28 May Spring Cleaning for Your Body
By Stephanie Perruzza, MS, RD, Contributing Blogger
Spring is in the air, and boy have I been busy! Among other things, my spring-cleaning checklist includes: de-cluttering my closet (tougher than it sounds), my kitchen, my pantry, my desk, but most importantly my body. Yes, that’s right! Your body certainly deserves to be healthy and happy, so why not spend a little time this season focusing on what you put in it?
Change Your Cuisine: Eat Clean
Being healthy involves eating healthy, and the best way to start is focusing on eating fresh, wholesome and nutritious foods. “Clean eating” is the concept of consuming whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins instead of processed foods and refined sugars. Though it’s been around since the 1960’s, it has recently gained a lot of attention.
This lifestyle is a foundation to promote healthier food choices without the need for strict rules and guidelines. “Clean” foods contain many essential vitamins, minerals and fiber, providing plenty of nutrients to help keep your body full and energized. By eating “clean”, you avoid high amounts of processed, sugary and refined foods, which are higher in calories and tend to be less nutritious.
Research has shown that eating wholesome foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins can help decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and aid in weight control. Eating whole foods can also help boost your immune and liver function and improve energy levels, helping you maintain optimal health.
Spring into Clean Eating
Clean eating is what you make of it. The more wholesome foods you choose to eat, the greater the benefits. Here are 5 wholesome foods to add to your diet this season:
These little flowers are rich in vitamin C providing about 20% of the recommended daily value per 1 medium artichoke. It is also considered a good source of iron with 16% the daily recommended value. Artichokes also contain the flavonoid silymarin, which may help boost liver function. Look for ones with tight leaves and clean, freshly cut stems.
These dark purple powerhouses are rich in folate providing 37% of the recommended daily value per 1 cup. They also contain the phytonutrient betalin, shown to have anti-inflammatory and detoxification properties. Beets are usually eaten raw in salads or can be roasted or boiled to enhance their sweet flavor. If you do roast or boil, only do so for 15 minutes to prevent loss of nutrients.
This red-hot sweet or sour “super-fruit” is now in its peak season. Cherries are a good source of fiber providing 13% of the recommended daily value in 1 cup. They also contain the phytonutrient anthocyanin, which is thought to help reduce inflammation.
This sweet, licorice-like flavored bulb is most often associated with the popular Mediterranean diet. All parts of this veggie can be eaten – the bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds.
This veggie (yes, it’s a veggie) is often presumed as a fruit because of its tart flavor making it best for dessert recipes. The stalks can only be eaten and contain modest amounts of potassium and vitamin C.
SO TELL ME: How will you focus on your body this season