The style of life we choose often paints a picture of the type of health problems we're likely to encounter later on in life. This of course is not always the case and for whatever reason be it defective genealogy or a hereditary condition, people contract illnesses all the time.
But do you know that Chronic, progressive conditions like Kidney Disease, Diabetes and Heart Disease can be prevented, controlled or even eradicated by the lifestyle choices you make!
"Mi love yu like cook food" - A popular West Indian saying that encapsulates the emotional connections black people have with food.
Food is an integral part of black British culture; it is very much the umbilical cord that ties you to your heritage. Since the emergence of African and Caribbean people in the UK diaspora, traditional mouth-watering hearty dishes like Egusi soup, Fufu, Jollof rice, Ackee & Saltfish and Rice’n’Peas have featured in our Dutch pots and on our kitchen tables. Whilst traditional fare is ‘learnt,’ passed from generation to generation the consumption of ‘our’ food has and always will be at the centre of our stomach, heart and home.
So would it seem ludicrous to live a life without your favourite food, home grown or British? Perhaps to some, yes. Thank God no one is telling you to. But what does one do when the food you enjoy begins to affect your health?
Do you think about the amount of salt you consume? What about your intake of fat and sugar? Salt is present in 75% of the foods that you eat. Although your body utilizes salt to carry out important processes, consuming too much causes high blood pressure. According to the UK Department of Health the daily recommended intake of salt is 6g on average people ingest 9-10g a day.
The likelihood is you know too much salt is bad for your health but 53% of people fail to consider the salt content when buying foods. It takes just a moment by searching the nutritional values on packaging to make a healthy choice. Whilst preparing food avoid adding salt. Most if not all seasonings and spices contain salt, why not make use of fresh herbs instead? The habitual behaviour of adding salt is common and sometimes hard to break, but you can do it!
High blood pressure is not necessarily symptomatic but cases of headaches and migraines are not unusual. When you restrict your intake you will begin to taste the actual food and feel better in control knowing that you are reducing the risks of heart attack, Stroke, CVD and kidney damage.
Obesity is on the increase and it’s affecting our children. What is your household doing to prevent the odd excessive pound or two turning into stones?
Commit to a reduced diet of fats and sugar. However tempting it may be to plaster harddough bread with butter or douse the Okra in oil, STOP and THINK. Over indulging in fats, oils and butters promotes high cholesterol. BE CREATIVE; think of different ways of cooking food. Bake, grill or steam instead of frying. We live in a technological age. You can access appliances specifically designed to replace the use of fats to cook the food. It’s a worthy investment.
Maintain a healthy balanced diet of fruit and vegetables. Moderating your intake of fats, sugars and salt are vital in sustaining a sound body and mind.
High blood pressure, Obesity, High cholesterol and Physical inactivity are all contributing factors responsible for record levels of CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease), Type 2 Diabetes and CVD (Cardio Vascular Disease), in the black community.
‘Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it’. – Akan proverb.
Keep a look out for black healthcare professionals and well-being practioners; share their knowledge and life experiences in our LifeSTYLE interviews.