Welcome to Black History Month. It’s also Heart Health Month! Many of you probably didn’t know that.
Hike4Life was created based on startling facts about African Americans and our connection to heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure) and the high obesity rates that plague our communities. We believe through Hking and other outdoor activities, those numbers can be greatly reduced and even eliminated.
So for February, we are going to talk about Heart Disease and Black History. Historically, African Americans make up the larger percentage of Americans affected by CVD (cardio vascular diseases) due to diet and less exercise. Although many of us stick to traditional foods that are tied to our culture, there is a growing amount that have embraced Vegetarian and Vegan lifestyles also, a fitness and health and wellness movement in the Black community is currently sweeping the country. Regular check-ups with your doctor can be just as helpful.
Here is an example from Robin Drummond, who shared some of her families’ connection to heart disease with WebMD:
“Heart disease has haunted generations of Robin Drummond's family. "I have a family history of heart disease on both sides," says the 55-year-old African-American and resident of Hammond, La. "I've had uncles, aunts, and grandparents who've died from heart attacks and heart disease, and two of my mother's brothers died four months apart. One had a heart attack in church, and four months later, one had a heart attack in the post office."
This is just one family; imagine 16,400,000 individuals going through this same situation. Oh, that number is the 40% of the entire population in the US of African Americans that suffer from Cardio Vascular Diseases. We make up 13.1% of the entire US population and 40% out of 41,000,000 are sick. We have to do better.
According the Office of Minority Health:
African Americans are at the top of these lists.
1. Diagnosed Cases of Coronary Heart Disease
2. Death Rate
5. High Cholesterol
6. Cigarette Smoking
Let’s do what we can to get the bottom of these problems and to the bottom of these lists. Eating better and exercise are the best ways to start this.
Here are 3 Foods your Heart will Love:
1. Wild Salmon
Your heart will fall for: Salmon’s anti-inflammatory qualities
This perfect mix of hard-to-find qualities will make your heart thump. Wild salmon is chock-full of Omega-3s and healthy fatty acids. Its nutrients help boost your immune system, reduce blood clots, and protect against heart attacks. They also lower triglyceride levels and protect your arteries.
2. Steel Cut Oats
Your heart will fall for: Oatmeal’s complex B-vitamins
Complex is sexier than boring. Oatmeal is easy to dress up, plus it has the versatility of a variety of B-vitamins like thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin. These vitamins protect against blood clots and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). They also increase your HDL (good cholesterol).
To top that, these oats are also high in iron, which your heart craves for transporting oxygen to your active muscles.
3. Ground Flax Seeds
Your heart will fall for: Flax’s fiber richness.
This is a wealth your heart can definitely afford. Fiber helps keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. Flaxseeds also help lower your risk of blood clots, stroke, and cardiac arrhythmias. It lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides.
Getting these seeds ground ensures proper absorption, plus they mix nicely into almost any food. Throw them on your salads, into your smoothies, and on top of that steaming bowl of steel cut oats. Your heart will love you for it.
As well as eating right, exercise is just as important, how about:
C. Hiking, you know we had to throw that in there.
Hiking is a proven all around exercise that is good for your heart, your spirit and your glutes! You lose excess weight, help prevent heart disease and you decrease your blood pressure. We don’t want to see you on medicine; we’d rather see you on the trail!
So, for Black History Month, let’s make History and do our best to work on our overall health! Work on eating right, exercising regularly and learning what’s best for you and your family.
Be careful of what you eat, make sure it’s proper for your heart!