(Natural News) If you have a busy schedule, it might be tempting to eat convenient and cheap fast food. However, putting too much junk food in your body can only mean trouble for your health. Improve your eating habits now by clean eating.
Clean eating refers to a dietary pattern that focuses on fresh, whole foods. Simply put, clean eating is the practice of consuming foods that are “as close to their natural state as possible.”
Keep things simple by following these guidelines for clean eating.
Eat more fresh produce.
You have probably heard it time and again, and for good reason; fruits and vegetables are indeed some of the healthiest foods you can eat. They are full of fiber, plant compounds, vitamins, and minerals that help fight inflammation and protect your cells from damage. Various observational studies have found that high intake of fruits and vegetables is linked to a reduced risk of serious health problems like cancer and heart disease.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best foods for clean eating since most of them can be consumed raw immediately after washing. Eating organic produce also reduces pesticide exposure.
Consider these tips for incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet:
- Start your day with a vegetable omelet.
- Place a fruit bowl somewhere visible – as a centerpiece of your dining table for instance – to encourage healthy snacking at home.
- Make smoothies with fruits and veggies, but skip the added sugars.
Substitute some ingredients with vegetables.
Replace refined grains with vegetables in a recipe to boost the nutritional value of the meal. Cauliflower is a great substitute for rice, mashed potatoes, or pizza crust.
Spaghetti squash, which separates into long, thin strands after cooking, is a healthier replacement for pasta. You can also use zucchini to make veggie noodles.
Drink more water.
Good old water helps you stay hydrated and can also help with managing your weight. The commonly recommended amount of water consumption is eight 8-ounce glasses a day.
Sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with health problems like diabetes, obesity, and other diseases. Store-bought fruit juice can also cause the same problems because of its high sugar content.
Avoid processed foods.
Processed foods have been modified from their natural state and they often lack many of the benefits offered by whole foods. A lot of processed foods lose their fiber and nutrients and gain chemicals, sugar, or other toxic ingredients. Studies have also linked processed foods with inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease.
Avoid packaged snacks.
Crackers, granola bars, muffins, and other snack foods usually contain refined grains, sugar, and other unhealthy ingredients. These processed foods all lack nutritional value.
To avoid unhealthy snacking, prepare healthier alternatives like sliced apples with peanut butter or mixed nuts.
Always check food labels.
Clean eating is based on whole, fresh foods, but you can still eat certain types of packaged foods, liked packaged meat, nuts, and vegetables. When buying packaged foods, check the labels for any added sugars, preservatives, or unhealthy fats that you should be avoiding.
If you want to eat a salad for instance, it’s better to make some at home instead of buying pre-washed salad mixes. Salad mixes may you save time, but they contain unhealthy additives, particularly in the salad dressing that’s usually included in the package.
Avoid refined carbs.
Refined carbs, such as ready-to-eat cereals and white bread, are highly processed foods and they provide little nutritional value. Studies have found that consumption of refined carbs is linked to fatty liver, inflammation, insulin resistance, and obesity.
Choose whole grains that are rich in fiber and nutrients and can help reduce inflammation and improve gut health. When eating whole grains, choose the least-processed kinds like sprouted grain bread and steel-cut oats.
Avoid added sugar.
Added sugar is very common, and it’s even found in foods that aren’t sweet, like savory condiments and sauces. Table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are full of unhealthy fructose, and research shows that this compound is linked to cancer, diabetes, fatty liver, obesity, and other health problems.
If you’re fairly healthy, it’s fine to occasionally eat small amounts of natural sugar, like honey or maple syrup. But if you have diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or other similar health issues, avoid all forms of concentrated sugar.
Limit your alcohol intake.
Frequent alcohol consumption may promote inflammation. It can also contribute to various health conditions like digestive disorders, excess belly fat, and liver disease.
Replace canola oil and margarine with healthier alternatives.
Canola oil and margarine are produced via chemical extraction, making them highly processed. Instead of these unhealthy options, consume moderate amounts of healthy fats such as omega-3, which is found in foods like avocado, nuts, and fatty fish.
If you’re going to use vegetable oil, choose extra virgin olive oil.
Consume meat from ethically raised animals.
Livestock animals are usually raised in crowded, unsanitary factory farms. They are also given antibiotics to prevent infection and injected with hormones (e.g., estrogen and testosterone) to maximize growth.
Most cattle in industrial farms are fed grains instead of grass, which is their natural diet. Research has revealed that grass-fed beef has more anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants than grain-fed beef.
Factory farms also produce tons of waste that are damaging for the environment.
To ensure that you’re eating clean and helping the environment at the same time, make sure to eat meat from ethically raised livestock.
Clean eating is not just a one-time decision, it’s a lifestyle. Learn more healthy lifestyle habits at NaturalHealth.news.