There are tons of articles right now on healthy living, and it’s great that we are all focusing on our bodies and our health, but, with so much advice coming from so many different angles, it can be difficult to discern what diet is right for you. Clean eating is a simple way to approach wellness. But what is it exactly, and how can it benefit you?
Clean eating is a lifestyle—not a diet. Rather than restricting your intake and counting calories, which can be difficult to maintain, clean eating requires you to manage your health and wellness by focusing on whole grains, vegetables, and fruit; and cutting out things like sugars, salt, and unhealthy fats. Eating clean is a way to revitalize your health on a sustainable basis. It’s a great way to get back on track if you’ve been eating poorly, and to build healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
Here are some tips on eating clean:
Cut out the Bad Stuff
You can still indulge once in a while, and natural sugars found in fresh fruit are definitely okay, but cutting down your added sugar intake can prevent tooth decay, heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain. The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day for women and about nine teaspoons per day for men.
Excessive salt intake can increase blood pressure. The problem? Salt is hiding everywhere, especially in processed foods. A good first step to avoiding salt is to avoid packaged foods. Reading labels is key here. Some packaged foods aren’t harmful, like whole grain pasta, for example, so just keep an eye out for sodium levels. The recommended sodium intake per day is 2,300 mg, which is around one teaspoon of salt.
Not all fats are bad, but eliminating saturated fats from your diet will lower your risk of increased cholesterol and heart disease. Saturated fats are found in foods like butter, cheese, and meat. The best way to avoid these “bad” fats is to swap them out for “good” fats, like avocados, nuts, and peanut butter.
Add in the Good Stuff
Whole grains, as opposed to refined grains, lower your risk of a number of chronic diseases, including stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. They also have been found to support better weight maintenance. Look for the word “whole” on packaging, and try to eat about three servings of whole grains per day.
Vegetables are full of healthy vitamins, like vitamins A and K, which are essential for healthy vision and immune function. They’re high in fiber, low in calories, and unprocessed. The recommended daily intake for adults in about three cups of vegetables per day.
Fresh fruits are naturally low in fats, calories, and sodium, so they’re a clean eating must. They host a number of essential nutrients, like potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid). Eating fresh fruit can help reduce the risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer, as well as lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of kidney stones, and decrease bone loss. The recommended intake for fruits is about 2 ½ cups per day.
Try out these clean eating tips and get on your way to better health and wellness. While you’re at it, get active! Check out https://www.athletebeyond.com/ for athletic apparel to get you motivated.