, relying on approaches such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, qi gong, and tai chi. Fast forward hundreds of years (skipping a few evolutions of wellness along the way) to the 19th century, when intellectual movements and new medical practices exploded in the US and Europe. Modern versions of homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic, and naturopathy were born.


The philosophy of these methodologies, “that a healthy body is a product of a healthy mind and spirit” laid the groundwork for the thriving wellness and self-help movements we see today. Despite the rise of modern “Western” medicine’s mid-20th century push against these practices, many have regained respect within the mainstream medical community.


Over the past 30 years wellness has become part of an integrated culture focused on health in our society. This movement motivates millions of people seeking better lifestyles, diets, exercise regimes, and mindfulness. A Consumer Opinions survey, across four continents found that 79% of consumers found wellness to be important and 42% make it a top priority. This widespread interest results in a global wellness market worth $4.4 Trillion in 2022.


So, what are people focusing their attention on? Here are some of the big wellness trends you’ll be hearing about in 2023.



1. New Ways to Prioritize Sleep

To be at our optimal health, doctors recommend 7-9 hours of sleep a night.


On average most Canadians are doing it and scoring 7.9 hours of sleep! People aged 35-64 are the age demographic most likely to not get enough sleep and probably the ones who need it the most. (And the demographic who is most likely reading this blog). Well, here are a few trending techniques you can add to your sleep routine.


Sleep syncing is replacing counting sheep. This involves you adjusting when you sleep to align better with the rhythms of nature (like the sun or moon). Studies are showing that people can fall asleep faster and reduce stress. A good way to start tuning your circadian rhythm is to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day – this helps you set a regular sleep schedule. You can also try circadian eating, having those heavy meals earlier in the day and keeping it light at night.


Finally, a trend with hardcore wellness nuts is mouth-taping while sleeping. Taping one’s mouth forces you to breathe only through your nose, which some argue has a slew of health benefits. These include better temperature control, filtering the air with your cilia (or nose hairs), and humidifying the air you breathe. It might make you wonder too if mouth-taping could prevent snoring? Time will tell if this trend really takes off!  



2. A Focus on Women’s Health

Up until the 1990s most medical health research was conducted by men for men. Women were not leading the research nor were they the subject of the research. For decades, women were excluded from research trials from scientists and doctors fearing it would put women’s fertility at risk. Medical research concluded this by the theory of using only male animals' cells and tissue, research could reduce the number of variables to control. They also wrongly assumed any findings could easily be applied to women.


Thankfully medical science has progressed, and we now better understand women’s health;  the causes and symptoms of diseases, and needs. Which, can be very different from our male counterparts. As the number of women in the medical field increase, so is research dedicated to understanding women’s health. We’ve seen significant growth in our knowledge of menopause and the impact of hormones in recent years.


The focus on women’s health should continue, as more and more research is done on other female-specific issues like endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and fertility. Hopefully this results in better treatments, medicines, natural health products, and strategies specifically designed with women in mind.



3. The Gut Biome

Over the past 5 years, we’ve seen an increase in the amount of information on gut health – we don’t see this leaving the wellness stage anytime soon.


Woman holding her hands in a heart shape over her gut


Adding probiotics, fermented foods, and reducing our sugar intake are common wellness practices. The connection between our gut biome and our overall health is in the early stages of discovery but new findings are connecting our guts to our brain!


We all know a brain is made up of neurons, approximately 100 billion. Did you know that your gut also has neurons – but, a whopping 500 million more? These gut neurons are connected to your brain through nerves in your nervous system. Another amazing finding is that a large proportion of serotonin, the happy hormone, is produced in the gut. Researchers are going as far as to say that gut bacteria can affect your brain health. Safe to say, this area of health and wellness is just getting started to explore all the ways we can improve our wellness by having a healthy gut.



4. Many Mini-Workouts Every Day

Today’s time commitments make it hard for a large portion of people to carve out a 30–45-minute block for exercise. The recommended amount of exercise per week is 150 minutes. Buzz words around the term "mini-workouts" are incidental or micro workouts. No matter the name, these terms are all promoting the same thing – and research is demonstrating that these exercise snacks are just as effective as 45 minutes all at once. 


One study from the University of Utah showed that all efforts, no matter how small, add up. Another paper published in Obesity demonstrated mini-workouts throughout the day can help curb appetite. Incidental workouts, can be as simple as walking a few blocks, doing 10 push-ups, running up the stairs instead of plotting along, or doing a wall sit (maintain a 90-degree squat up against a wall) while waiting for your lunch to heat up in the microwave.


