Spring Cleaning: 5 Ways A Clean Diet Can Transform Your Health
2020 inspired many to clean up their diet and focus on health. According to the 2020 Food and Health Survey from the International Food Information Council, 20% of Americans switched to a cleaner diet that consisted of more whole foods, including lean proteins, unrefined whole grains, and healthy fats while avoiding processed items and added sugars. Those who stuck with their new habits experienced weight loss and improved their well-being. Here are five ways a clean, balanced diet can boost your overall health.
1. Improved Digestion
Adding dark leafy greens, fiber, and antioxidant-rich foods to your plate can completely transform your GI tract and improve your digestion. Foods with high water volume and fiber counts—like broccoli, kale, spinach, and swiss chard—will get your digestive system in motion. On top of that, they also provide other benefits—such as clear skin, weight loss, and reduced risk of chronic illnesses—while other greens, like fennel, help reduce bloat and keep you full. For improved satiety, start your day off with a bowl of oatmeal and some eggs. This meal will not only give your digestion the jump start it needs, but it will keep you full for longer, prevent overeating, and improve blood cholesterol. Cheap carbs, like bagels, muffins, and cereal, will do the exact opposite.
2. Better Sleep
Sleep plays a crucial role in your health by reducing your risk of developing chronic illnesses and boosting your immune system. For some, falling asleep and staying asleep can be challenging. For consistent, high-quality sleep that leaves you feeling refreshed, switch to a healthy, well-balanced diet. A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that those who experience poor sleep often lack vital nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, D, E, and K.
To help combat this deficiency, take a daily multivitamin and add the following food into your diet:
- Fatty fish (specifically salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel)
- White rice
3. More Energy and Sharper Focus
Swap the energy drinks for some unrefined carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, and unlock more energy and a sharper mind. While simple sugars, like candy, give you a temporary power boost, foods like blueberries, vegetables, and whole grains provide your body a reserve it can draw from throughout the day and prevent fatigue. While it’s our first instinct to grab a caffeinated drink when we feel foggy or tired, switching to a green or black tea is the better call. These teas will give your body an amino acid called L-theanine and lead to better focus and energy.
4. Reduced Inflammation
Everyone experiences inflammation, which can be brought on by several factors, including environment, stress, or diet. Over time, inflammation can lead to chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. Clean foods, however, are known to help eliminate inflammation and reduce your chances of developing these diseases.
Certain foods are more effective than others. These include:
- Olive Oil
- Leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc.)
- Nuts (almonds and walnuts)
- Fatty fish
- Fruits (strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges)
5. Glowing Skin
If you’ve tried (and failed) to combat acne, fine lines, or uneven skin tone, you may want to consider changing your diet. Your skin can be heavily influenced by what you eat; fried foods, sodas, and processed sugars are notoriously bad for one’s skin. If you want a glowing, healthy complexion, try incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet. They contain antioxidants, like Vitamin C and Vitamin A, which help increase collagen and cell turnover. If you strive to minimize fine lines, wrinkles, or acne, be sure to drink plenty of water for clear skin with perfect elasticity.
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