The clean eating trend is growing as people realize the benefits of changing not just their diet, but also their lifestyle to cut out processed foods and buy foods directly from the source. Clean eating changes the way you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat. It encourages altering your diet so that you eat fresh produce and whole grains that are packed full of nutrients, as well as other foods that contain good fats to improve overall health. This lifestyle has many health benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, many types of cancers, and other medical problems.
Being aware of the journey your food takes to make it to your plate cuts out additives, filler, and other unnecessary products. Follow these ten clean eating do’s to reap the benefits of a trend that’s sure to stay.
1. No Processed Foods
It’s quite easy to learn about the clean eating lifestyle, but following it can be difficult and a major shock (a good one) to your body. One of the main foundations of clean eating is cutting out and avoiding processed foods. Doing so will prevent the consumption of unhealthy and sometimes very harmful additives. Processed foods are hard on your body and have been connected to serious health complications, including cardiovascular disease and obesity. They can contain so many bad ingredients that are difficult on your liver and for you to digest, and those harmful ingredients and additives are often then stored in the body.
2. Eat Several Small Meals a Day
A clean eating staple when following this diet and lifestyle involves eating several small healthy meals a day, either 5 or 6, instead of 3 (or fewer, depending on your routine) big meals. Some benefits of eating this way include improving your metabolism through the extra work required to digest food more frequently and maintaining blood sugar levels. It can also prevent overeating because you won’t feel starving at your next meal, causing you to eat more than your body needs. It provides your body regular nourishment to keep you energized and satiated throughout the day.
3. Exercise Portion Control
Even if you’re an exercise junkie or are training for something physically demanding, portion control is an important aspect of clean eating that’s doable regardless of your situation. Everyone requires different amounts of food, depending on their age, sex, weight, medical history, and lifestyle. Through portion control you can still get the added protein you need to train, while loading up your body with vital nutrients that will help your overall health.
4. Eat Fresh Veggies
Eat your vegetables. You probably heard this growing up and if you have kids, you’ve probably said it to them, too. There’s a reason vegetables are considered a key part of a healthy diet and it’s recommended you get several servings of them each day—they’re supremely healthy. Vegetables are packed full of nutrients and other sought-after properties that can greatly improve health, protect you from illness, and give your body what it needs to not only survive but thrive. The nutritional properties of vegetables range, but many are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and folic acid, all of which contribute to good health.
There’s an impossibly long list of health benefits from eating fresh vegetables, from giving you energy, improving digestion, and protecting your skin and eyes to potentially reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and many types of cancer. Many vegetables are considered superfoods because of these amazing health benefits, so stock up and eat them regularly. Eating fresh vegetables is a definite do for clean eating and you’ll see and feel the benefits of these powerful foods.
5. Drink Water
Finally, clean eating is about keeping your body clean in every aspect, allowing it to flourish and helping your body become as healthy and strong as possible. Water is vital for your body and impacts more of your health than you may know. It can flush out toxins and other harmful waste in the body, enhance and maintain healthy muscles, and decrease joint pain. Some teas and other fluids can be as effective in hydrating your body as water, so if drinking a lot of water is a big change to your diet you could supplement a few cups of herbal tea as your body and mind adjusts to the change.
Staying hydrated is also known to help control your appetite. Hunger is often mistaken for thirst, causing people to eat and overeat instead of the body what it really needs – water. Drink water throughout the day, at least the standard 8, 8-ounce servings, though your activity level and health impacts how much you should drink. By helping your body thrive from staying well-hydrated all the time you’ll be on your way to keep your body clean.