Moderate intensity exercise, which is defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as any physical activity that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat. Exercise, no matter how you break down the minutes, will lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and even help battle some common cancers.



5. Re-Evaluating Our Relationship with Alcohol

The pandemic saw a significant rise in the consumption of alcohol around the world. Recent statistics shared by StatsCan, revealed some severe consequences of that.


But, our culture has revered a good, cold beer and sip of a solid whiskey for decades. It’s a social thing, after work, with our friends, and for special occasions.


Friends cheers over mocktails


Canada’s old guidelines for drinking allowed for up to 10 drinks per week for women and 15 for men. The new guidelines for drinking alcohol have drastically changed its recommendations, stating that a maximum of 2 drinks per week for both men and women is ideal to promote optimal health and prevent premature death and disease.


Many of us use alcohol as a way to relieve stress after a long day without considering the effects it can have on our long-term health. Enter the ‘sober curious’ movement, with a growing market shift to mocktails. Even celebrities like Blake Lively who created a new line of products called Betty Buzz is getting in on it (despite her partner’s Ryan Reynolds investment in Aviator Gin).


Non-alcoholic alternatives are on the rise, like adaptogenic drinks that use plants and herbs to help reduce stress instead of alcohol. Just hop on your favorite social app and enter #sobercurious or #damplifestyle and you will see a movement growing to reduce or eliminate their alcohol intake.


Benefits include better sleep, fewer calories in your diet, and significantly reduced chances of getting cancer.



6. You Could Always Try Mushrooms

The benefits of functional mushrooms are only just being discovered. Recent studies have shown high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds. Think better sleep, memory, and immunity. Plus, we’re seeing stress reduction, reduced inflammation, and increased energy. Be on the lookout this year for increased research on the magical powers of mushrooms.



Try One, or Try Them All!

The World Health Organization reminds us that health is “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”


Depending on your lifestyle, focusing on just one new area of your health can make a world of difference. Whether it’s prioritizing your sleep, adding exercise, reducing your alcohol intake, or focusing on how you can improve your gut health. Chances are, any or all of the above will result in you feeling better in your mind, body, and spirit.



Any medical or pharmaceutical information on this site is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-pharmacist relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.


Please consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.


Cook’s Pharmacy and its subsidiaries expressly disclaim responsibility and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.




Generic Administrator at 9:00 AM
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Getting Your Hearing Checked Could Reduce Risk of Dementia

Dr. checking patients hearing



As we get older, everything doesn’t necessarily age like fine wine. Reading glasses, back pain, and a slower metabolism are some of the first and most common things you might notice. Hearing loss may be another.


A recent study reported that 4.6 million Canadians, 20-79 years old have measurable hearing loss. Reported hearing loss significantly rises to two-thirds in those aged 70-79.


Common symptoms of age-related hearing loss often happen gradually and include:


  • Complaining of muffled sound and speech
  • Trouble hearing words in settings where there is background noise, like a restaurant or crowd.
  • Repeatedly asking people to speak louder, slower, or clearer
  • Turning up the volume on the TV
  • Avoiding group conversations and social settings
  • Many might ignore these symptoms believing they are manageable. Others afraid of appearing older by using hearing aids will continue to just live with hearing loss, believing that the decision will not have any long-term consequences. Recent research connecting hearing loss to dementia may change that.


study published in July 2021, out of the University of Oxford, looked at over 82,000 participants aged 60 years and older. Findings showed people who struggle to hear speech in noise were more likely to develop dementia than those with normal hearing, as measured over an 11-year period. Before we look further into the research let’s define what dementia is and the impact it has on people’s lives.



What is Dementia?

The Mayo Clinic defines “Dementia[s] as a term used to describe a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking, and social abilities severely enough to interfere with your daily life. It isn't a specific disease, but several diseases [that] can cause dementia.”


Worldwide, around 50 million people suffer from dementia. The most common of these is Alzheimer’s, Vascular Dementia, and Parkinson’s. The symptoms of dementia can be devasting to those affected and their loved ones. Memory loss, difficulty communicating, inability to handle complex tasks, confusion, and agnosia – the inability to remember objects or people. Dementia can also have severe psychological impacts including changes in behaviour, depression, hallucinations, mood swings, and anger.



How is Dementia Linked to Hearing Loss?


