Excerpt: 'YOU: The Owner's Manual'

In the book, "YOU: The Owner's Manual," anti-aging guru Dr. Michael F. Roizen and heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz take readers on a journey through their bodies to help them become better acquainted with how they function both physically and mentally.

Believing readers know very little about their own bodies, the authors focus each chapter on a different organ or system and outline diseases attributed to each one. They also show how lifestyle choices influence the aging process of each organ or system and give advice on what readers can do to avoid these illnesses and slow the aging process.

You can read a chapter from the book below.

Chapter One

Your Body, Your Home: Super Health

Beautiful bodies sell magazines. Tattooed bodies attract gawkers. Well-trained bodies win championships (and lucrative endorsement contracts). Celebrity bodies get stalked by paparazzi, chronicled by tabloids, and lampooned by late-night talk-show hosts. Infomercials promise better bodies (Lose 700 pounds with this revolutionary belly button cream!). And now, even so-called flawed bodies star as the protagonists in one form of pop culture: plastic-surgery reality shows.

There's no doubt that corporate America has capitalized on the fact that a beautiful body stimulates the economy as well as the hormones. We're all for admiring the body for its curves, angles, and ability to make Nielsen ratings soar. But maybe our obsession with skin belies the importance of everything that chugs, churns, and pounds underneath it. Because many people have developed a view of the human body that's more superficial than a paper cut, we want to step back and look deeper -- into places where only surgeons, MRI machines, and the occasional tapeworm can see:

Inside your body.

Why? Because what goes on inside of your body is what gives you the ability to see, run, smell, have wild sex on the beach, feed babies, create dinosaurs out of Legos, surf, solve algebra problems, tie shoelaces, hum "Margaritaville," and do the thousands of different things you do every day. Your body gives you life. Your body is life.

But even if you understand your body's many functions, you may not really know how it functions -- and, more important, how you can make it stronger, healthier, and younger.

Maybe that's because complex medical issues and scientific jargon race through our brains like cars on an interstate -- reports, data, and recommendations stream by so fast that you barely have time to notice them, let alone figure out what they all mean. The result of this information inundation is that spotting important health news is about as easy as finding a kernel of corn in a landfill. Then, to figure out which kernel of information you can apply to your own life, it takes digging, persistence, and time, not to mention some waders to protect yourself from all the junk that's out there. But it's vital for your health -- and your life -- that you own a pair of informational waders. With this book, we've strapped on our waders and have pulled out the kernels for you.

So you can live a healthier life.

So you can become the world expert on your body.

To do that, we want you to think of your body as a home -- as your home. When we started thinking about the similarities between bodies and homes, we realized that the two have a more striking resemblance than the Olsen twins. Your house and body are both important investments. They both provide shelter to invaluable personal property. And they're both places you want to protect with all your power. That's the big picture. But if we explore the comparison even more -- and we will throughout this book -- you'll understand the relationship even better. Your bones are the two-by-fours that support and protect the inner structure of your home; your eyes are the windows; your lungs are the ventilation ducts; your brain is the fuse box; your intestines are the plumbing system; your mouth is the food processor; your heart is the water main; your hair is the lawn (some of us have more grass than others); and your fat is all the unnecessary junk you've stored in the attic that your spouse has been nagging you to get rid of. If you can get past the fact that your forehead doesn't have a street number and that a two-story brick Colonial doesn't look all that good in a bathing suit, the similarities are remarkable -- so remarkable, in fact, that we believe you can learn about how your body works by thinking about how your house does.

And that's really the, uh, foundation for this book: Knowing your body gives you the power to change it, maintain it, decorate it, and strengthen it. In each chapter, we'll start by explaining the anatomy of your body's major organs. To do that, we'll take you inside -- and show you how your body's organs operate and interact with each other. We won't do it in doctor-speak, but we also won't treat you like you're a fourth-grader. We're not going to make the science simplistic; we're going to make it simple. From there, we're going to tell you how to make your organs function better -- so you can prevent disease and live a younger, healthier life. We'll show you how disease starts, how it affects your body, and how you can learn to fend off and beat problems and conditions that can threaten not only your life but also your quality of life.

To return to the house analogy, we want you to take the same approach to basic body maintenance and repairs as you do in your home. You don't call the plumber if you have a little backup in your pipes. You try a plunger, lift the back off the toilet and fiddle with the floating ball, and try to remedy the problem yourself. You don't call the exterminator when you spot a fly in the kitchen. You don't call the electrician if a light bulb burns out. You rely on yourself for maintaining control over how your house ages -- because you know that it's less expensive to prevent problems and treat minor ones than let everything deteriorate to the point where your house needs a major overhaul to continue functioning properly.

Ultimately, we want you to get comfortable enough with your own body so that you'll feel confident with basic body maintenance, so that you'll avoid the things that cause the most wear and tear and do the things that best maintain the long-term value of your body.

Excerpted with permission from "YOU: The Owner's Manual," by Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet Oz. Copyright © May 2005, HarperResource .