Clean eating is trending on social media. It is not a new eating practice but a lifestyle that more and more health and nature conscious people are increasingly adopting. The principle behind clean eating is to eat natural, and whole foods and refrain from processed ones. This way of eating leads to innumerable health benefits. Read on to know more about its benefits and tips to incorporate this healthy eating practice into your lifestyle.
What Is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is a concept that is based on mindful eating. It is a diet strategy that focusses on eating healthy and nutritious foods. It encourages a person to choose fresh, natural and high-quality local produce and avoid trans fats. This ensures that your body gets the best nutrients devoid of chemical additives, and preservatives.
A clean eating style improves the functioning of vital organs in the body. This diet is the cure of several ailments that you are experiencing now, or may experience in the future. It improves digestion, raises your energy levels, speeds up metabolism, balances blood sugar levels, and much more. It cleanses your complete body system and positively impacts your mind and body.
Why You Should Eat Clean?
Before incorporating any new practice, you would want to know the types of advantages that you get from it. So, here is a list of a few convincing reasons that show why clean eating is a door to a happy and healthy life.
1. Reduces Possibilities Of Health Ailments In The Future
Poor eating habits for a prolonged time is one of the causes of health ailments. Foods that are rich in sodium, sugar, oil, artificial preservatives etc. are linked to severe health conditions. They should be replaced by natural and seasonal fruits, and vegetables, plant proteins, beans, nuts, soy, etc. that helps in the prevention of disease.
2. Improved Mental Health
Just like physical health, clean eating is beneficial for mental health too. It does it in the below ways:
- Omega 3 fatty acids reduce depression and uplift mood
- B vitamins release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin, and dopamine in the brain
- Natural foods and whole grains make you alert, and focused.
- High-quality lean protein sources such as poultry, cheese, eggs, fish, chicken etc. release dopamine that enhances your concentration and productivity at the workplace.
3. Improves Sleep Quality
Sleep is very essential to keep your entire body in the best functional state. It is the time when the repair and development of the body take place. Sleep is one of the sources of energy. A well-slept person feels more energetic, lively, and focused on the next day. Clean eating involves eating light and nutritious foods that help you get uninterrupted sleep.
It encourages drinking warm milk and a handful of almonds at bed-time. These foods are high in tryptophan and melatonin that induces sleep in a person. This healthy practice also discourages bedtime snack, leftover food, heavy dinner, etc. that can cause difficulty in sleeping.
4. Makes You Energetic
We need the energy to perform any work. Energetic people can accomplish any task easily and quickly. If low energy levels are lagging you behind, then start eating clean. The principle of this eating style is to eat a protein and carb-rich diet at breakfast.
Both these nutrients fuel the body. When they metabolize, they release a certain amount of energy to keep you energetic throughout the day. Oatmeal, brown bread with peanut butter, breakfast cereals with milk and nuts and seeds, brown rice/quinoa with peas, corn and broccoli, cheese, are some of the best breakfast choices to keep your energy levels high.
5. Help In Weight Management
Processed and refined foods, sugary and junk foods are calorie-dense foods. These are empty calories that accumulate in the body and lead to weight gain. These foods have unhealthy carbs that digest quickly in the body and keep you wanting for more.
On the other hand, the main constituents of a well-balanced clean diet are whole grains, high-quality proteins, and healthy fats. These foods provide you healthy calories and keep you fuller for a longer time. It prevents frequent hunger pangs and helps in controlling your calorie intake. In this way, clean eating helps in giving you healthy body weight.
6. Healthy Teeth and Gums
Clean eating promotes a healthy oral cavity. It does it in two ways:
- As you avoid sugary beverages, sweets, and sticky stuff, you can prevent the formation of dental cavities, and gingivitis.
- You eat more of fiber-rich foods that create a healthy environment in the mouth.
- The diet encourages eating of dairy products like yogurt that strengthens your teeth and gums.
7. Gives You Healthy Hair
Who does not crave your long, and lustrous tresses? Clean eating includes a high proportion of foods such as beans, eggs, nuts, fish, and poultry that provides you plenty of omega 3 fatty acids, various types of amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, biotin, and vitamins C, and E. Eating these foods regularly gives you strong, and shiny locks naturally.
8. Conserves The Environment
A clean diet encourages the intake of plant-based foods. The diet advises eating less meat, and complete avoidance of processed foods. These principles help to lower the carbon print. When you consume organic and natural foods that are not subjected to pesticides, or herbicides, it reduces the water, soil, and air pollution considerably.
List Of Foods To Eat And Avoid While On Clean Eating
Foods to Eat
So, here is the complete list of all foods and beverages that comes under clean eating practice. In the initial days, you may need to refer to this list at the time of hitting a grocery store.
- All types of fruits, and vegetables
- All nuts, and seeds
- Non-dairy products: Almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, and soy milk.
- Protein sources: Boiled eggs, beans, cottage cheese, tofu, yogurt, lentils, mackerel, tuna, clam, shrimp, quinoa, nut butter, and skinless chicken breast.
- Whole Grains: Barley, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat, oats, red rice, black rice, corn and buckwheat.
- Healthy Fats: Avocado, fatty fish, flaxseed, and all types of seeds, and nuts.
- Oils: Olive Oil, rice bran oil, coconut oil, linseed oil, walnut oil, and extra virgin olive oil
- Natural sweetening agents: Maple syrup, organic honey, and palm sugar.
