Eating clean becomes a necessity when you want to improve your physique and overall performance. You must have heard of this quote thousand times that training is 20% and diet is 80%. Well, we won't advocate it to be the ultimate advice, but yes, without a clean diet, it may be difficult to get to your desired body composition goals.
So, What is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is a concept that emphasizes on healthy, unprocessed and whole foods in your daily diet. The main idea here is to consume food items as close to their natural state as possible. These food items are healthy and provide the most significant nutritional benefits.
However, eating clean doesn't necessarily mean losing weight or extra fat around your tummy. Losing or putting on weight simply depends on your daily calorie intake. Consuming more than your maintenance calories will result in gaining weight/muscle and vice versa. But having a clean diet becomes necessary when you want to become healthier and active, and thus improve your body composition.
Apply these six tips in your daily life to incorporate clean eating and work towards your fitness goals.
Choose Whole Natural Foods
The fundamental concept of clean eating is to consume foods as close to their natural state as possible. So, instead of pre-packaged, boxed, or bagged items, go for freshly prepared, whole foods. For example, consider having chicken breasts over frozen meat and fresh fruits instead of packaged fruit juices. By avoiding highly processed potato chips, cookies, and ready-to-eat meals, you can prevent excess calorie, sugar, salt, and saturated fat intake.
Limit Your Sugar Intake
Regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay. We are not suggesting that you must completely abandon eating sugar at once because that is impossible, and your diet doesn't have to be torture. But try limiting the added sugar in any food items in your diet. Especially pay attention to the sugary drinks like sodas, fruit juices and colas as these are nothing but sugary water. Instead, try adding more fruits or make your own fruit juice at home as a replacement.
Add Fruits and Veggies to Your Diet
Vegetables and fruits are undeniably healthy. They’re loaded with fibre, vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that help fight inflammation and protect your cells from damage. Therefore, make sure to add 2-3 bowls of seasonal fruits and veggies to your daily diet to reap the maximum benefits. You would agree when it comes to fitness, then the very idea of a diet is a game changer, well almost. This is because, if you want to maximize your athletic performance then you must work on your meals around your workouts. Read this blog, Pre-Workout Meal And Post-Workout Meal: Why They Are Critical? You will be surprised to know how the pre-workout and post-workout meals impact your performance.
Cut Back on Unhealthy Fats
We all need some fat in our diet, but overeating – especially the wrong kinds - increases obesity, heart disease, and stroke risks. Trans fats made in factories are the most harmful to your health. A diet high in this type of fat has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease by about 30%. Therefore, strive to cut down on bad fats as much as possible in your regular diet.
Limit Your Alcohol and Caffeine Intake
Moderate consumption of certain forms of alcohol, notably wine, may be beneficial to your cardiovascular health. However, overindulging in it cannot be considered a component of a healthy and clean diet. Drinking excessively or too frequently raises your immediate danger of injury and increases your chance of long-term consequences such as liver damage, cancer, heart disease, and obesity. Furthermore, alcohol is nothing more than a waste of calories. For every ml of alcoholic beverage consumed, you consume seven empty calories that provide no nutritional value. To avoid this, keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum or eliminate it entirely from your lifestyle. Also read this interesting blog we have, Does Alcohol Affect Sports Performance? This blog is a guideline as to how you can enjoy your weekends with a drink, and yet, stay within the balance. Remember it may affect your fitness goals, so we have explained this entire topic in detail.
Sip More Water
Drinking water is the best thing you can do for your health. It does not include any additives, sugars, artificial sweeteners, or other potentially harmful substances. As a result, it is the purest beverage you can consume. Drinking water can help you stay hydrated and maintain a healthy weight. On the other hand, sugar-sweetened beverages have been consistently related to diabetes, obesity, and other disorders. Therefore, try having at least 10-12 glasses of water every day to keep your health problems at bay. And if you are serious fitness enthusiast, an athlete, bodybuilder then it’s advisable know the importance of hydration and how it helps your workouts. We have talked about hydration in our earlier blog, The Importance of Proper Hydration Before, During and After Working Out. Take a look.
The Bottom Line
Clean eating should be flexible and does not have to be bland at all. The only way you can stick to a specific diet is by making it enjoyable. Therefore, have fun with your diet and keep it interesting by adding new recipes now and then. Have that pastry that you have been craving for weeks. It is not a life sentence. But keep in mind that moderation is the key, and you never go overboard with anything.
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