Woman sitting her cane under her chin


The causes of Alzheimer’s, Vascular Dementia, and Parkinson’s vary and are not well understood. A report produced by the Lancet Commission called Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care was released in 2020, sharing the risks of dementia. It found that 60% were unknown, and 40% could be broken down into “12 modifiable risk factors.” Some of these included less education, brain injury, social isolation, and depression. But the highest percentage went to hearing loss, representing 8% of the modifiable risk factors. Specifically midlife untreated hearing loss.


This study is not alone in its findings. John Hopkins University tracked 639 adults for almost 12 years. Dr. Frank Lin and his research team found that the degree of hearing loss increased the risk factor for dementia:


  • Mild hearing loss doubled the risk.
  • Moderate hearing loss tripled the risk.
  • While severe hearing impairment increased the risk up to five times compared to those who had no hearing impairment


“Brain scans show us that hearing loss may contribute to a faster rate of atrophy in the brain. Hearing loss also contributes to social isolation. You may not want to be with people as much, and when you are you may not engage in conversation as much. These factors may contribute to dementia,” Lin says.


Another study led by Jonathan Peelle conducted brain scans of older adults. Participants listened to different sentences, that changed in complexity while being scanned. Tests were also done to measure “grey matter” or regions of the brain involved in muscle control. Further tests looked at the senses, seeing and hearing, memory, and decision-making. Findings showed the brain cells of people with hearing loss were less active when they listened to complex sentences. They also had less gray matter in the auditory areas of the brain.



Can Hearing Aids Help Against Cognitive Decline?

Although much work remains to be done, preliminary research is showing positive results that wearing hearing aids can lower the risks of cognitive decline. A meta-analysis of 31 studies published in 2022 demonstrates a convincing link, most likely attributed to how hearing aids and cochlear implants make it easier to prevent isolation and stay socially engaged. Two other modifiable risk factors in developing dementia.


A large 2018 study looked at the results from more than 2,000 Americans aged 50 and up who took word recall assessments every two years for almost 20 years. Among participants who started wearing hearing aids during the period, the results suggested that the aids slowed the rate they lost memory of words.


Circling back to Dr. Lin’s work at Johns Hopkins it is hopeful we will have more evidence in 2023.  A large National Institute on Aging study is looking to understand if hearing aids can protect the mental processes of those aged 70-84. The study is pulling nearly 1,000 people with hearing loss from multiple locations. One set are provided hearing aids while the other set only receives education. It is hoped the study will provide definitive results on whether wearing hearing aids can reduce the risk of brain aging and dementia.



What’s Holding People Back from Hearing Aids?


Woman touching her hearing aid


Aside from the connection to dementia hearing loss can cause other problems in perfectly healthy Canadians. Social isolation, depression, mobility issues, and fatigue to name a few. In fact, a whopping 80% of those estimated 4.6 million Canadians don’t wear hearing aids. So why aren’t people getting the help they need?


Common answers include:


My hearing isn’t that bad. It seems to take time for people to process and get a handle on hearing loss. StatsCan reports, even once hearing loss is suspected, there is still on average a delay of seven years or more before an individual seeks help.


Hearing aids are for old people. Aging is hard to accept, and traditionally most people that wear hearing aids are over 70. If you are one of the unfortunate and start to lose your hearing long before that, hearing aids may come with a “senior” stigma attached to them.

Hearing aids are big and ugly. Today’s technology has improved the look and capabilities of hearing aids and cochlear implants (a device implanted into the inner ear and stimulates the hearing nerve. It’s for children and adults with profound hearing loss.) There are even products on the market that are advertised as the “invisible hearing aid” that fit so deeply in your ear canal that you can hardly see them from the outside.

Hearing aids are difficult to use. Many people do not like to learn new things. As with any technology there is an adjustment period while you learn how to use it. Most doctors and hearing clinics allow for a trial period until you can find the best product for you.



Knowing the Risks, What Should You Do?


Well for starters get your hearing checked. Regular hearing tests in your 30s, 40s and 50s should be part of your health regiment, like eye exams and yearly check-ups with the family doctor. You can even check your hearing with a free online hearing test. If the results aren’t perfect, booking an appointment at a local hearing clinic is covered by your health benefits.



What If I Need Hearing Aids? Are they Covered in Ontario?

OHIP provides some coverage of hearing aids for every resident despite age, through the Assistive Devices Program (ADP). ADP provides a grant of $500 per ear, once every 3 years if required. You just need to fill out the forms given to you by your audiologist. Once you have your hearing aids, the audiologist will bill OHIP directly.


Most private insurance companies provide coverage ranging from $500 to $1500 per hearing aid. Workplace benefits packages also offer some coverage ranging from $300-$500 over 2 years but are often shared with hearing aid repairs.


