You may feel sluggish, foggy, and lethargic as a result of a bad diet.
After indulging in salty or sweet snacks, you may discover that your desires for junk food become even stronger, rather than fulfilled; regrettably, your health and waistline may suffer as a result.
With so many diet fads out there, it can be difficult to cut through the hype and discover concrete facts on what you should eat, avoid, and, most importantly, why you should do either.
Here are nine ways a clean eating diet can help you feel stronger, more focused, and in control while increasing your energy, reducing bloat, improving your health, and possibly even slimming your figure.
Clean Up Your Eating Habits
What makes a “clean” diet has many distinct definitions.
Clean eating entails focusing on nutrient-dense, whole foods in general. It recommends avoiding pre-packaged, overly processed foods and, whenever feasible, preparing meals from fresh, natural ingredients.
It’s important to remember that you have complete freedom to interpret those principles any way you want. Some people follow a paleo diet, while others follow a vegan diet, and yet others find that their bodies respond best when they limit dairy.
In either case, you must pick a course that matches your lifestyle and allow yourself to be flexible. Once you’ve weeded out the processed, high-sodium, high-fat, and high-sugar items, it’ll be easier to figure out which foods agree and which ones don’t.
1. Protein = Satisfaction
Chicken, turkey, white fish, beans, lentils, and low- or no-fat dairy are all examples of lean protein. Proteins are the building blocks of muscles and assist in the formation of other body tissues such as skin and cell membranes.
Protein takes longer to digest in the stomach, making you feel content for longer and preventing hunger between meals.
Lean proteins have a low-fat content and so have fewer calories, making them simple to incorporate into any meal. Put some hard-boiled eggs and diced chicken breast in a salad, for example, and it transforms from rabbit food to a complete supper.
2. Scrub Your Intestines
Roughage, often known as fiber, is essential for keeping your digestive tract working smoothly; it acts as a scrub brush for your intestines.
While that may sound harsh, both physically and metaphorically, it is precisely what people are looking for in popular cleanses and fasts, but without the extreme procedures and hefty expenses.
Deposits of build-up in the intestines, particularly in older persons, can cause not only substantial discomfort but also colon cancer and other serious health problems.
Fiber also aids in the natural regulation of blood sugar levels. Your sweet desires will remain balanced and on an even keel without the ups and downs that come with a processed diet.
This can help your metabolism run smoothly throughout the day, as well as provide emotional and mental relief.
Fiber can be found in a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, peas, whole-grain foods, and beans. Because of their high fiber content, these foods have also been associated with a lower risk of cancer and heart disease.
3. Skip Added Sugar
Limiting the quantity of added sugar you consume during the day is one way to clean up your diet.
Fruit naturally includes sugar and fructose; seek a fresh piece of fruit for a satisfying snack instead of a candy bar or sugary, baked confection when you’re searching for a sweet treat around the house.
Fructose is a carbohydrate of the sugar class. It will offer you the energy boost you need during your mid-afternoon slump, but without the blood sugar spike and crash that sugary candies do.
It’s crucial to remember that sugar can be found in many “healthy” meals.
Many popular brands of yogurt or granola bars, for example, can have an astronomical amount of added refined sugar. Be sure to read food labels and steer clear of any foods with sugar content in the double-digits.
4. Cut Back on Saturated Fat
Saturated fatty acids should account for no more than 10% of your total daily calories. Total fat consumption should be between 20 and 35 percent of total calories consumed.
That means that if you eat 2,000 calories per day, no more than 700 of those calories should come from fat; this amounts to a daily fat intake of no more than 77 grams.
Please examine product labels carefully; many people will find a large amount of those 77 grams in just their “healthy” salad dressing!
Most saturated fats are solid at normal temperature, which is a useful fact. Consider the difference between the white fat on bacon and other meats and the healthier oils (also fats) that are liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil.
This is a simple way to keep track of how much-saturated fat you’re eating; the fat in many common foods may be seen.
5. High Salt Means High Blood Pressure
The American Heart Association recommends that individuals consume no more than 2,300mg (approximately 1 teaspoon) of salt, with an “optimal” limit of no more than 1,500mg.
Far too many people, especially those who frequent restaurants, exceed this limit in a single meal.
When salt enters the bloodstream, it alters the body’s electrolyte balance, making it difficult for the kidneys to function properly. To be honest, a low potassium consumption is equally as likely as a high salt intake to induce high blood pressure.
However, many people eat prepackaged items as part of their daily diet and are unaware of how much salt they are consuming.
Salt has been used as a preservative in many foods; years ago, meats were even packed in salt to extend their shelf life.
Because so much natural flavor is now cooked out of foods during the manufacturing process, salt is now used to enhance the flavor that remains. This is why homemade spaghetti sauce has far less salt and far more flavor than store-bought pre-cooked sauce in a jar or can.
Finally, excessive salt consumption leads your body to retain water in order to dilute the sodium taken into your body and tissues.
This is why you may feel bloated for up to two days after eating a salty meal, such as a dinner of burgers and fries from a renowned chain restaurant.
