“You are what you eat.” You’ve heard it a thousand times, but have you ever really looked beyond those words? We know if we eat too much junk food, eventually it will appear on our belly and hips. Do you know what happens under your skin and what food is actually doing to your DNA? If you take the time to learn, you may realize that good health really is a choice.

The basic idea that food is information, not just calories, is referred to as “Nutrigenomics.” To date, no one has done a more successful job of explaining the human anatomy and nutrigenomics than Oprah’s go-to “YOU Docs,” Mehmet Oz, M.D. and Michael Roizen, M.D.

Dr. Oz is vice-chair and professor of surgery at Columbia University. He directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York–Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Roizen is an internist and anesthesiologist; former chair of an FDA advisory committee; and the Chief Wellness Officer at the Cleveland Clinic.

Together they have written a series of New York Times bestselling books including YOU: The Owner’s Manual. It covers everything doctors learn in the first three years of medical school (and is actually fun to read!) It is an exceptional source for understanding the effect of food on your body.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Roizen. His work at the Cleveland Clinic is tied in part to America’s place in the global economy. Given that 75% of the U.S. health care budget is due to issues resulting from tobacco, food choices and portion size, physical inactivity, and stress[sup]1[/sup], Dr. Roizen recognizes that the solution lies in individual choices. The objective of his books with Dr. Oz is to help you understand your body and to make better choices for a longer, healthier life. Your improved health will reduce health care costs and (in turn) strengthen the American economy.

So it all comes down to YOU. In order for change to occur, “We need to understand the biology of your bodies,” states Dr. Roizen, “Once people understand the beauty of their brain’s circuitry and the power of their heart’s pump and all of the wondrous processes that take place underneath your flesh, then individuals will be more motivated to improve these systems. Our bodies do everything for us. To care for this very fine piece of machinery, we need to know how it operates.”

Our senses often determine our food choices. You see the fast food sign, smell the french fry essence in the air and begin to salivate. We begin to immediately justify our choices because we are focused on how good that burger will taste.

“Food is not ‘Let’s Make A Deal,’” says Roizen, “Although you can exercise off the calories from food, the changes caused in your gene function and proteins last much longer than the actual joy of the food.” Roizen states that sugar stays with your genes for 23 days and with your proteins for 180 days, adversely affecting the way they do their jobs.

“So even if you get an hour’s joy out of an ice cream cone, the sugar you ingest attaches to your proteins and stays there for the life of the protein, changing it forever. That same sugar activates your genes causing them to adversely change. Genes are like factories in that it takes time to stop them after they are started. Those changes outlast the joy of that ice cream cone for a very long time.”

“We can have joy from eating,” Roizen adds, “To be healthy, we need to learn how to make healthy choices. For example, frozen mashed-up bananas or grapes offer the same sweet and creamy tastes of ice cream without the negative side effects.”

Understanding the impact of healthy choices on the economy, the team at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute is not only making changes on their hospital campus, but throughout their community. “We (leading institutions) need to show that we may change health care costs in our own region, and make America healthier,” states Roizen. Their efforts have improved health trends in their immediate community and throughout the entire county.
It all begins with YOU. Roizen concludes, “You can take the reins on your own health. Your attitude, determination and willingness to know everything you can about your body will help you make choices to predetermine what your genes will do.”

And making the choice for a healthier you will contribute to a healthier America.

You: The Owner’s Manual – Update and Expanded Edition is available at Barnes & Noble in Palm Desert or www.BarnesandNoble.com
Source: 1) Center for Disease Control website

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