For the record, Dr. Mike Roizen ate salad topped with grilled salmon for lunch on Tuesday afternoon, after a talk about wellness to a standing-room-only crowd on the Larkin Square boardwalk. He left toast, and the pretzel croutons from his salad, on his plate. He never touched the pizza or cookies set out on the table. He had one cup of coffee during mealtime, and another for the road.
“Usually, I would have avoided the salad dressing,” said Roizen, a Buffalo native who’s column with Dr. Mehmet Oz appears weekly in WNY Refresh.
Roizen shared lunch at Larkin Square with several fellow members of the Nichols High School Class of 1963. It was clear during an interview after lunch – and in the talk he gave beforehand – that Roizen is a numbers guy.
He remembered the addresses from the house where he lived until he was 7 – 37 Chatham Ave. – and where he lived while in high school, 115 Crosby Ave.; and that Sattler’s was at 998 Broadway. His father devised the first radio ad for the former department store.
Roizen said he does the majority of the writing for the joint columns with Oz, which are filled with numbered tips to better health, including today’s on Page 4 about acupuncture. The two men have been writing books, and doing television shows together, since 2003. They talk mostly by phone, though on weeks like this one, when Roizen travels to Manhattan to tape the “Dr. Oz” show with his friend, he stays at the Oz home in northern New Jersey.
Perhaps the easiest number for the 68-year-old Roizen to remember these days is 49. That’s the “real age” he’s calculated using the RealAge website he developed to calculate the impact of health, fitness and nutrition on chronological age.
“Stress is the greatest ager,” he said. “The second is food choices and portion size. The third is managing chronic disease. Right up there is physical activity and having a purpose and passion in life.”
Roizen said he remains a Bills, Sabres and Bisons fan, though he left Buffalo at age 18 to attend Williams College in Massachusetts and has lived elsewhere since. For the last nine years, he’s worked at the Cleveland Clinic, where he directs the Wellness Institute, which focuses on prevention, community health and the well-being of 43,000 employees.
During his noontime talk, part of the Larkin Square Authors Series, he gave the following seven tips to better wellness:
1. Grab a buddy: A friend can offer support and consistency when it comes to helping you stick to a healthy diet and regular exercise.
2. Stick to complex carbs: Simple carbohydrates in processed foods contain added sugars and syrups that spike blood glucose and weaken artery walls, setting the stage over time for chronic heath problems.
3. Get intense: Roizen called exercise “Miracle-Gro for your brain,” and said he refuses to go to sleep without taking 10,000 steps each day. Walking, he said, is part of his physical fitness regimen, which also includes resistance exercises and cardio work.
4. Add fun foods and drinks: One beer, wine or spirit a day for women and up to two a day for men can improve aging and blood vessel strength, and boost immunity, Roizen said. Peanut butter, avocados or dark chocolate a half-hour before eating carbs can help slow the digestive tract and reduce the body’s storage of sugar.
5. Address stress: “Stress is the greatest danger” to wellness, Roizen said. He advised breathing and progressive muscle relaxation exercises to help manage it.
6. Take supplements: Food contains important vitamins and minerals, he said, but 93 percent of us don’t eat in a way that provides adequate amounts. He recommended a daily regimen that includes a multivitamin, vitamin D3, fish oil containing EHA, two baby aspirin and calcium. He also said current studies are underway that he believes will show the wisdom of a daily probiotic, omega-7, and CoQ10.
7. Have a passion and purpose for life: Roizen said a zest for life is the tonic that helps keep us younger in mind, body and spirit.
Judging from his “real age,” he seems to have a point.