What is the best processed food

10 simple rules: clean eating and the secret to a healthy bowel

Eat healthy: Clean Eating relies on unprocessed foods, fresh cooking and fewer additives. We'll tell you how it works and why eating "clean" is so healthy, even if you have intolerance.

What does clean eating mean?

Good for us, good for the environment: everyone is talking about clean eating. “Eating clean and pure”, as one could translate it, is by no means a new diet trend, but a well-known nutritional philosophy with a modern twist: healthy whole foods. In principle, this makes clean eating suitable for anyone who takes the trend as an opportunity to think about the quality and consistency of their food. Above all, you relieve your intestines by doing without finished products and additives.

The basic principle: As little industrially processed food as possible, no ready meals, no fast food, no calorie counting. Instead, buy unpackaged regionally and seasonally and cook fresh. In short: don't eat anything your grandma didn't know before. It is not without reason that intolerance and allergies have increased significantly in recent years.

That is why clean eating helps the intestines with intolerances

Hardly anyone knows what our intestinal mucosa does for us by channeling nutrients from our food into the body for us. However, it is not only exposed to these positive ingredients. Day in and day out, she comes into contact with harmful, sometimes toxic substances. These are:

  • Unwanted pollutants from the environment such as microplastics or plasticizers from packaging
  • Sweeteners such as saccharin, aspartame & Co., as well as artificial additives and flavor enhancers
  • Thickeners such as carrageenan (E407), which i.a. can be found in ketchup, pudding, heat-treated cream, and candy. Laboratory tests have shown that carrageenan can influence the cells of the immune system. Carrageenan is also suspected of damaging the cells of the intestinal mucosa.
  • Trans fatsfound in baked goods, convenience foods and fried foods can damage the intestinal cells. Caution: Unhealthy fats are also created if fats are heated too high in your own kitchen. Read more about it here
  • Also Medication like aspirin and ibuprofen can attack the cells of the intestinal lining.

If the intestinal mucous membrane is irritated or even damaged by undesirable substances from our food, permeability is impaired - the protective barrier against external influences is then missing. This fact is also known to conventional medical practitioners and ultimately it means nothing more than a "leaky gut", the term preferred by naturopaths. Put simply, the changed permeability of the mucous membrane creates a “holey intestine”.

Then irritating substances can easily penetrate the intestine. Micro-inflammation and changes in the intestinal mucosa occur. This, in turn, can lead to further food intolerance and absorption disorders of important micronutrients. An intact intestinal barrier prevents unwanted, irritating substances from entering our body. For this reason, a diet based on the model of clean eating can be beneficial for people with intolerance. Those who choose natural foods also promote a healthy microbiome and also know exactly what is in the food, which is especially important in the case of intolerance.

Depending on your intolerance, you probably have a list of foods that you should avoid. However, how much food is processed and whether it contains additives has often played far too little a role so far. Sweeteners or sugar, for example, are allowed according to many lists, depending on intolerance, but they are still harmful to health and have an unfavorable effect on the intestines. It is therefore best to adapt your list to these 10 rules of clean eating. Take into account your individual tolerance and leave out what does not suit you.

Eat healthy and "pure" - this is how it works:

1. Fresh fruit and vegetables - regional and seasonal

Fresh fruit and vegetables form the basis of clean eating. Whether raw, cooked or steamed: in the vegetable department you can grab everything that the season has to offer - of course, adapted to your digestibility. Leave out what is harming you and your intestines. Seasonal fruit and vegetables have significantly more vitamins and trace elements than artificially raised, unripe harvested and widely transported food.

To get a feel for seasonal foods, it is worth visiting a farm shop or weekly market on a regular basis. Here you can get regional and mostly seasonal fruit and vegetables, some also in Organic quality. In this way you often come across unknown or previously less noticed varieties such as black salsify, parsnips or gooseberries and can add new, healthy products to your menu. And instead of exotic superfoods such as goji berries or chia seeds, there are local rose hips, blueberries or flax seeds. Seasonal calendars for fruit, vegetables and salads also offer quick orientation.

2. The more natural the better - little packaging, hardly any plastic

If possible, use natural foods: the less processed, the better and healthier. Products without packaging and plastic - such as fresh vegetables and fruit - are of course at the top of the list. In the case of packaged foods, the length of the list of ingredients provides an important indication of the degree of processing. Even with identical products there are big differences: While one oat milk consists of just three ingredients, another has over ten. Even bread, cheese, and salt can contain many unnecessary additives.

3. No artificial additives, colors or flavors

Clean eating also includes products in which Colourants, preservatives and flavorings are stuck, to be removed from the menu. Whether spreads, margarine or bread: Here, too, a look at the ingredients reveals how many additives stabilize, preserve or color the food. Flavor enhancers such as glutamate also distort the perception of satiety and taste.

