How informed are you about your body?

“A healthy person has a thousand wishes, but a sick person has only one.”
– Indian Proverb

Few days ago, on Saturday morning, I was having breakfast with my two daughters.
I asked a question to my daughters, “Five frogs are sitting on a log, three decided to jump off. How many are left?”
My both daughters replied, “Two.”
“No, the correct answer is five,” I replied.
My both daughters asked at the same time, how?
“Because the three frogs are still thinking, they haven’t jumped off yet,” I further explained.
My both daughters laughed and ran away.
“Silly dad, I heard the voice behind me.”
So the point I was making was why our mind is so weak to make decisions.
What blocks us when time comes to make a decision?
I remember, at one point in my life, my doctor recommended me to perform certain lab tests related to cancer to check my body, but I couldn’t make a decision, though it was optional.
The reason was I was scared of bad results.
I wasn’t making decisions of those actions whose results were far from reality at the moment.
Similarly, many years ago, I restricted all kinds of sugar products in my diet because I was almost pre-dibetic and my family history wasn’t great.
I don’t know how I came back to eating normal sugar products again after beating my pre-dibetic status.
Now, I’m still trying to avoid all sugar products, though I’m not diabetic because I knew that they are not good for my lifelong health, but up to now I am unable to make a decision.
I’m still eating sugar products as a normal kid.
At one point, I was so bad and negligent to know about my body, I simply used to ignore it thinking that there are more important things to do rather than go to my primary care physician’s regular check up blood report.
I never even tried to know what those numbers are and what they are referring to me.
To be honest, I never reviewed my lab results seriously in any physicals until my doctor indicated some alarms in my report.
The problem is I used to memorize a lot of biochemical data when I was in school and college but I never tried to understand my own internal biochemical data after graduating from college.
I never tried to know what my BMI, body mass index, cholesterol, sugar and blood pressure were and what they do in my body?
Body gives a lot of information but we never try to learn what the body is asking for.

At present, medical and biotech innovations are thriving globally.
There are many reasons for this, but for me, one reason is that the study of biology and chemistry is no more traditional science as we used to have in the past, they are becoming more of an information technology of our complex body.
We all human beings are different, we have different genes, we have different biology so the biochemistry is also becoming not one size fit all.
We have heard the stories that the same medicine works for one but not for others though both are diagnosed with the same disease.
We all have different lifestyle choices, we have different types of nutrition, we have different types of exercise, we have different types of sleep patterns, and we all have different mindsets to operate.
These are key factors to affect our health and well being.
These activities affect our complex and sophisticated body in one way or another.

Just think of our body, it is a complex automated machine.
It has 30 trillion cells and produces 330 billion new cells each day. Not only that, there are more bacterial cells in our gut than human cells.
Isn’t this surprising to you?
Just one more snapshot of our body’s biochemistry, red blood cells can race through our entire body in less than 20 seconds, this is nothing more than internal communication in the automated machine.
If we don’t eat anything our machine survives three weeks maximum, if we don’t drink it survives three days maximum, if we don’t inhale oxygen, it survives three minutes maximum then after that we see damaged brain, the key component of the machine. Our automated machine starts shutting it down, the communication system gets ruptured and the whole machinery crumbles down.
On the negative side, just to get the glimpse of our internal biochemistry of our body, if we inhale cyanide, we die in thirty seconds; it targets our mitochondria and blocks using oxygen and producing ATP.
All these mechanisms are regulated and affected every second by what we do every day, every hour, and every minute based on our lifestyle.
This clearly indicates why our health is becoming more personalized day by day.
Once we are more aware and knowledgeable about our internal information technology within our body, scientists are developing sensors that are transforming medical diagnostics.
Robotics and 3D printing are reinventing the traditional medical procedures.
Artificial intelligence (AI), genomics, and gene editing tools are transforming the medicines.
As we all know, the planet’s own health is declining day by day due to our own activities.
We all are exposed to more chemical toxins, pollutants, radiation, and infectious diseases more than ever, no matter where we live.
The only thing we can do is be vigilant and informative about our body, body’s reaction, and our own actions.

Life is so unpredictable, and in many times this unpredictability appears at the expense of our negligence, ignorance, and unintentional actions.
We think that we know what is good and what is bad for our body.
But in reality, we have no clue of many things in the body to happen.
One of my friends’ experiences, he thought he was doing the right thing for his body by eating lots of fish, a healthy form of protein and omega 3 fatty acids.
He had no idea that the fish that he ate all the time like tuna and swordfish were full of mercury.
Mercury silently deposited on him to toxic levels in his body and caused severe brain fog.
He was losing his memory and felt unbelievably exhausted all the time.
Many doctors couldn’t pinpoint the cause but finally one doctor revealed that he had an outrageously high level of mercury poisoning.
How it happened because he was eating a lot of fish thinking that they are good for health.
This is just one example of how we are hit by life.
Everything comes down to the right information and being very smart and alert on what we do for our body.

Steve Jobs said, “Creativity is connecting things.”
He spent a very long time exploring new and unrelated things in his life.
He spent time on the art of calligraphy, meditation in an Indian ashram, and the fine details of Mercedes-Benz which are very unrelated to each other for iPhone and Mac.
Finally he connected all different dots and formed the information channel for Apple.
He always asked questions why, why not, and what if, to get more and more information.
At least for me, this principle also applies to our body biochemistry, which, of course, is vast and complicated but still why, why not, and what if applies to our body.

Few weeks ago I met a scholar at a networking event and he was heavily influenced by David Sinclair, a biologist and academic known for his research on aging and epigenetics.
When he talked about Sinclair, I became more interested in listening to him because I was a little bit familiar with his work.
David Sinclair is a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School.
The scholar suggested five things to do for a long healthy life based on his twenty plus years experience in the area.
He said one thing, I will never forget, based on the information we’ve gathered from our body, up to now.
Remember: “based on the information we’ve gathered from our body.”
The first thing he told me is to be very smart about what we eat everyday.
Can we eat the foods that help to protect our health defense systems like angiogenesis, regeneration, microbiome, DNA, and immunity. He categorically emphasized on limiting red meat and avoiding almost all sugar for a long healthy life.
Second thing he suggested is caloric restriction lifestyle and recommended, if possible, choose one meal per day. I was a little skeptical on this and asked a question but he told me it depends on how you regulate your body.
Third thing he told me is limit alcohol consumption and drink only red wine moderately.
The fourth, he said, is a key for our internal body biochemistry, eight hours of good night sleep.
He said, “during sleep, thousands of neurons in the brain switch functions. The complete biological role of sleep still isn’t fully known but good night sleep reinforces the cardiovascular and immune systems and helps regulate body metabolism.
In fact, our brain and body remain very active during sleep and do housekeeping that removes toxins in our brain that build up while we are awake.”
The final, he emphasized, was exercise at least three days in a week.

Please, accept it, we all have our personal health risks.
Numerous factors can affect our body and influence our risk of developing a serious disease over our lifetime. From childhood to adolescence to adulthood, wherever we are, what we do for work, what we eat, and how we spend our free time can increase or decrease our health risks.
Our genes determine the stage for the diseases we might eventually develop, but we can change our fate by understanding and lowering some risks.
This understanding is the information provided by our body everyday.
Now the question is how easy to make a decision on these five activities now?
I’m not going to remind the frog’s story, everyone.

Thank you for your time.
-Yam Timsina