6. Indulge in Complex Carbohydrates
One of the most common diet misunderstandings these days is that the key to weight loss is to consume fewer carbohydrates.
This is especially true if you’re eating factory-made, highly processed, sugar-laden foods. It is not true, however, if you are eating complex carbs that are high in fiber and provide your body with fuel and energy.
Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the heart, skeletal muscles, and, especially, the brain. When trying to clean up your diet, stay away from white bread, bleached flour, and other processed carbs.
These have little to no fiber and, when not used for energy, convert to sugar and eventually fat. They also likely contain a lot of added sweeteners. Fresh vegetables, whole-grain bread, lentils, beans, and whole potatoes, on the other hand, are fantastic providers of energy and fuel for your body and mind.
7. Hold Out for Homemade
Food labels and calorie counts on packaged goods and in restaurants are only required to be correct within 30 percent of the time, according to the law.
This means that a 1,000-calorie entrée could include as much as 1,300 calories, and this does not necessarily account for the butter and oils required to grease pans during cooking.
You can make the same dishes at home with significantly less of a negative influence on your health. There are a plethora of healthy food adjustments you can make to cut calories while increasing nutritional intake.
Using condensed milk instead of heavy cream in dishes, cauliflower instead of rice for a low-carb alternative (if you’re like that), or a fast spray of olive oil to prepare a pan instead of a pat of butter are just a few examples.
One of the nicest things about cooking at home is that you can customize recipes to your preferences, and you can save hundreds of dollars every month with smart planning.
If you’re trying to save money on groceries, remember to shop farmer’s markets for fresh produce, buy foods that are in-season for peak freshness and the best value, and choose frozen foods over canned when necessary; frozen vegetables are flash-frozen at the peak of ripeness, increasing their nutrient content when compared to canned counterparts.
8. Boost Your Antioxidant Intake
If a low-saturated-fat diet is good for your arteries and heart, and a fiber-rich diet is good for your gut, then antioxidant-rich foods are good for your cells.
The short version is that oxidants are radicals that are found in the environment as a result of unavoidable situations such as air pollution, as well as lifestyle choices such as alcohol and cigarette smoking.
These oxidants have been shown to damage our cells, perhaps resulting in illnesses and tumors. On the other hand, antioxidants do exactly what their name suggests: they help the body balance oxidants to a healthy level that the body can handle.
Modern food manufacturers frequently advertise the health benefits of their products on labels. On packages, buzzwords like “anti-aging” and “cancer-fighting” are used to entice you in.
To be honest, none of these items come close to matching the health benefits of whole foods in their natural state.
Grapes, blueberries, almonds, and yes, even chocolate (cocoa) are high in antioxidants, which can help your cells stay healthy and your body run smoothly.
9. A Clean Kitchen Leads to a Clean Diet
Have you ever gone through your closet and thrown out all of your old, unworn clothes?
When you go to choose an outfit the following time, you open your closet doors and feel relieved at the arrangement; you instantly feel at ease in your own clothes! Consider how you’d feel if you opened your refrigerator or pantry in the same way.
Meal planning is popular among those who follow a clean eating diet.
Meal prep entails cooking a large number of meals at once and freezing parts to eat during the week. This is perfect for folks who are often on the go or who have trouble deciding what to eat. You can cook once or twice a week and never be concerned about what to eat next.
This is especially useful if you work during the day and want to get your breakfast or lunch before leaving the office.
While this weekday eating approach will undoubtedly save you money and calories, the greatest benefit is the peace of mind and mental relaxation you will experience by removing the element of unpredictability from the equation.
When trying to stick to a healthy diet, many people find going out to eat difficult. Others are overwhelmed by the grocery store’s selections and what to buy and cook at home.
You can experiment with recipes, shop according to grocery store discounts and sales, and always have a healthy meal ready when you need it by cooking batches of food.
Clean Eating Can Clean Up Your Life
To various people, clean eating might imply a variety of things. Experts and dietitians advise against eliminating any food group from your diets, such as fats or carbohydrates.
Clean eating is all about finding a healthy balance and fuelling your body with nutrient-dense foods that keep your metabolism, muscles, and brain functioning at their best.
Your body is like a well-oiled engine; it has everything it needs to maintain a state of peaceful homeostasis, and the higher quality fuel you feed it, the better you’ll feel.
Many people discover that simply changing their diet helps them lose undesired weight, lower their cholesterol and blood pressure, and finally get off diet-related drugs.
Your tastes will vary as you learn more about which meals you should avoid and which foods you should include in your diet.
Your body will gradually crave the good foods just as much as it formerly needed the junk food you thought you couldn’t live without. However, be patient with yourself since this shift may take some time.
Finally, following a clean eating plan does not imply that you will never be able to enjoy a treat.
Food is about addressing your body’s needs, even if it means indulging in a treat or guilty pleasure now and then.
When you take care of your body on a daily basis, these moments become much more enjoyable–especially when you don’t feel sluggish and fatigued afterward. So, the next time you have a craving, make sure you seek “clean” items!