The cost of hearing aids in Ontario is not insignificant and varies widely depending on the technology, brand, and features. On average, a hearing aid can cost between $2500 to $3500, but be as low as $1000 or as high as $8,000. Premium tech will come with a higher price tag, while basic hearing aids with fewer bells and whistles tend to be less expensive.



Keep the Big Picture in Mind

Knowing all the hang-ups, inconveniences, and expenses that can come with hearing aids, we need to remember the quality of life today and in the future. More and more research is showing us that hearing loss represents 8% of the modifiable risks for dementia AND not treating hearing loss can contribute to another 4% from social isolation.


As a society, we need to start normalizing hearing tests, offer more support for those with hearing loss and encourage governments and insurance plans to provide more coverage. HearingLife Canada reports if we treated all hearing loss cases nearly 1 in 10 dementia cases could be eliminated. The impact of dementia on people, families, society, and the healthcare system far outweighs the stigma and costs of hearing aids.



Any medical or pharmaceutical information on this site is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-pharmacist relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.


Please consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.


Cook’s Pharmacy and its subsidiaries expressly disclaim responsibility and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.




Generic Administrator at 9:00 AM
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Heart-Healthy Foods

Mother and daughter eating healthy foods



Putting heart health on the back burner when life gets busy is easy to do, particularly when it feels like there are not enough hours in the day, the kids need to get to their appointments or activities, and the boss keeps piling on the workload.


It can be challenging to find time to exercise, practice self-care, and cook well-balanced meals – even though we know full well that our overall health is just as important as all the things we need to do and all the places we need to be.


However, our hearts work so hard for us every minute of every day and, just like car engines, can start to struggle if they don't have clean fuel or if we let gunk build up in all the lines! Our fast-paced society and the forever increasing demands on our time, attention, and energy understandably make fast food, freezer meals, and highly processed snacks seem like ideal options, but today is a great day to start putting better fuel in your body to support heart health! Learn more below about how you can protect your heart with healthy foods!



Why Prioritize Heart Health

Our hearts are pretty hardy organs, but if we neglect them too long, our tickers can start to show signs of trouble. Poor diet, stress, excess weight, and living with high blood pressure can eventually lead to heart diseases such as Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), stroke, Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), aortic disease, arrhythmias, cardiogenic shock, and even heart failure.


While heart disease can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication, your best bet will always be to take a proactive approach to caring for heart health - and your overall health - by exercising regularly, practicing self-care, managing any current diseases, taking all your medications as prescribed, and eating a heart-healthy diet.


To learn more about heart health overall, the causes of poor heart health, and what you can do to protect your heart throughout your life, take a look at our other Heart Health blog post that covers multiple topics in greater detail! To learn more about incorporating more heart-healthy foods into your diet, continue reading below!  



Tips for Eating a Heart-Healthy Diet

Before jumping into our heart-healthy foods list, there are a few "golden rules" for eating for heart health that you should remember when meal planning.


These include:


  • Reducing red meat, sugar, saturated and trans fats, sodium, and processed or canned foods
  • Limiting sodium intake to 2300 mg/day (or 1500 mg/day if you have kidney disease or high blood pressure)
  • Incorporating fiber-rich foods
  • Preparing meals at home as often as possible
  • Eating a variety of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, protein-rich foods, and foods high in healthy fats
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Managing portion sizes


Following these tips will help set your heart up for success and make navigating a lifestyle change easier. For a list of heart-healthy foods, continue reading below!



Foods That Support Optimal Heart Health

Eating a variety of nutritious foods is essential for overall health but it is especially essential if you are trying to follow a heart-healthy diet as a proactive approach to reducing heart disease, as a way to lower cholesterol, or to heal after a heart attack. No matter your reason for following a heart-smart diet, we are happy you have found your way to our heart-healthy food list!


Our list of the most heart-healthy foods includes:  


  • Heart Healthy Vegetables
  • Heart Healthy Fruits
  • Heart Healthy Protein Foods
  • Whole Grains for Heart Health
  • Fat-Free or Low-Fat Dairy
  • Healthy Oils and Fats


You’re sure to find something on our list of best foods for your heart and arteries below! 



Heart Healthy Vegetables


Spinach with water droplets


Vegetables are very supportive of heart health because they are packed with so many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They also offer high levels of nitrates that help oxygen-rich blood reach your heart more easily. In addition, they tend to be lower in calories and higher in dietary fiber than other food categories.


