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In his book 'The Optimum Nutrition Bible' Patrick Holford lists his 'Top Ten Daily Diet Tips' for following a healthy diet:

1. Take 1 heaped tablespoon of ground seeds such as 'Forti-Flax' and/or 1-2 tablespoons of cold-pressed seed oil such as organic 'Flax Oil Complex' daily - see Essential Fatty Acids.

2. Have 2 servings of beans, lentils, quinoa, tofu (soya), or 'seed' vegetables.

3. Eat 3 pieces of fresh fruit such as apples, pears, bananas, berries, melon or citrus fruit.

4. Consume 4 servings of whole grains such as brown rice, millet, rye, oats, whole wheat, corn or quinoa as cereal, breads or pasta.

5. Aim to eat 5 servings of dark green, leafy and root vegetables such as watercress, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, green beans, peas and peppers.

6. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of filtered water plus diluted juices, herb or fruit teas.

7. Eat whole, organic, raw food as often as you can. Organic food is guaranteed to be free from pesticides and other contaminants.

8. You can add to your daily diet a high-strength Multi-Vitamin with antioxidants, an omega 3 Essential fatty Acid supplement and take 1000mg of vitamin C a day - see Vitamins.

9. Avoid fried, burnt and browned food, hydrogenated fat, trans fats and excess animal fat.

NB. Hydrogenated fat is produced through hydrogenation - the process used to turn liquid oil into solid fat. It is used in some biscuits, cakes, pastries, margarine and other processed foods. During this process trans fats can be formed which are harmful and have no known nutritional benefits. Like saturated (animal) fats trans fats raise levels of cholesterol in the blood and increase the risk of heart disease. Foods that contain hydrogenated fat (which is always declared in the ingredients list) may also contain trans fats. Trans fats may be more harmful to the health than saturated fats. Burnt and browned food potentially has carcinogenic (cancer-causing) properties.

10. Avoid any form of sugar, also white, refined or processed food with chemical additives, and minimise your intake of alcohol, coffee or tea - have no more than one unit of alcohol a day (e.g. a glass of wine, half a pint of beer or lager, or a spirit).

Other dietary and lifestyle considerations -

• Make sure that at least half your diet consists of raw fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

• Avoid processed food with additives, prepare your food from fresh ingredients, and do not over-cook food (steam or simmer instead of boil etc).

• Try 'The Optimum Nutrition Cookbook' by Patrick Holford - if you think healthy food is tasteless and boring, think again. Here are over 200 recipes using the ultimate in healthy superfoods. Whether you want to produce exotic feasts, fantastic fast food, hearty winter meals or sumptuous desserts, these dishes are guaranteed to appeal to everyone - see Books.

• Exercise regularly and make sure that you allow time for relaxation in your life.

• Avoid toxins and chemicals in your food and environment as much as possible. Use natural skin and body care products including natural hair dyes, use natural sanitary products, natural household cleaning products, natural paints and gardening products. Avoid having synthetic flame-retardant materials in the home. Do not use aerosols no matter what propellant they use. Use stainless steel pans to cook with, not non-stick or enamel pans. Drink filtered or bottled water, and consider filtering your bath and shower water. Ideally fit a reverse-osmosis water filter onto the mains of the house to eliminate fluoride as well.

• Minimise your exposure to radiation and electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer - read the electric and magnetic fields in your home with an EMF meter (available to hire or buy), turn electric equipment off at the plug when not in use, position chairs and beds away from domestic appliances, allowing six to eight feet. Reduce your usage of mobile phones. Change your computer for one with a light emitting diode screen (LED) which hardly emits any radiation. Consider the 'Q-Link' pendant to help the body to protect itself from the environmental stresses of electromagnetic fields, and 'Energia' products, which are designed to neutralise the harmful effects of electro-magnetic pollution and geopathic stress by clearing the home or workplace of distorted energies.

• Take antioxidants - EMFs cause free-radical damage in the body which in turn can increase the risk of cancer. Antioxidants work to protect the body against this damage. Multivitamin supplements are available with a broad spectrum of antioxidants, or an antioxidant supplement can be taken separately - follow the Multi-Vitamin link above and see Antioxidants.

NB. This information is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are unsure as to the suitability of any of the products or recommendations with regard to your condition please consult your doctor. If your doctor does not approve of complementary medicine it may be helpful to find one who does.

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