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The Truth about Clean Eating and Superfoods

tossing a salad

Xsandra/iStock

In this Article:

  • Clean eating is simply eating whole, natural foods.
  • Eating clean also means cutting back on processed foods.
  • Superfoods are whole foods packed with vitamins, minerals, and other key nutrients.

Ready to start eating right, but not sure where to begin? You can build healthy eating habits by eating “clean” and adding superfoods to your diet.

What Is Clean Eating?

Clean eating means eating foods in their most natural form possible. It’s as simple as adding more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats to your diet. It also means cutting back on processed or refined foods, added sugar, and unhealthy fats.

Processed foods are foods that:

  • Have preservatives or enriched ingredients added, such as sugary cereal
  • Are changed from their natural form, such as potatoes to potato chips
  • Are manufactured, such as hot dogs

Not all processed foods found in a box, can, jar, or bottle are bad. Packaged foods, such as tuna, peanut butter, or beef jerky, can be healthy and easy to eat on the go.

The key to clean eating is filling your plate with healthy foods, like veggies, at every meal. But don’t worry, occasionally eating a candy bar or French fries won’t kill you.

What Are Superfoods?

Many whole foods are considered superfoods. While superfoods don’t have an official definition, they are foods that generally contain high levels of important vitamins and minerals and may help with some medical conditions. Many contain antioxidants, such as lycopene and vitamins A, C, and E, which improve mood and energy levels. Check out key nutrients and benefits for 10 common superfoods:

  • Almonds: Protein, fiber, and vitamin E.
    • Benefits: Lowers cholesterol, conserves energy, and repairs muscle damage.
  • Avocados: Folate, copper, potassium, and vitamins K, E, B6, and C.
    • Benefits: Helps intestines absorb nutrients from other fruits and veggies eaten, and keeps brain healthy.
  • Bananas: Potassium and fiber.
    • Benefits: Lowers blood pressure, reduces heart disease, aids in digestion, and prevents muscle cramps.
  • Blueberries: Fiber and vitamin C.
    • Benefits: Protects against prostate cancer, heart disease, and urinary tract infections.
  • Eggs: Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.
    • Benefits: Reduces inflammation and boosts memory.
  • Oatmeal: Magnesium, manganese, and zinc.
    • Benefits: Lowers cholesterol, helps ease constipation, and promotes weight loss.
  • Spinach: Protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, and K.
    • Benefits: Protects against cancer, eye disease, and heart disease, and aids in digestion.
  • Tomatoes:
    • Benefits: Protects cells from damage, thus fighting cancer and heart disease. Even more powerful when paired with avocados.
  • Turkey: Protein, iron, and zinc.
    • Benefits: Regulates sleep and mood.
  • Greek Yogurt: Calcium, vitamin D, and probiotics.
    • Benefits: Supports strong bone health and helps digestion.

Clean eating starts with making one small change to your diet and repeating it so it becomes a habit. For example, swap out soda for water during lunch one day this week. Next week, swap soda for water during two meals, and so on. Add a second small change by eating one veggie every day. Then, up it to two veggies a day. Before you know it, you will be eating clean!

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