NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Our health as a nation may be improving thanks to passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but that's the big picture. It won't help much if individuals don't stop the bad habits that can turn your good health upside down.
So says Shane Griffin, a holistic nutritionist and the founder of Whole Life Balance, a health and nutrition services firm. Griffin, a former Toronto nightclub owner, shed his longtime drugs and alcohol abuse and now preaches the benefits of a nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Actually, he's even more serious about those bad health habits, noting that they combine to "lead you straight to your demise." What nasty habits is Griffin talking about?
He ranks these health-killers as his "top five":
Eating too much of the same foods. Griffin says that when your diet is imbalanced you end up deficient in vital nutrients, and almost every disease starts with a deficiency of some sort. That's why he says to never consume one or more foods to excess.
"For example, kale is extremely healthy," he says. "But, if you have kale with every meal, you are at risk for thyroid disease and could end up with an underactive thyroid or even a goiter, as Kale contains goitrogens -- a natural thyroid medication."
Treating symptoms only. Yes, your doctor can give you a quick scan and tell you if your blood pressure is high, but he's going to treat only the symptoms, not the whole person, and they definitely won't devote hours doing it, Griffin says. Taking a holistic approach to your nutritional habits can treat the root causes and underlying issues of any health problems.
Not reading ingredients in supplements. Dietary and health supplements are supposed to support healthy living efforts, right? Wrong, Griffin says. "Many of the supplements on the market are not only highly unregulated, but also contain extremely dangerous ingredients."
Depending too much on OTC drugs. From headaches to bloating, over-the-counter drugs may seem like a quick fix to almost any bodily discomfort, but overuse can bring very serious health effects.
"For example, the widely-used Tylenol may be seemingly harmless, but it contains the ingredient acetaminophen, which in large doses can cause nausea, vomiting, and liver failure," Griffin says.
Being misinformed. The Internet has done wonders, especially when it comes to access to information. But while the average American can now access a vast array of articles and opinions, it's often too much information and can lead some to obsess over symptoms of conditions they may not even have.
"Doctors have diagnosed this phenomenon as cyberchondria, which they say could lead to high anxiety and stress, not to mention distraction from what's actually going on," Griffin says.
How to battle misinformation and cyberchondria? Seek a professional, and a customized approach to treating your symptoms, Griffin adds.