Generally, dark leafy greens are a safe bet when shopping for vegetables that are good for your heart. Look for swiss chard, collard greens, lettuce, spinach, bok choy, mustard greens, and arugula. Asparagus, broccoli, and carrots are also heart-smart vegetables.


When shopping for heart-healthy vegetables, look for fresh, frozen, or canned options. If opting for canned vegetables, be sure to check the sodium content on the nutrition label and opt for low-sodium options only. Avoid all vegetables with creamy sauces, or processed vegetables that are fried or breaded. 



Heart Healthy Fruits


Like vegetables, heart-healthy fruits are a great choice for improving or protecting your heart health. They are also loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that reduce inflammation that can contribute to heart disease development.


Heart-healthy fruits include cherries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Apples, bananas, pears, oranges, prunes, and grapes are other great choices. In addition, tomatoes are also considered a heart-healthy fruit – even if you would strongly debate that they are more of a vegetable! 


When shopping, steer clear of coconuts and coconut products as they are high in calories and saturated fat, which is not supportive of cholesterol levels. Canned fruit packed in syrup or frozen fruit that has a lot of added sugar should also be avoided. Instead, seek out fresh, no-sugar-added frozen options, or canned fruit packed in water or juice.



Heart Healthy Protein Foods


Healthy protein sources on wood platter


Next up on our list of great foods for heart health are protein foods! Protein foods cover multiple types of delicious and nutritious foods such as dairy, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, and soy and soy products.


When shopping for heart-healthy groceries, look for low-fat dairy options when purchasing milk, cheese, and yogurt. Opt for lean meat (like pork tenderloin), skinless chicken or turkey, and cold-water fish like salmon. You can also enjoy eggs as a great source of protein. Eat peas, beans, and lentils for low-fat and no-cholesterol proteins.


The key to remember in the protein category is that you should avoid full-fat options, processed meats, high-salt proteins, organ meats, processed foods, and fried or breaded meats. This part of a diet and lifestyle change can be one of the trickiest adjustments, but focusing on what you can have versus what you can't often makes it easier to build up a list of heart-healthy proteins to incorporate into your meal plan.



Whole Grains for Heart Health


Whole grains play an important role in regulating blood pressure, making them a key part of heart health! Whole grains are full of fiber and other nutrients, and you would be surprised how easy it is to incorporate more of them into your heart-healthy diet - simply substitute whole grains for refined grains!


Refined grains are abundant in convenience foods, bread, desserts, and even some crackers! White bread, frozen waffles, muffins, cakes, pies, doughnuts, biscuits, and cornbread are some of the most common refined grain products that are great for a busy lifestyle but not so great for heart health. Therefore, try to avoid these products as much as possible or reserve them for occasional treats or special occasions.


Instead of consuming refined grains, opt for whole wheat flour (100% whole wheat is ideal), whole grain pastas, high fiber cereals (watch the sugars), and unsweetened oatmeals. Brown rice, buckwheat, and barley are other heart-healthy grain options to experiment with. 



Healthy Oils and Fats


Healthy fats


While it is a common misconception that all fat in our diets is bad, there are actually many sources of healthy fat in food that support heart health when consumed in moderation. These healthy fats are called monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, and they play an important role in maintaining our body's cells. They also provide nutrients and can help reduce heart disease when eaten in place of saturated fat (bad fat).


Healthy fat sources include avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, canola oil, certain fish, and some margarines. These healthy fat sources can be used in place of saturated fat sources like butter, lard, bacon fat, cream sauces, gravy, hydrogenated margarine, and coconut. Just remember that moderation is still key for healthy fats, as they are higher in calories than other food types.




In conclusion, there are many delicious and nutritious foods that you can easily incorporate into your diet if you are seeking to adopt a heart-healthy food plan. Eating more heart-healthy foods is an effective way to better support your body if your ticker is showing signs of trouble. A heart-healthy diet is also part of a proactive approach to heart health.


Incorporating heart-healthy foods into your lifestyle is completely doable with vegetables, fruit, protein foods, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats. Remember to do your best to reduce sodium, limit convenience foods, increase fiber, manage portion sizes, and eat a variety of delicious foods.


If you are not sure where to start with adopting a heart-healthy food plan, your local pharmacist can help! Find a Cook’s Pharmacy near you in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Wellesley, or New Hamburg, or give us a call! Our pharmacists are happy to help you create a heart-healthy food list and set you up for success!



Any medical or pharmaceutical information on this site is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-pharmacist relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.


Please consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.


Cook’s Pharmacy and its subsidiaries expressly disclaim responsibility and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.




Generic Administrator at 9:00 AM
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