CLEAN EATING: Four Ways To Improve Diet

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From what you eat to what you drink, there are ways people can improve their diets this year.

Hy-Vee Registered and Licensed Dietitian Heather Illg says, "There are a lot of different things people can do to eat healthier."

Illg says clean eating is becoming a trend in getting healthy. She says, "Taking the processed foods out of your diet, taking the chemicals out, eating more whole foods. For some people it also means greener eating, so local foods as well."

She provides four ways to clean up your diet. And she starts in the produce aisle. She says, "Most people are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. And, it would be really difficult to eat too many."

Five to nine servings are recommended. Leafy green vegetables will do the most to help your liver function properly and clean out toxins from food and the environment. Illg says, "Kale is becoming very popular, a dark green vegetable very curly.” She goes on to say, "The fresh beets are a nice option, again, because they have some nice components to naturally detoxify the liver. They're naturally very sweet too."

Illg says to choose organic when possible, if you're trying to make your diet cleaner. Also, cut out processed food. But, that doesn't mean you have to cut out convenience. She shows two taco seasoning packets and says, "We've got two pretty common items here, right? We're getting sort of the same function, putting a quick and easy meal on the table, but when you look at the ingredient list, they are significantly different."

Illg says to look for the shortest ingredient list and make sure you can pronounce everything on the package. She says, "Choose things you would have in your own kitchen. It may be a convenient processed food, but if it's something you would have in your own kitchen, and it saves you time, I like that idea."

Finally, think about what you drink. Stick to calorie free beverages, with no artificial sweeteners, like water and tea. Illg says, "Help your body help itself by staying properly hydrated."

Illg says adding probiotics can also help your body function at its best. One common place you’ll find those is in yogurt and Greek yogurt.