While the most popular reason people turn to clean eating is to lose weight, there are actually many other health benefits. No matter what your health goals are, clean eating is definitely a positive lifestyle change that can benefit your quality of life.
1. Reduces risk of non-infectious diseases
Non-infectious or non-communicable diseases include obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, and some types of cancer. As clean eating involves incorporating more fruits and vegetables in the diet, there will be an increased consumption in bioactive compounds. These compounds bring about a positive impact on human health, such as reducing the risk of these diseases as well as slowing down the process of ageing.
Bioactive compounds sound really science-y but they’re actually things like vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants. All the good stuff we associate with fruits and vegetables! This study showed how increased consumption of common fruits and vegetables like apples, berries, pumpkin, and many more can have great health protecting effects.
2. May support better brain health
Many epidemiological studies conducted have proven that a higher consumption of a combination of fruits, vegetables, and nuts is beneficial for our cognitive health - or brain function. This is again thanks to the many nutrients and phytochemicals found in these foods. There has also been increasing evidence showing that a variety of these nutrients and phytochemicals can help prevent age-related decline of brain and neurological function.
Fish and seafood also contain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are beneficial in supporting brain growth and development.
3. Can help you achieve a healthy weight
As clean eating involves incorporating more whole foods and limiting processed foods, naturally your intake of ‘empty calories’ will decrease. Empty calories are foods that are energy dense but provide no nutritional value - such as sugar-sweetened beverages or commercial packaged snacks. Whole foods like fruits contain dietary fibre, and lean meat is high in protein. Both fibre and protein help with satiety so you are more likely to feel full and less likely to overeat on packaged snacks high in calories. A diet high in fibre can also help with digestion and prevent you from feeling bloated.
Whether your goal is to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, a diet rich in nutritious whole foods and low in processed foods can definitely help.
4. Feel better with increased energy
Yes, ‘sugar highs’ are real. Only that they always follow up with a ‘sugar crash’ that leaves you feeling tired and sluggish. This is common with refined foods and processed foods that have lots of added sugar and fat. These foods are digested quicker so they give you the short burst of energy that does not last long.
With clean eating, you’ll be including more unrefined foods like brown rice and whole grains, and whole foods like fruits and vegetables. These foods are digested in the body slower, so you’ll get a gradual release in energy that will last longer throughout the day instead of that energy spike. This will definitely help improve your productivity at work!
5. Build a healthy immune system
Clean eating involves a diet filled with many different whole, fresh foods. This ensures that you get a wide variety of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed for a strong and healthy immune system. Some of the vitamins and minerals particularly important in supporting the immune system include vitamin A, C, and zinc, which can be found in fruits, vegetables, and lean meat.
Eating a rainbow of nutritious foods can definitely help prevent you from getting sick more often so you can work and play more efficiently!
6. A stronger body
Part of clean eating includes having high-quality protein like lean meat. Protein is essential for building and repairing body muscle and tissue. Besides the usual chicken, lean red meat, and fish, protein can also be found in plant-based foods like spinach, chickpeas, chia seeds, and quinoa. Make the most of your workout and strengthen those muscles with clean eating!
7. Improve your mental health and wellbeing
Besides being good for your physical health, clean eating can also support good mental health. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna have been proven to improve symptoms of mental disorders such as depression. B vitamins found in meat, fruits, and dark leafy greens help with the release of our feel-good chemicals brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin. Eating the right food can boost your mood to help you feel good!
8. A happier, healthier family
If your child is at the growing and development stage, it is important to instill healthy habits that they will take with them into adulthood. Besides the health benefits clean eating can bring in the long term, it can also be a great learning and bonding experience. From cooking in the kitchen together, to learning about the world of nutrition through various foods, there are many ways that clean eating can bring the family to good health and happiness.
Adlyn Abdul Halim
Grosso, G., Galvano, F., Marventano, S., Malaguarnera, M., Bucolo, C., Drago, F., & Caraci, F. (2014, March 18). Omega-3 fatty acids and depression: Scientific evidence and biological mechanisms. Retrieved July 21, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3976923/
Kovačević, D. B., Brdar, D., Fabečić, P., Barba, F. J., Lorenzo, J. M., & Putnik, P. (2020). Strategies to achieve a healthy and balanced diet: Fruits and vegetables as a natural source of bioactive compounds. Agri-Food Industry Strategies for Healthy Diets and Sustainability, 51-88. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-817226-1.00002-3
Miller, M. G., Thangthaeng, N., Poulose, S. M., & Shukitt-Hale, B. (2017). Role of fruits, nuts, and vegetables in maintaining cognitive health. Experimental Gerontology, 94, 24-28. doi:10.1016/j.exger.2016.12.014