- Beverages: Water, buttermilk, coconut water, green tea, freshly prepared juices, and black coffee.
- All types of herbs
- Spices: cloves, cumin, cardamom, coriander, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, parsley, mustard, Himalayan pink salt, and chili powder.
- Others: Apple cider vinegar, and white wine vinegar
Foods To Avoid
Clean eating implies refraining from all types of refined, junk, and processed foods. So, here is the list of foods that you should avoid:
- Pre-packaged beverages, and foods, ready-to-eat foods, frozen meals,
- Foods that contain “natural flavors”, artificial color and smell, preservatives,
- Diet soda
- ready-to-eat foods pre-packaged frozen meals, instant noodles
- Canned vegetables
- Store brought sugary drinks
- French fries, instant noodles, chips, and chicken
- Deli meats
- Sausages and salad dressings that contain high fructose, invert sugar, dextrose, corn syrup, fructose, molasses, concentrated fruit juice, etc.
Tips To Follow Clean Eating Style
Looking at the benefits of clean eating, you may be excited to find out how to implement it in your lifestyle. We have compiled a few tips, that will give you an idea of how to form your meals while sticking to clean eating.
1. Consume Fruits And Veggies
People who follow a clean diet, should give more preference to plants over animal-based food sources. This is because the former contains high amounts of dietary vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. They are also low calories foods that help you manage weight easily. Enjoy plenty of seasonal produce. In a day, you should aim for a minimum of five different types of vegetables, and three types of fruits. Include them in every meal.
2. Consume Unprocessed Whole Grains
Whole grains are superior to refined grains. They contain eighty percent more dietary fiber and are beneficial to lower risks related to cardiac ailments, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more. It is advised to eat a minimum of three servings of whole grains in a day.
3. Consume Lean Protein
Protein is necessary for the body in numerous ways. They help build stronger muscles, boost metabolism, and normalize the functioning of enzymes in the body. For these benefits, it is advised to include high-quality protein with every meal.
4. Avoid Processed Foods
The whole idea of clean eating is to remain close to nature. Processed foods are depleted of essential minerals, and vitamins. They have fast-digesting carbs that cause a spike in blood glucose and makes you hungry fast. Also, in these products, you will find several undesired additives that disturb the functioning of the brain. Yeast extract, glutamine and other harmful additives make our brain addict to them.
Replace these harmful products with natural and organic products. Choose products that have the least amount of ingredients. Include all those things that contain a single ingredient or produces outside such as vegetables, fruits, quinoa, rice, millet etc.
5. Include Healthy Fats
Your body needs healthy fats for the sound development and functioning of different organs. Unsaturated fats are healthy fats that are important for the execution of several key metabolic activities in the body. These fats lower inflammation and bad cholesterol levels in the body and keep your heart healthy.
6. Limit Added Sugar Consumption
We all know that sugar is harmful to health. It dissolves calcium from the bones, causes premature aging, and increases body weight. It is responsible for several health ailments that include Type 2 diabetes, NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), cardiovascular ailment, and obesity.
Clean eating requires that you ditch the sugar completely. If it is not possible then restrict your sugar consumption to three teaspoons a day. Prefer natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey, etc. in moderate amounts over artificial sweeteners.
7. Eat small portions several times a day
Clean eating emphasizes on not overfilling the digestive system. Eating food in small amounts keeps your metabolism active. When you eat only that much calories that you require in an hour, your body does not store it in the form of fat. In place of three big meals, try to divide into six portions and eat it at periodic intervals in a day.
In this way, you can put your hunger cues rest. As there is not much activity in the later hours of the day, clean eating requires people to eat light dinner. This prevents the body from accumulating excess calories in the form of fat.
8. Make your Breakfast King Size
After fasting of ten or more hours, your body needs healthy and nutrient-dense foods. So, consume protein, healthy fats, and complex carb in the first meal of the day. Oatmeal, nuts, seeds, vegetable and fruit salad /smoothies, are some great ways to start your day. It will give you the necessary energy boost and stimulate the metabolism of the body.
9. Reduce Salt Intake
Excess consumption of salt can do a lot of harm to the body. It gets stored in the kidneys. To maintain the right salt concentration, your body starts to store water. If you do not drink adequate amounts of water, then it causes an excess of salt concentration in the body. This causes the kidney to overexert themselves and leads to high blood pressure. To prevent such situations, clean eating requires one to eat salt in moderation. Stay away from processed foods as they are high in salt. Prefer sea salt, or Himalayan salt over your regular salt.
10. Eat complex carbs with protein
The combination of protein with complex carb helps the body to metabolize protein more efficiently. Some of the sources of complex carbs are whole grains, brown rice, legumes, boiled potatoes etc. The duo helps to normalize the metabolism, and prevents untimely cravings for food.
11. Stay Adequately Hydrated
Water is the medium by which your body transports the healthy nutrients to different parts of the body. When you drink well, all the cells and tissues of the body get adequately nourished. Choose healthier ways to keep yourself hydrated. Eliminate coffee, tea, and all types of alcoholic beverages from the diet.
What you eat what you become. Clean eating is a healthy habit that requires you to become aware of what you eat. It aims at making healthy food selections when preparing your meal. It promises a pleasant body experience and is the way to your overall health, and wellness.
For some of you, who are fond of processed foods may find it a little difficult to implement. In the initial stages, you may slip a little. Take baby steps and try to stick to the rules as much as you can. Soon you will develop a new and healthy eating habit and that feeling is going to be awesome.
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