4. Regular meals

Many of us have lost our natural feeling of satiety. In order to bring hunger and satiety back into balance, regular meals are very important in clean eating. We should eat at recurring times as daily as possible. Because our body - and even our digestion - adjust to these times. Hunger and satiety work better and cravings don't even occur. Decide whether you can cope best with three meals a day in the classic way, or eat within a certain time window, as with intermittent fasting - regularity is important. Even though we now know that too many snacks a day are unfavorable for our metabolism: There is no rigid rule as to how many meals a day are individually good for us. Clean eating pioneer and nutritionist Tosca Reno eats up to six small meals throughout the day. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for you.

But you should also listen to your body at breakfast: if you are hungry in the morning, you should have breakfast. If, on the other hand, you have little appetite after getting up, you shouldn't force yourself to eat.

No breakfast: healthy or not?

5. Combine complex carbohydrates with protein

More variety on the plate instead of one-sided nutrition: Protein sources such as milk, soy products, fish, lean meat or legumes should be combined with complex carbohydrates from potatoes or whole grain products such as whole grain bread or pasta. Not only do they regulate the metabolism, the mix also ensures a well-rounded taste experience.

6. Pay attention to healthy fats, no trans fats

With a healthy diet it comes among other things. also on the choice of fats. Especially so-called are considered healthy "Good" fats that have an anti-inflammatory effect and are rich in unsaturated fatty acids. They provide the body with components that it cannot produce itself, which is why they are also referred to as essential fatty acids. Many unsaturated fatty acids can be found in fish such as salmon or sardine, for example. Cold-pressed rapeseed, linseed or olive oils are also very good sources. You can find out which oil is best for which purposes here.

Saturated fats from animal products or coconut oil are not unhealthy per se. What counts here is a healthy amount - and the quality. Meat and dairy products from animals that eat natural foods such as grass have healthier fat compositions.

In any case, avoid the heavily processed hydrogenated fats, the so-called Trans fats. They can often be found in croissants, margarine and chips - refer to the ingredients list of the respective products for instructions.

Fit with fat: These fats and oils have health potential

7. Less table salt, more herbs

Sodium chloride, better known as table salt, is an important mineral for our body: It regulates the water balance, the tissue tension and is the basis for the excitability of nerves and muscles. As a mineral, salt also plays an important role in bone structure and digestion.

However, many people eat more salt than necessary. Too much salt can damage the kidneys and heart. If we ingest too much salt, it is mainly excreted through the kidneys, which is associated with a not insignificant loss of water. Therefore, consuming too much salt can put strain on the kidneys in the long run.

You should therefore use salt as sparingly as possible when eating clean, especially chemically refined salts. Refined salts often contain “trickling aids” as additives. Natural crystal or sea salt can do without them.

This also means: omit nibbles and packaged goods such as sausage or cheese! Large amounts of salt are also hidden here. For the necessary seasoning it is better to use fresh herbs of all kinds. We have put together healthy alternatives to salt for you here.

8. Avoid empty calories - omit sugar

Industrial, refined sugar is found in almost every industrially processed food and is therefore consumed in far too high quantities. While sugar is high in calories, it has no real nutritional value. Its simple carbohydrates are also hidden behind aliases such as maltodextrin or dextose. In addition to finished products, by the way, also where they are not suspected, such as in sausages. The same applies to white flour, which also only supplies us with empty calories and puts a strain on the metabolism.

If you still want it to be sweet, there are sugar alternatives such as coconut blossom sugar (in organic quality).

Just replace the sugar with a sweetener? No calories, no effect on blood sugar - that sounds good at first. And the stronger the desire for less sugar, the greater the call for alternatives. But Sweeteners are not a healthy substitute for sugar. They are an all-round artificial product that it is best to avoid completely. Sweeteners such as aspartame are not only suspected of triggering cravings. Studies on possible harmful health effects appear again and again. And: sweeteners also change our perception of sweetness. The extreme artificial sweetness can trigger a growing craving for sweet foods, while we no longer perceive the natural sweetness of fruit.

9. Drink enough water every day

Water is an essential element of the clean eating philosophy. With plenty of water a day, you provide your body with sufficient fluid, which it can use optimally to metabolize the nutrients.

How much water each of us should drink, however, is individual. Here is a simple rule of thumb that tells each of us how much water we need: Properly hydrated: This is how much water you should drink a day

On the other hand, you should avoid alcohol and only drink it in small quantities.

10. Eat consciously, be aware of individual intolerances

Many of us have since forgotten how to listen to our guts. We often eat far too quickly and hardly take time to eat. When the feeling of fullness sets in, we have often eaten far more than necessary.

Eating slowly not only increases the enjoyment and attention to the prepared food, it also gives the body the opportunity to signal in good time: "I am full".

It is better to prepare small portions that you eat whole than a large plate that you always eat empty out of habit. And listen to yourself: Am I really still hungry or am I perhaps already full?

Eating consciously also includes: Listen to what is good for you and what is not. Not every food that is healthy in itself is equally digestible for everyone. If whole wheat or red cabbage gives you stomach upsets, it is not doing yourself any good. A healthy diet must always be easy to digest - and of course, above all, taste good!

Photo credit: Iryna-Melnyk / Shutterstock.com