Eat fresh food whenever possible choosing from as many varieties of colour and flavour as possible. Try to have at least 10 different food choices a day: e.g. oats, nuts and seeds with banana and milk for breakfast; tuna or cheese or chicken with a salad of lettuce, green beans, tomatoes with a little vinaigrette dressing for lunch; then fish, potatoes, carrots, broccoli and peas for dinner. Already you will have had 12 different food sources and will have really given yourself a good variety of nutrients.
Chew your food really well. This is the first stage of digestion. Food which has not been properly chewed will take longer to digest. Many symptoms can be alleviated by increasing the amount of chewing before swallowing the food.
Drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day. This can be in the form of well diluted fruit or vegetable juices if you like. Fruit and herb teas make a good alternative too, or try a hot drink of boiled water with a slice of lemon or mint.
Avoid coffee and tea, which are diuretics and thus increase the amount of water eliminated from the body along with vital minerals.
Take the time to write a five-day food diary of everything you eat and drink. Identify how many varieties of food you are eating and see if there are any 'habit' foods. These are often the ones that can cause problems. If you have the same foods regularly in your diet, try to avoid them by using alternatives.
Avoid burned, browned and fried foods, hydrogenated vegetable fats and excessive animal fats. Burnt foods contain free radicals that can damage cells of the body. To minimise this damage, we need plenty of antioxidants found in vegetables and fruits.
Limit intake of sugar, processed food with chemical additives, and minimise your intake of alcohol, coffee and tea. It may be necessary occasionally to have a quick convenience meal, but these should not be a regular feature of your diet.
Enjoy some nuts and/or seeds daily to ensure an intake of essential fatty acids and aim to consume oily fish at least once a week to provide adequate levels of the omega 3 oils DHA and EPA. Try different cold pressed oils as a treat on salads; you can get pumpkin, walnut and flax seed oils easily in most health shops or supermarkets.
Make sure that you are getting sufficient fibre and water to keep the bowels moving well, with an optimal bowel motion occurring daily. If an individual is consistently having less than 3 bowel motions per week, or more than 3 per day, then this should be investigated. Fibre is easy to include in the diet by eating fruit, vegetables and whole grains like brown or wild rice, and whole wheat.
Take regular exercise. If you are not used to exercising you may wish to have a quick check-up with your GP. Many GP surgeries now have arrangements with local gyms to provide subsidised access to regain your health. Investigate what is available in your area, as health benefits will be derived from taking exercise as well as changes in diet. Don't underestimate this important fact. The right exercise can keep the joints supple, improve cardiovascular power and increase the rate at which fat is burned. There is increasing evidence that enhanced musculoskeletal fitness is associated with an improvement in overall health status and a reduction in the risk of chronic disease. Longitudinal studies have revealed that individuals with higher levels of muscular strength have fewer functional limitations, improved mobility, glucose homeostasis, bone health, psychological well-being and overall quality of life. In addition, they have statistically lower incidences of chronic diseases such as diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, arthritis and pulmonary disorders. Current evidence supports recommendations that resistance and flexibility training be performed at least twice per week to maintain functional status and enhance overall quality of life.