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Simple Ways to Focus on Whole Foods Instead of Clean Eating

Eat more vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits are undeniably rich in nutrients.

They’re loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that help fight inflammation and protect your cells from damage

In fact, many large observational studies link high fruit and vegetable intake to a reduced risk of illnesses like cancer and heart disease (2Trusted Source3Trusted Source4Trusted Source5Trusted Source).

Fresh vegetables and fruits are ideal for clean eating, as most can be consumed raw immediately after picking and washing.

Choosing organic produce can help you reduce pesticide exposure, potentially boosting your health. Regardless, eating more fruits and vegetables, whether it be organic or conventional, is beneficial for your health when compared to eating them in limited quantities.

Here are some easy ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet:

  • Make your salads as colorful as possible, including at least three different vegetables in addition to greens.
  • Add fruits such as apples, strawberries, watermelon, grapes, or tangerines to your salad.
  • Top your oatmeal, cereal, or yogurt with berries, bananas, or plums.
  • Wash and chop veggies, toss them with olive oil and herbs, and place them in a container in your refrigerator for easy access.
  • Add spinach, kale, collards, or squash to your soups and stews.
  • Choose frozen or canned versions when cooking as they can be more affordable and make meal prep easier.

Limit processed foods

Ultra-processed foods have been linked to an increased risk of heart issues, so try to limit their consumption. These foods can contain added sugar, artificial colors, stabilizers, or preservatives. Examples include salty snacks like chips, packaged cookies, and fast food, which may have undergone chemical and physical processes

Most processed items have lost some of their fiber and nutrients but gained added sugars, sodium, and other ingredients meant to preserve them and make them taste more appealing

When reading labels, look for items with the least amount of added ingredients — especially ones that you don’t recognize. That includes items tagged “natural,” because even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that the term should mean nothing artificial or synthetic has been included or added to a food that wouldn’t normally be expected, that doesn’t include food production methods such as the use of pesticides.

Furthermore, the FDA doesn’t consider the term “natural” when describing nutritional or health benefits

Read labels

Although the idea behind clean eating is based on whole, fresh foods, certain types of packaged foods can be included, such as packaged vegetables, nuts, and meat.

However, it’s important to read labels to make sure there aren’t any preservatives, added sugars, or unhealthy fats.

For instance, many nuts are roasted in vegetable oil, which can expose them to heat-related damage. It’s best to eat raw nuts — or roast them on your own at a low temperature. Check the label and when you can, choose unsalted.

Additionally, prewashed salad mixes can save time but pay attention to the salad dressings some may include. Those could be high in salt, added sugars, and preservatives. If choosing to mix in the included salad dressing, consider using a quarter of to half the packet instead. Plus, keep them refrigerated and expoera by the date listed.

Limit refined carbs

Refined carbs are highly processed foods that tend to be low in nutrients.

Research has linked refined carb consumption to inflammation, insulin resistance, fatty liver, and obesity

In contrast, whole grains — which provide more nutrients and fiber — may reduce inflammation and promote better gut health

In one study involving 2,834 people, those who consumed mostly whole grains were less likely to have excess belly fat than those who focused on refined grains

If you eat grains, choose the least processed kinds, such as sprouted grain bread and steel-cut oats. Limit consumption of ready-to-eat cereals, white bread, and other refined carbs.

Choose oils and spreads wisely

Vegetable oils and margarine don’t meet the criteria for the original intent of clean eating.

For starters, they’re produced via chemical extraction, making them highly processed.

Some oils like soybean and corn oil contain high levels of the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid (LA), casinoclassicgames is an essential fatty acid. Some studies suggest that consuming too much linoleic acid and not enough of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), another essential fatty acid, could increase the risk of inflammation and obesity

While artificial trans fats have been banned in the United States and other countries, some margarine products and spreads may still contain small amounts. Plus, the FDA allows food manufacturers to list trans fats as 0 grams if the product contains less than 0.5 grams trans fat per serving.

Although limiting vegetable oils and spreads may offer some benefits, eating a moderate amount of healthy fats is essential. These include avocado, walnuts, and fatty fish, rich in omega-3s.

Furthermore, olive oil can be a good substitute as it offers health benefits such as helping to reduce inflammation.

Reduce your intake of added sugars

Limiting added sugar in your diet is vital. However, it’s common and found in foods you might not have thought of, such as sauces and condiments, so be sure to carefully review food labels to help in reducing your intake.

Both table sugar and high fructose corn syrup are high in fructose.

Studies suggest that this compound may play a role in obesity, diabetes, fatty liver, and certain types of cancer, among other health problem

However, if you have diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or similar health issues, you should speak with your doctor about alternate sweeteners.

Moreover, even natural sugar sources may contribute very little nutritional value.

7. Limit alcohol consumption

Alcohol is made by adding yeast to crushed grains, fruits, or vegetables and allowing the mixture to ferment.

Moderate intakes of certain types of alcohol — particularly wine — may boost your heart health

However, frequent alcohol consumption has been shown to promote inflammation and may contribute to a number of health problems, such as liver disease, digestive disorders, obesity, and excess belly fat (30

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