Published on: 02-Aug-2023
Clean eating means consuming whole foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. When at the grocery store or planning meals, it’s easy to make positive food choices if you focus on the basics and doing one small thing at a time. Consider the following tips for healthy eating:
Eat more fruits and vegetables
Fresh produce is the foundation for healthy eating. TFruits and vegetables are nutrient-rich and filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals that fight inflammation. Many studies link high fruit and vegetable intake to a reduced risk of conditions like cancer and heart disease. Additionally, they are easy to prepare and many can be eaten raw. Add more fruits and vegetables into your diet by eating salads, adding them to your soup and stir-fry recipes, topping your morning cereal or yogurt with bananas and berries, fruit, and keeping fresh, cut up veggies in your refrigerator for a quick snack.
Limit refined carbs and processed foods
Limit your intake of highly-processed, refined carbs with whole grains. Research links refined carbs to inflammation, insulin resistance, and obesity, while whole grains provide fiber, which may reduce inflammation and promote better gut health. Limit consumption of ready-to-eat cereals, white bread, and other refined carbs.
Additionally, processed foods have been linked to an increased risk of heart issues, so try to limit their consumption. Foods like salty snacks, packaged crackers and cookies, and fast food can contain added sugar, artificial colors, stabilizers, and or preservatives.
Reduce your intake of added sugars
Studies suggest that added sugar in the diet plays a role in obesity, diabetes, fatty liver, and certain types of cancer. Limiting sugar in your diet is imperative, but it is often hidden in common foods that you’re not aware of, including condiments and sauces.
Choose oils and spreads wisely
Most oils, margarine and other spreads are highly processed because they’re produced via chemical extraction. It’s important to choose the right ones. Olive oil and avocado oil are good substitutes for butter and margarine and offer health benefits.
Clean eating diets rely on whole, fresh foods, but certain types of packaged foods can also be consumed, including packaged vegetables, nuts, and meat. Be sure to read food labels to make sure there are no added preservatives, sugars, or unhealthy fats.
While some studies show that moderate drinking of wine and certain types of alcohol could potentially boost heart health, frequent alcohol consumption has been shown to promote inflammation and may contribute to several health problems, such as liver disease, digestive disorders, obesity, and excess belly fat. It’s important to consume alcohol in moderation.
Hydrate with water
Water is the most natural beverage you can drink and does not contain additives, sugars, or artificial sweeteners. Sugar-based beverages like soda and fruit juices are linked to type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other chronic conditions. Consider adding a slice of fruit to your water for delicious, natural flavoring.
Clean, healthy eating may sound challenging, but with a little thought and extra care during meal planning, it can lead to a healthier life and allow you to appreciate the natural flavors of all the delicious whole foods that nature has to offer.
Authored by Zach Meeker, Research Assistant for Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush University Medical Center
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