Nutrition is a vital part of good health, and with the current epidemics of obesity and heart disease being experienced in the United States, Americans need to begin “thinking outside the coffin” to prolong life and avoid early disease or death. The following are some quick tips on how to jump-start your health and stay ahead of the pervasive toxicity that surrounds us.

1. Eliminate trans fats from your diet. One of the best health measures you can do for yourself this year is to eliminate all man-made trans fats from your diet. These make you fatter, and it takes about three months to get these bad fats to metabolize out of your body.

Obesity is now a disease, and we need to think outside the coffin. One thing that clearly contributes to early death is the consumption of bad fats—like trans fats—in foods such as snacks, prepackaged foods, margarine, deep-fried foods, and French fries.

There is no safe level of trans fats in your diet. They interfere with fat metabolism, which is essential to health—our bodies cannot naturally process these artificial fats. You need good fats for your skin, hair, nails, arteries, immune system, and hormones. You can get these from essential fatty acids found in fish oil, eggs, nuts and seeds, sunflower and olive oils, and poultry.

The food industry uses trans fats to prolong the shelf life of packaged products. Keep in mind that if a product does not decompose, it probably shouldn’t be eaten!

2. Boycott monosodium glutamate, aspartame, and high fructose corn syrup. One of the contributing causes of obesity is the consumption of corn products like corn chips, corn dogs, and all high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) products. HFCS is in abundance in sodas, packaged sushi, cookies, yogurt, and many processed foods. The key is to read the labels.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) products and aspartame are toxic to the brain. They are considered excitotoxins. These products excite or vibrate the brain neurons to death. MSG adds flavoring to many products such as Ramen noodle soups. Aspartame is a known carcinogen found in products like diet sodas and—unbelievably—popular children’s vitamins.

Anyone trying to lose weight, or anyone suffering from tremors because of diseases like parkinsonism, multiple sclerosis, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, should be off these products immediately and completely. You may need to be detoxed from these substances if they have compromised your health.

3. Supplement with omega-3 fish oils. A tremendous benefit to promoting and supporting good overall health is fish oil (omega-3) essential fatty acid (EFA) supplementation. EFAs are found in flaxseeds, nuts, and avocados. Omega-3s are great for children with learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, self-destructive behavior, and oppositional defiance disorders and for adults with chronic pain, disc herniation, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, Alzheimer’s, colitis, multiple sclerosis, asthma, allergies, dermatitis, psoriasis, inflammation, and depression. Omega-3s are critical for proper brain and nervous system function. Fish oils work because they contain the two unsaturated flexible fatty acids—eicosapentaenoic and docosahexanoic—that comprise all our cell membranes and influence a variety of other cellular functions.

Eating fish (sockeye salmon, wild Atlantic salmon, cod liver, tuna) may be another way of incorporating these oils into the diet. You just cannot eat enough of it, though, and therefore supplementation is strongly recommended. The safest form is a pharmaceutical grade omega-3 fish oil. In addition, minerals provide for proper absorption and utilization of the omega-3 oils in addition to improving heart function.1

4. Drink plenty of good-quality water. Water is the elixir of life! Simply put, your body requires water to function as it was designed. It is a good idea to have bottled spring water delivered to your home. It’s more economical, about five dollars for a five-gallon jug. Get a stainless steel or high-density plastic container to hold your water from a local health food store. It will have a number 7 on the bottom encircled by a triangle. This type of container will prevent leaching of plastic into the drinking water. Drinking water should be at room temperature—not ice cold.

There is a proverb that states that you can never clean dirty water. The tap water you receive has probably gone through several commodes before you reconsume the water. Tap water for consumption should generally be avoided. There can be a certain level of arsenic, chlorine, fluoride, lead, and total dissolved solids or impurities in tap water. Your shower should also have a filter to help remove chlorine—otherwise, your body will become a sponge for these contaminants. Also, drinking distilled water for long periods of time may rob your body of good minerals.

If you are trying to lose weight and are hooked on sodas, switch to a sparkling water to wean yourself away from sugared drinks and aspartame. The carbonation in sparkling water still has to be processed by your body but is much better than soda. Eventually, get off the sparkling water and begin drinking spring water.

5. Start a heart healthy diet. Major hospitals are constantly building specialized wings to take care of heart patients. We all know that the number one killer today is heart disease. However, with all our technology, we are not able to keep our citizens out of the hospital, and we cannot keep them from having a sudden death heart attack. We have little control over our family history but have the power to choose a diet that is heart healthy.

Typically, heart patients are told to go on a low-fat diet and eliminate salt. The body, however, needs fat, especially healthy fats like omega-3 essential fatty acids. It is the trans fats (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated) that are dangerous for human consumption. Again, there are no safe levels of these fats!

A heart healthy diet should be the healthiest diet in the world—the Mediterranean diet (try a sampling of a Greek salad) coupled with the blood type diet. A sample of the Mediterranean diet may include asparagus, broccoli, carrots, feta cheese, garlic cloves, chicken breasts, extra virgin olive oil, olives, red wine, brown rice, spinach, tomatoes, tuna, turkey, fresh fruits and vegetables, balsamic vinegar, walnuts, onions, and mushrooms. A sample of the blood type diet is best resourced in Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo’s book Live Right 4 Your Type.2 Look up your specific blood type, and see which foods are most compatible with your makeup.

Your diet should also include good spring water, Celtic sea salt, whole food nutrition that helps repair the heart and circulatory system, CoQ-10, bioflavonoids, fruits, veggies, B complex, and an omega-3 supplement, like a fish oil or a tablespoon of raw flax oil daily. Avoid synthetic, man-made fractionated vitamins. These will do more harm than good. Avoid smoking, and minimize alcohol. Of course, an exercise routine of yoga, Qigong, or Tai Chi is always heart healthy, as is frequent infrared sauna usage with supervision.

We are slowly killing ourselves with our poor food choices. There is a natural solution. We should not feel that we have a death sentence of lifelong heart medication. Most of the medications deplete vital minerals and nutrients. We do not need bigger hospital wings, special heart walks, or more contributions for heart research—we simply need to make whole food nutrition our mainstay diet.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health”, visit http://selfgrowth.com/healthbook3.html

Author's Bio: 

Dr. James E. Hicks graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a bachelor of science degree and graduated with a doctorate degree from Cleveland Chiropractic College. While in the U.S. Army Reserves, he became a certified U.S. Army master fitness trainer. Dr. Hicks has been the clinical director of Hicks Chiropractic & Healing Arts Center in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, since 2000. He has specialized and advanced training in whiplash and spinal trauma, auricular therapy, acupuncture, detoxification, nutritional and laser therapies, and pain management in the treatment of compulsive disorders and addictions, treatment for balance and dizziness disorders, and metabolic stress and nutritional assessments. Visit http://www.doctorhicks.com.