You see it on the TV and social media, you hear friends and family talk about it, you might even see your government doing something about it. What is it, you ask? It is the idea that a healthy lifestyle is something that every person should strive to achieve, especially if they want to live long lives.
So what does a healthy lifestyle entail? There are many factors to it, but the two main ones are to exercise regularly and have a healthy diet. The latter is especially worth focusing on because eating is something every one of us has to do. Food is essential to our survival, so if you’re going to be eating anyway, why not make sure that your diet is a healthy one?
An increasingly popular way to get into a healthy diet is to pick up the habit of clean eating. Let’s look at what this means, and see what you should be doing if you want to start eating clean.
What Is Clean Eating?
Don’t take this literally because clean eating has nothing to with your food being clean or dirty. Instead, it’s about choosing the best and healthiest options available to you from each of the different food groups and restricting your consumption of the more unhealthy ones.
It is solely focused on eating foods that have been processed as little as possible and are free from all man-made chemicals and substances — more commonly known as whole foods. These tend to be more plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.
There are numerous health benefits to adopting a clean eating diet, mainly due to the fact it is more plant-based and you will be consuming a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits. These are good for you because they are packed full of helpful nutrients that can do everything from boosting your digestive health to preventing cancer from developing.
If you’re interested in hopping onto the clean eating bandwagon, here are some simple tips on what you should and should not be eating.
Get More Fruits And Vegetables
Many of us tend to neglect the importance of fruits and vegetables and as a result, we don’t consume enough of them. Just last year in 2018, a survey showed that nine out of ten Singaporeans do not eat enough fruits and vegetables daily.
Eating more fresh fruits and veggies is highly recommended as they provide a whole host of health benefits. The fibre found in these foods helps us feel full for longer, which can stave off snack cravings and prevent weight gain. It also helps to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Fibre also helps to promote and regulate healthy bowel movements and keeps your gut free from harmful bacteria.
To get the most out of your intake of vegetables and fruits, give organic produce a shot as these are certified to be free of any harmful pesticides or artificial chemicals, which can only increase the effectiveness of the vitamins and minerals you get.
Choose Whole Grains
If you love white rice and white bread, it may be time to make a change. These carbohydrate staples are considered to be processed grains, and they are known to decrease the amount of insulin in your body, which only increases your risk of diabetes.
Instead, try some whole grains out. Brown rice, quinoa and wholemeal bread are just some examples of whole grains, and they’re better for you because they contain a lot more fibre, antioxidants, and nutrients that help to prevent inflammation in your body.
When buying whole grains at the supermarket, you should also read the labels to make sure you’re buying the right item. It doesn’t matter if there’s a label that says ‘whole grain’, because many companies simply stick that onto the packaging to appeal more to consumers. To be certain, look at the ingredient list — it should be a short list with few ingredients — and the sugar content should be very low.
Cut Down On Meat
You won’t need to go fully vegetarian, but it is still recommended that you cut out meat as much as possible when you’re trying to eat clean. Meat may be tasty but if eaten too often, it can lead to a lot of health complications.
The main nutrient you get from meat is protein, which is an important building block needed to hold your body in place and keep it healthy. However, you can always get protein from other healthier sources, like eggs, nuts, and dairy products. If you want to go on a fully plant-based diet, tofu and tempeh are some excellent sources of protein.
When you do decide to eat meat, there are healthier alternatives available. Processed meats like ham, bacon, and sausages should be avoided as they are likely to contain too much sodium, which is bad for your kidneys. Choose lean cuts of meat where possible to avoid clogging your arteries with fat, and if you have the means, choose organic meats like wild salmon and grass-fed beef, as these are likely to be free of any antibiotics and artificial additives.