In a society obsessed with quick fixes, many Americans turn to “cleansing” or “detox” diets to flush out their systems and help rejuvenate their bodies. Unfortunately, these diets provide a false sense of health security with no scientific evidence to back radical claims; they receive no support from the American Dietetic Association. I recommend instead to adopt a “clean” way of eating that is scientifically proven to improve overall health and performance. Here on some ways to eat “clean.”
The Dirty Dozen
- Bell peppers
The “Cleaner” Side
- Sweet peas
- Sweet potatoes
Choose foods with a short and recognizable ingredient list. Food items whose ingredient lists write out like novels generally contain chemicals and preservatives to maintain shelf life. Opt for items that have fewer than 10 ingredients—all of which you are familiar with.
Consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Whole fruits and vegetables are hydrating and rich in dietary fiber, thus serving as an efficient means to maintain a healthy colon. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that the pigments in colorful fruits and vegetables help to reduce inflammation in our body, which is a major culprit of compromised immune function and chronic disease. For tips to help you eat more of these each day, visit fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov.
Cut back on pesticide exposure by buying organic or “clean” produce. According to the Environmental Working Group (foodnews.org), which analyzes testing data conducted by the USDA and FDA, consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80 percent by choosing organic for the most commonly contaminated fruits and vegetables, a.k.a. “the dirty dozen.”
Focus on whole rather than stripped grains. Grains are the seeds of plants; when in whole form, they contain the bran, germ and endosperm, all of which contain valuable nutrients, including dietary fiber, essential for colon health. According to recent research in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, however, few people are actually consuming the recommended three daily servings and instead are consuming more refined grains stripped of one or more parts of the plant. For more on boosting whole grain intake, visit wholegrainscouncil.org