4 Quick Tips to be a Black Superhero…of Your Health
Marvel’s record-selling movie, Black Panther, and the Netflix produced Luke Cage fight evil enemies with enhanced abilities, supernatural speed, and superb strength to protect their people from harm in a fictional universe. Their bravery, selflessness, and pride on the screen reflect the essential truths about the diversity of the Black experience. Their actions inspire the masses, but their health is the foundation of their ability to be heroes. If they were unhealthy they couldn’t run or jump, let alone be super.
Below are 4 quick preventative health care tips to focus on so we can stay healthy and keep our enemies (mostly heart disease) at bay.
Tip #1: Knowledge is Power but Only if You Apply it.
Acquiring knowledge about common health issues among African Americans helps paint a picture of the risk:
- African Americans are affected by fatal illnesses in their 20’s, 30’s, & 40’s.
- The same fatal illnesses do not affect the majority of White Americans until they are 65 years old or older.
- African Americans are at higher risk for cardiovascular (Heart) disease.
- Black Americans are 2 times more likely to get heart disease than White Americans.
The King of Wakanda and Harlem’s Hero understand some factors of the fight are out of their control as are the factors that breed the economic and social disadvantages that create racial health disparities. Even with all odds against them, the heroes find a way to do the right thing. Both heroes and all parents are role models for the children so we must emphasize that ‘your health is your wealth’ by taking action and leading by example.
Factors That Are Within Your Control:
Go to the doctor & get routine checkups.
Understand your family’s medical history.
Seek out a specialist if you have health issues.
Tip #2: You Are What You Eat, So Eat Healthier.
Our dietary preferences are influenced heavily by our culture. For example, “get-togethers” are a big part of African American culture and they are usually centered around traditional family recipes.
Historically, African American foods have some rich nutrients in greens, yellow vegetables, beans, rice, and potatoes, but there is also an abundance of food that is high in fat with lower fiber, and not very many nutrients.
- African Americans, on average, have soaring rates of high blood pressure, obesity, & diabetes.
- All three health conditions increase the risk of getting heart disease.
Luke and T’Challa are never seen eating on screen, but due to their physique and ability to sustain energy you have to assume they indulge in African American cuisine but maintain a healthy diet.
Quick Things to Change to Eat Healthier Without Losing All the Flavor:
Modify the amount of sodium along with the amount of sugar added to traditional foods.
Monitor the fat content of traditional foods.
Exchange herbs & spices for seasoning salt.
Increase the number of veggies you eat & decrease the amount of meat.
More steaming, baking, grilling, and roasting foods & less frying and eating fast food.
Drink more water.
Quick Things to Change When Snacking to Eat Healthier:
Reduce the amount of sodium you eat (fewer chips, fewer processed foods).
Reduce the amount of sugar you consume (fewer sodas, fewer sweets).
Increase the amount of fresh food in your diet (fruits & vegetables).
See some of the recipes previously shared on CBHC’s website:
Tip #3: Exercise Your Unhealthy Demons
African Americans dominate America’s major professional sports yet have the highest rates of obesity in the country.
Exercising at least weekly with moderate intensity can reduce the risk of:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) & obesity.
- Heart Disease & stroke.
- Certain cancers & Type 2 Diabetes.
Often, African American men and women are targeted in the media and health studies as not working out due to time constraints, hair related issues, along with financial concerns, but in reality that can be combated by prioritizing, fitness-friendly hairstyles, and finding inexpensive workout options.
The women of Wakanda had short hairstyles but more importantly they were extremely fit which enabled them to defend their country better than most stereotypical warriors or soldiers. Obviously, Luke Cage and Black Panther have super powers but theoretically they still have to exercise on a regular basis to stay in shape. Have a superhero work ethic when it comes to working out so you can be healthy.
The Intensity of Exercises:
Low Impact — Get Your Heart Rate Up
Walk Around the Block
Medium Impact — Be Active
Lightly Jogging Around the Block.
Yoga with Weights.
A Quick at Home Workout
**If you have a child that participates in a sport/physical activity, you can work out with the kids for a part of their practice.**
High Impact — No Pain No Gain
Weightlifting (Often Requires a Gym Membership)
Moderate Activity for 10 Conservative Minutes at a “Breathing Hard” Pace.
Tip #4: Be Collaborative
Get the whole family involved (that includes your elders all the way to the babies).
Talk about Colorado Black Health Collaborative at the barbershops & salons, at your children’s games/events, as well as at church.
Friend CBHC on Facebook
Follow CBHC on Instagram
Go to CBHC Events
August is the return of the CBHC Block Party
October is the first ever CBHC Gala featuring Jenifer Lewis, the Grandma from the hit show “Blackish.”
Follow the 4 tips above to start fighting back, like the warrior women of Wakanda, against the evils of bad health.
In reality, there are a lot of villains that try to destroy what we’ve built so let’s stand together and be Luke Cage strong. As a culture, we may not be able to control economic and social conditions, but we can control what knowledge we acquire, what we put into our bodies, how hard we work our bodies, and how much we help each other as a community.
Read articles on CBHC’s website about heart disease, the #1 health issue among African Americans:
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