It’s important to take the time to remind ourselves that being healthy should be at the top of our resolution list. Nutrition is the key to assuring the success of a healthy body. A body with vitality, energy, and strength is one that has a well-rounded nutritional balance.
What follows is a list of reminders and suggestions of nutritional benefits that you can easily implement into your lifestyle. Perhaps some of them will be things that you have always wanted to pursue or give a try.
Cutting the sugar out of your diet may not be the easiest thing, but it isn’t impossible. The body craves sugar, and the more it has the more it wants. Author William Duffy in his book Sugar Blues explains that when Grandma used to tell her children not to have sweets before dinner because it will ruin their appetite, she wasn’t far off.(1)
Duffy explains that even a teaspoon of sugar in a cup of coffee or tea is enough to ferment one’s stomach. This fermentation has a profound effect on the body and impairs digestion.
In essence eating sugar causes the blood sugar levels to rise, which causes a spike in the body’s insulin level.(2) Some side effects to ingesting sugar include mood-swings, premenstrual syndrome, and obesity.(3)
Refined sugars, as well as simple sugars, like honey, maple syrup, and fruit juices are all included in the category of sugar. Stay away from imitation and substitutes for sugar.
While sugar substitutes may promise an alternative to sugar, switching to chemicals and additives can be just as harmful.
One natural alternative that is available on the market is Stevia. This plant, whose leaves produce a taste thirty times sweeter than sugar, and is available at most health food stores.
Cutting sugar from your diet will also alleviate feelings of fatigue. It is best to go cold turkey when eliminating sugar, since even a little in your diet will cause cravings, and cravings lead to more sugar.
Apple Per Day
It has been said that eating an apple a day will keep the doctor away. One of the reasons for this is that the apple helps with digestion.
One alternative to eating an apple every day is to supplement your diet with apple cider vinegar.
An old folk remedy for common ailments, apple cider vinegar works in the body as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal while boosting the body’s immune system.(4)
Some studies suggest that apple cider vinegar has a beneficial effect on those who suffer from arthritis, urinary tract infections, and high blood pressure. According to the Herbal Healer Academy, apple cider vinegar can help the body lose weight.
They sell an apple cider vinegar capsule which offers a quick and efficient way of taking it. Their website boasts the fact that apple cider vinegar is made with apples that contain pectin, “a soluble fiber which binds to cholesterol globules and pulls them out of the body.”(5)
In addition to removing harmful metals from the body, the Herbal Healer Academy explains on their website that apple cider vinegar works “twenty-four hours a day to help your body remove unwanted fat.” Apple cider vinegar can be used regularly on salads as well.
Take Your Vitamins
The food we eat today doesn’t offer us the same nutritional value as it did years ago. One of the reasons for this is the lack of nutrients in the soil our food is grown in.
If the soil lacks the vitamins and nutrients, so too will the product grown. In addition, many cooking practices also eliminate the valuable nutrients from the food. To supplement this loss, we need to take vitamins to ensure a proper intake of vitamins and nutrients.
To begin, you should at least add a multi-vitamin to your diet. Choose one that does not contain dyes and fillers, and make sure your vitamins are tested for containments like yeasts, coatings, dyes, preservatives, molds, and rancidities.
Also, if you prefer to stay away from animal products, you should look for vitamins that are encased in a vegetable capsule as opposed to a gelatin capsule, which is bovine in origin.
In addition to a multi-vitamin, Vitamin C works as an antioxidant in the body, which essentially assists in detoxifying the body.
Flax seed oil is also a good addition to one’s diet. It is rich in Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids, which have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular and immune systems.
According to a member of the Vital Nutrient staff, a vitamin manufacturer in the US, “Flax oil can also help keep cholesterol levels down.” Flax oil can be taken as a tablet or used as a salad dressing. Here is an easy recipe to get you started.
This resolution list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the benefits of exercise. If the thought of exercising makes you tired, then think in terms of doing something small to begin with.
Getting together with friends or family at the end of the day to go for a neighborhood walk is a great way to start exercising. The fresh air and increase of circulation will help clean toxins from the body.
If walking solo you can listen to Qur’an, music or an audio book. Joining a gym isn’t always an option for some people. As an alternative to the gym, look for items around your home that you can use to exercise with.
For instance, your stairs can double as a Stair-master, several books can work as arm weights, and a sofa can serve as a brace for your feet to do sit-ups. There is also a variety of online videos that are designed to assist in the home workout.
The important thing is to get out there and do it! Just remember all the wonderful benefits of exercise: it increases muscle strength, lowers blood pressure, increases the blood supply to the muscles, reduces heart risks, and aids in digestion, only to name a few.(7)
Importance of Water
Most of us have heard the popular saying that pleads with us to drink eight 8 oz glasses of water a day, but most of us rarely do. Water is the most important ingredient you can add to your diet.
Water cleans the surface of each cell in the body. The more water you drink, the cleaner the cells are, the more likely your body will fight off disease.
Dehydration is very common in people who do not drink enough water. Sometimes the body will feel hungry, when in fact it is really dehydrated. One way to test this theory is to drink a glass of water the next time you are hungry.
Not only will it make the hunger pains go away, but it will hydrate your body. Drinking other beverages like coffee or soda does not necessarily hydrate the body. In some cases, it can do the opposite.
Some recommendations for drinking water are to drink a glass of water first thing in the morning to flush your system.(8) Don’t wait until you are thirsty; rather drink every couple of hours.(9)
I recommend you bring your water in glass bottles, as plastic bottles have been known to leech toxins into the water. The best thing you can do for your nutritional health this year is to increase the amount of water you drink.
You owe it to yourself to eat the best food. “Best” meaning it is free of preservatives, waxes, pesticides, additives, genetic modifications, and filled with optimal nutrients for proper nutrition.
Organic food is food that offers products free from the above, and often supports local agriculture and small businesses committed to delivering a safe product.
Organic farmers often use mineral rich soil to grow their products in, which in turn ultimately passes the benefits on to the consumer. Some people assume organic foods are more expensive, but that is not always the case. Some of the prices are equal to or less than non-organic foods, and yes, some products are more expensive.
The importance is the quality and knowing that what you’re eating is as close to the way nature intended it. Another alternative to eating healthier is to grow your own food. There are several organic seed companies on the net available to assist you in purchasing non-genetically modified seeds.
Even if you live in a tiny apartment in the city, you can still plant a small window box with a few vegetables. Herbs are great as indoor plants and are great additions to meals. Empower yourself, and eat healthy!
Last but not Least
Last but not least keep a positive attitude. There are many studies available that show the detrimental effects of negative thoughts and attitudes. Take time out for yourself.
Native American Sun Bear once said, “You are what you think.” In other words, if you think you are sick, you will be sick, and likewise, if you think you are healthy you will be healthy, (at least most of the time!).
This article is from Science’s archive and we’ve originally published it on an earlier date.
(1) Duffy, William. “Sugar Blues” (New York: Time Warner Books, 1975). Pg 180-181.
(2) Murray Michael, N.D., & Pizzorno, Joseph, N.D.. “Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine.” Revised, 2nd ed. (USA: Prima Publishing, 1998).Pg. 53.