If you want to improve your diet and feel healthier, you must try clean eating. It simply requires you to eat the best, healthiest options in every food group, and decreasing your consumption of unhealthy products.
If you are unsure the best options for your diet, here are six tips on how to eat clean.
1. Eat Fruit and Vegetables – Preferably Organic
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an incredible 76% of Americans are not consuming enough fruit each day. While another 87% are failing to consume enough vegetables. Yet, most people are fully aware of the benefits of eating more fruit and vegetables; for example, they can reduce your risk of various chronic diseases, such as heart disease, obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
The dietary fibers can also help your body retain microbiome, which is the collection of good bacteria that lives inside your gut and can reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases and infection. If possible, try to pick up organic produce to reduce your intake of pesticides, and they also have a higher nutritional value, so are better for your body.
2. Care for the Environment and Your Body
Clean eating is not only good for you, but it is better for the planet, too. Many people don’t think about the resources and tactics required to help the food reach their plate. For example, agriculture reportedly accounts for a third of greenhouse gas emissions. The biggest offender is, unsurprisingly, the meat industry, as it will take a great deal of resources and work to both raise and feed animals. Not only will the animals live in filthy, cramped conditions, but they will feed on the cheapest quality grains and feeds, as well as an assortment of garbage. As a result, you will also consume their feedstuff, which can result in a poor diet. For this reason, you should aim to consume products from a reputable source. For example, a keto meal prep delivery service will ensure you enjoy organic, grass-fed, sustainable meals to help improve your health whilst supporting the planet.
3. Eat Whole Grain
While you should try to avoid processed grains when clean eating, you can eat whole grain bread or whole wheat pasta. If you want to ensure they are good for your body, always read the labels to learn more about their ingredients. If it doesn’t list whole grain as the first ingredient, put the product down and find one that does. The ingredient list should also be short and must feature recognizable ingredients with minimal sugar. Switching from refined carbs (white pasta and white bread) to whole grain will provide your body with more fiber and antioxidants, and you will find it easier to shed the pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
4. Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods are bad for your body. Nature didn’t create blue candy-colored cereals or bright orange chips, so you shouldn’t eat them if you want to adopt a clean, healthy lifestyle. Try to avoid products loaded with sugar and refined grains, or any other items that have lengthy ingredient lists with items you do not recognize. There are, however, some healthy processed foods you should still buy, such as plain yogurt, whole wheat pasta, packaged baby spinach and cheese. You might also be happy to learn there are many clean versions of mayonnaise, hummus, salad dressings and pasta sauce at a grocery store – simply read the labels to review the ingredient list before you buy.
Why are processed foods so bad? It is because our bodies digest processed and unprocessed items differently. For example, white bread will have less bran, so it is harder for your body to easily digest. Decreasing your consumption of processed foods will also limit your exposure to BPA in canned goods, which is an industrial chemical found in plastics.
5. Skip the Sugar
According to the American Heart Association, women should consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day, whilst men should have no more than 9 teaspoons. Yet, the average American consumes four times their recommended amount. That is because they are eating too many ingredients with added sugars, such as candy, soda, and baked goods. Sugar can also be found in seemingly healthy products, such as tomato sauce, cereal, and yogurt.
If you want to live a clean lifestyle, you must keep a close eye on sugars in the foods you eat. One top tip to follow is that sugar should always be listed towards the bottom of the ingredient list, which means there is not much of it used in the food. Also, you do not need to be concerned about naturally occurring sugars in either fruit or dairy, as they are packed full of fiber and protein, so can reduce the effect of sugar within your insulin levels. Not only that, but they deliver essential nutrients to your body, which stop you from consuming empty calories.
6. Decrease Sodium in Your Diet
Similar to sugar, people are consuming far too much sodium each day than they should be. According to the Institute of Medicine, people should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams per day, which is roughly one teaspoon of salt. However, if you are over the age of 50 years old, have high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease or are of African-American descent, you should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams each day.
Again, cutting back on processed foods can be a big step towards a cleaner lifestyle, as 80% of sodium in people’s diets is believed to come from convenience products. Also, stop using salt in your homemade dishes and simply add more herbs, spices, vinegar or citrus to add flavor into your food. If you do want to use salt in your food, do so sparingly.
Have you adopted a cleaner lifestyle? Share your tips and experiences to date by writing a comment below.