Ugo Iroku, M.D., is a top-rated gastroenterologist and public health expert on a mission to improve health literacy among African Americans and make medical information more accessible and easier to comprehend. He attended Harvard Medical School before completing his internal medicine residency at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell University. He then completed his gastroenterology and liver disease fellowship at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University.
Iroku treats patients at Manhattan-based New York Gastroenterology Associates, a premier gastrointestinal and liver disease practice. He shares his medical teachings and expertise with various outlets, including community organizations and schools, and on his own social media platforms.
Rolling out spoke with him about health disparities and how African Americans can make lifestyle changes to improve their overall health.
Describe what you do as a gastroenterologist.
We deal with everything that has to do with food, starting once it enters your mouth to the second it leaves you for the sewage system. That includes the liver, which helps to break things down, the gallbladder, the pancreas — all those organs on the inside.
What can we do to improve our overall health?
We know that African Americans have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks and mortality from all of these things. You want to limit the amount of fried foods you’re intaking, along with the amount of red meats. Increase the amount of exercise you’re doing. We should all be breaking a sweat at least 30 minutes or so multiple times a day, at least five to seven times a week. It’s hard to take things out, so one trick is to put things in. Put a lot of fruits, vegetables and high-fiber foods on your plate. Typically, half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. That leaves less space in your stomach for all the stuff we know and love. What that does is it decreases your body’s glucose levels, it drops your cholesterol levels, and it even cuts in half your rate of getting colon cancer.
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