Dr. Samantha Nazareth, M.D. is a double board-certified gastroenterologist who practices in New York City. She is also a noted researcher, writer, and speaker on nutrition, wellness, and the microbiome. Dr. Nazareth has research published in The New York Times and she continues to be sought out as an authoritative source on the wide range of topics and issues on eating, living wellness and gastrointestinal health by media that have included CNN, Women’s Health, Bustle, POPSUGAR, Shape, Prevention, SheKnows, and Reader’s Digest, to name a few.
Dr. Nazareth’s mission is educating her patients and consumers on the increasing number of food and environmental issues that can adversely impact their digestive system health. Dr. Nazareth advocates for keeping a balance of daily dietary and other healthy living activities to maintain optimal gastrointestinal wellness.
Dr. Nazareth is also deeply interested and committed to supporting the promise of technologies like artificial intelligence, big data, and blockchain to peel away some of the mysteries of the digestive system microbiome, so that personalized and customized gastrointestinal therapies to each individual patient can one day be realized.
Early Education/Medical Training
While in medical school, Dr. Nazareth thought she would become a surgeon as she wanted to work hands-on with fixing internal organ systems to restore a patient’s health. That path took a different course when her mother developed colon cancer, which led her to want to learn everything she could about the field. She went on to graduate from the only Ivy League medical program at Brown University, and subsequently completed her residency in Internal Medicine at New York City’s #1 ranked hospital, New York Presbyterian-Cornell Medical Center. From there, Dr. Nazareth pursued further study and training in both Transplant Hepatology and Gastroenterology at world-renowned Columbia University Medical Center.
What gets me excited?
Helping people feel their best.
I spent 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 3 years of residency, and 4 years of two fellowships to learn all that I could to help people feel their best. I started practicing armed with all of this knowledge, but became acutely aware of the importance of the choices both my patients and I make every day, from the moment we open our eyes in the morning to the very end of our day. The small decisions we make to eat better, stress less, sleep more, laugh harder have a huge impact in the long run.
In order to ‘practice what I preached’, I had to first change my own daily habits. Food choices was my biggest challenge, but was one of the most important things I needed to tackle. I’ve always known about the awesomeness of avocados, but quinoa, flax seeds, and bone broth were completely foreign to me. My knowledge of food was quite limited to my Puerto Rican heritage with a sprinkling of pizza and fast food. My eating habits suffered even more in college and medical training. Grilled cheese became a constant staple while I plowed through the stresses of my studies.
My relationship with food needed a serious overhaul. I was considered ‘healthy’ back then since I had no medical problems. But, I knew if I continued as I was doing, I would have consequences in the future. My food choices weren't the only things that needed to change. It remains an ongoing journey -- finding the right balance -- but I was able to change.
Aside from eating differently, here are a couple of things that made a difference for me:
I made sleep a priority. No more late night TV. I rarely have caffeine. Actually, I am quite sensitive to it. I even feel the effects of matcha. Adequate sleep gives me energy to get me through the day.
I started a meditation practice. Stress + me = not great. I found meditation has been able to build my resilience, which is especially necessary while working in NYC.
I became aware of the importance of hydration. There would be hours that roll by and I would forget to drink water. It was actually a good thing if I didn’t go to the bathroom during a busy hospital day because I wouldn’t have to break rounds. Crazy! I now carry a glass water bottle as a constant reminder to stay hydrated.
I take the stairs as much as possible within reason. I will go up 4 flights at one office and 6 flights at another. Being a New Yorker, I’m able to get a good chunk of my steps in during the day, but climbing stairs gives my daily activity an extra challenge.
These small adjustments have helped me feel better. Seems simple, but living a healthy life really should be easy and sustainable. I believe in small strides that can be easily implemented slowly to make the overall outcome extraordinary.