Clean eating has recently become a buzzword in the healthcare community. It refers to following a healthy diet that is good for your mind and body. Let's discuss 11 simple steps to a healthier diet.
Eat More Vegetables and Fruits
Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, which makes them healthy for your body. Along with reducing your risk of certain diseases, fruits and veggies also fight inflammation and provide good nutrition.
To ensure a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet, make colorful salads with at least three vegetables. You can also eat fruits as snacks.
Reduce Processed Foods in Your Diet
Processed foods are doing you no good. They have been linked to a higher risk of heart disease and inflammation.
Although it is difficult to cut them out of your diet entirely, you should limit the intake of processed foods. Examples include tinned vegetables, cheese, breakfast cereals, cakes, biscuits, savory snacks, and microwave meals.
Eat Good Carbs
No, you do not have to give up eating carbs altogether. Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for your body. They fuel all major organs, including the heart, kidneys, and brains.
Make sure you eat healthy carbs. These are carbohydrates with longer molecules that the body takes longer to metabolize. Therefore, the glucose from these carbohydrates is released at a consistent rate rather than peaking your blood sugar levels.
Some sources of good carbs are tubers, all vegetables, legumes, seeds, whole grains, whole fruits, and nuts.
Read the Labels
Mindful grocery shopping will remove a lot of unhealthy foods from your diet. Check if the item contains preservatives, unhealthy fats, or added sugars. If so, put it back on the shelf.
Eat More Fish
Make fish a part of your meals a few times a week. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B2. Moreover, it contains healthy minerals, such as phosphorus and calcium. According to the American Heart Association, you should eat fish two times a week.
Fish that are good for your heart include sardines, pilchards, salmon, trout, herring, and mackerel.
Cut Down on Sugars and Saturated Fats
Saturated fats are fatty acids found in hard cheese, cream, lard, pies, sausages, and fatty cuts of meat. Limit your intake of saturated fats and opt for unsaturated fats instead. These are present in avocados, oily fish, spreads, and vegetable oil.
Also, cut down your sugar intake. Overeating sugar increases your risk of tooth decay and obesity. Some foods with added sugars are pudding, sugary drinks, alcoholic drinks, chocolates, cakes, and breakfast cereals.
Eat Less Salt
According to the FDA, an average American eats nearly 3,400 milligrams of sodium every day. Most of this comes from salt. However, the recommended sodium intake is less than 2,300 milligrams.
Increase Fiber Intake
According to the FDA, increasing your fiber intake regulates bowel movements, preventing constipation and other digestive issues. It also lowers your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
You should have 28 grams of dietary fiber per day, based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Substitute Refined Grains with Whole Grains
Whole grains contain a plethora of nutrients, such as fibers, proteins, antioxidants, trace minerals, and B vitamins. A whole grain-rich diet reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other conditions.
Whole grains contain every edible part of a grain. Some good options include popcorn, whole rye, brown rice, triticale, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, whole oats, sorghum, and whole wheat flour.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you should eat at least three to five servings of whole grains. To put it simply, half of your grain intake should be made up of whole grains.
Do Not Replace Water
Water is used in all reactions taking place in your body. It travels through the body carrying wastes, oxygen, and nutrients. Moreover, it regulates your body's temperature and cushions the joints.
Do not use sugary drinks or energy drinks as an alternative to water. According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, men should drink at least 15.5 cups of 3.7 liters of water a day while women should drink 11.5 cups or 2.7 liters.
Drink Alcohol Moderately
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that men only drink two alcoholic drinks a day. Meanwhile, the recommendation for women is one drink.
Although drinking moderately has its fair share of benefits, you should weigh the pros and cons of alcohol consumption when following a healthy diet.