When it comes to weight loss and healthy eating, you can eat a healthy diet, exercise, and avoid processed food, but how do you know which foods are healthy? Is it enough to lose weight? We’ve put together a list of five ways to start eating healthy this year.
What Does Clean Eating Mean?
You’ve probably heard of clean eating, but you may not know what it entails or how to get started.
In short, clean foods are the closest to their natural state, including minimally processed and real foods that provide our bodies with the most nutrients possible.
Clean eating is all about eating more of the best and healthiest options in each food group—and less of the not-so-healthy ones. This entails eating whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy proteins and fats.
You want to eat less refined grains, additives, preservatives, unhealthy fats, and excessive amounts of sugar and salt and avoid highly processed foods.
Benefits of a Healthy Diet
While eating healthy is among the most important factors for losing weight, clean eating isn’t just a simple diet to follow for a particular time, and definitely isn’t just about losing weight, but also about feeling better physically and mentally.
- Weight Loss: One of the primary reasons people eat a healthy diet is to maintain or lose weight. Maintaining a healthy weight has its own numerous benefits, including preventing diseases such as type two diabetes. In addition, some medications can aid with the process for individuals who have tried better eating habits and exercise but can’t lose the weight their physicians are recommending. This medication, such as Saxenda suppresses your appetite and can help individuals whose healthy diet and exercise haven’t had the desired effects.
- Cardiovascular Health: You don’t have to be well into your middle-age years to start thinking about the health of your heart. Clean eating promotes a healthy heart and prevents common heart complications.
- Improved mood and energy: A balanced diet equals a balanced mood. Furthermore, eating properly means that your body is getting all of the nutrients it requires to function properly, which will increase your energy levels. To avoid sugar highs and crashes, avoid sugary foods and drinks.
5 Best Ways to Start Eating Healthy
1. Avoid processed foods
Processed foods are the farthest from the natural state of the food, and therefore, on the complete spectrum of clean eating.
After processing, food loses most of its healthy nutrients like fiber and gaines additional sugar, salt, and other chemicals. So even if no unhealthy ingredients are added to these products, they still lack many benefits that whole foods provide.
In addition, processed foods have been linked to inflammation and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, clean eating entails avoiding processed foods as much as possible.
2. Cook your own food
Make it a habit to cook at home most nights rather than eat out. When you prepare your own food, you know exactly what is in it. You won’t have to worry about any unhealthy or high-calorie ingredients lurking in the background.
Also, by cooking in large batches, you’ll have leftovers for the next day, ensuring a healthy meal.
Not only will this help you get more vitamins and minerals into your diet, but it also saves you money.
3. Avoid added sugar in any form
Sugar is dangerous for both your weight loss goals and your health overall. Sugar can also increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Depending on your health, you can eat small amounts of natural sugar, such as honey or maple syrup, occasionally while eating clean.
If you have diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or other health issues, you should avoid all forms of concentrated sugar, including those derived from natural sources.
To know more about types of sugar and how they affect your life, check out this article on understanding how much sugar is too much.
4. Replace sugary drinks with water
There isn’t a healthier and more natural beverage than water, so why not make it your primary drink? It’s addictive to drink all kinds of sodas and sugary drinks when you feel thirsty. The sheer number of additives, sugars, artificial sweeteners, or other questionable ingredients is always a cause for alarm.
5. Consume fresh vegetables and fruits
Fresh vegetables and fruits are among the best ways to start eating healthy because they’re high in nutrients and low in calories. In addition, they’re high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds, which aid in the fight against inflammation and protect your cells from damage.
Fresh vegetables and fruits are ideal for clean eating because they can be eaten raw immediately after being picked and washed.
Clean eating focuses on eating foods as fresh, nutritious, and minimally processed as possible.
This way of eating can improve your health and teach you to appreciate the flavors of food in its most natural states.