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The Benefits of Clean Eating

The world of health and nutrition constantly changes every day. We commonly hear new information circulating about different diet trends and ways to improve overall health.

Whether you choose to follow a specific diet, choose to eat intuitively, or simply choose to enjoy every type of food, one thing remains; regardless of any diet you are on, you can always eat clean.

 

Meal Prep healthy food

 

The clean eating diet has been trending for years; therefore, most people have heard of it, but may not be aware of the profound health benefits this way of eating can have not only on the body but also on the mind.

Especially now, during a time when we may be experiencing additional stress and anxiety, it is important that we put our health first. Simply by incorporating small changes to our diets, clean eating can be attained which will benefit us all during this time.

 

Variety of healthy vegetables

How to Eat Clean

Consume As Many Whole Foods as Possible

Focus on consuming as many whole foods as possible in our meals and limiting packaged or processed foods. Whole foods allow the inclusion of more fruits, vegetables, and nuts into our diets which are our body’s main sources of micronutrients.

  • Recent research indicates that higher intakes of fruits and vegetables, rich in micronutrients such as Vitamins A, C, and E, have been associated with better mental health through reducing depressive thoughts while improving positive thoughts - something we could all use right now.
  • Additionally, micronutrients help keep our immune systems healthy, reduce inflammation, fight off free radicals in the body, and keep our hearts healthy!

 

Healthy smoothie with fruits next to it

Prepare Healthy Snacks

Next time you are hungry or feeling a craving for something not so “clean”, reach for a snack full of antioxidants, fiber, and micronutrients such as a piece of fruit with nut butter, a smoothie, or veggies and hummus!

While this time in our lives may increase anxiety and stress levels due to the uncertainty of the future, your health and nutrition are things that you can control. Fueling your day with whole foods rich in essential nutrients will help reduce your stress, improve your sleep, and regulate appetite.

 

Clean Eating Recipe: Almond Quinoa Bites

Almond Quinoa Bites recipe

Get with your family, and try making these simple, almond quinoa bites for a make-ahead clean eating snack! When reaching for a snack, just think to yourself – Simple is always best and the fewer ingredients, the better. Just as we do here at Rise Bar.

* Makes about 16 small bites)
● ½ c cooked quinoa
● ½ c creamy almond butter
● ¼ c honey
● 3 tbsp. hemp seeds
● 2 tbsp. chia seeds
● ¼ c sunflower seeds
● ¼ c dried cranberries
● 1 tsp cinnamon
*Mix all ingredients together, place in a mini muffin pan, and freeze for about 4-6 hours. Best kept chilled.

 

References:
1. Brookie, Kate L., et al. “Intake of Raw Fruits and Vegetables Is Associated With Better Mental Health Than Intake of Processed Fruits and Vegetables.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 9, 2018, DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00487.
2. Ji, Xiaopeng, et al. “The Relationship between Micronutrient Status and Sleep Patterns: a Systematic Review.” Public Health Nutrition, vol. 20, no. 4, 2016, pp. 687–701., DOI:10.1017/s1368980016002603.

 

Author: Karli McCarthy
Cal Poly, SLO Nutrition Student
@kale_n_it_karli 

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