Looking After Your Heart

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Heart disease is a silent killer and there are many in the Black and Asian diaspora who suffer this fate.  I wanted to take some time to discuss how we an improv heart health amongst the Black and Asian community.

There is compelling evidence that people of South Indian, African and Black Carribbeans are at risk of strokes, diabetes and heart disease.  Below you will find the report gathered by the BHF. 

So what can we do in our communities to promote better heart health?

Education and diet are two major areas we can look at improving alongside exercise.

It has already been established that there is a link between weight gain and high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes and heart disease, so let us start there.

Diet

One of the things I can state being of black Caribbean origin is that we eat too much salt.  The same would be for other Black ethnics and South Asians.  Salt has a detrimental effect on blood pressure, which is a contributory of strokes.  So reducing your salt intake significantly can help reduce your blood pressure.  Use natural seasoning where possible and no added salt.

For black Caribbean’s culturally being used to salt may even be a genetic factor where we were enslaved and taken away from our roots in Africa and forced to eat salted foods which in those days were used as preservatives, due to no refridgerators. So foods such as Salt fish, where eaten to survive.  Also ,the fact that we are from a hot country and to disguise the meat starting to turn, we used lots of seasoning and plenty of salt to cure some meats where necessary. 

Then if we take into account the high number of carbohydrates eaten on one plate, yams, green banana, dasheen, potato, coco dumpling coupled with some rice maybe.  This is way too much for the body to handle and absorbe efficiently, so therefore it turns to sugar, which overloads the bodys insulin and then finally turns to fat, which if not used as energy turns to visceral fat.  Visceral fat is the dangerous fat around the organs that can lead to heart disease and other ailments.

Portion size is also an issue.  Again we tend to overload our plates with too much food.  Is this from a time of feeling lack when we were in slavery? Something to ponder.

Not enough fibre or vegetables eaten with meals. 

Sweet tooth – too much sugar in teas, coffees or cakes.  I know that condensed milk is used frequently in most black Caribbean households, so replacing this with bron sugar or honey instead is much healthier option.

 Now coupled with todays factors such as processed foods and take aways as well as fried foods which are all harmful to our general health, but particularly so with heart health. 

So in summary;

  • Reduce salt intake
  • Reduce sugar
  • Review the number of carbs on your plate, allow for 2-3 no more.
  • Grill or oven bake food instead of frying
  • Lightly steam food instead of boiling it to death
  • Add more fibre to your diet – really essential to remove excess fat
  • Add more vegetables to your plate
  • Watch what fruits you eat, all fruits have sugar, some are higher in sugar than others. 
  • Eat more good fats – avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, dark chocolate, flaxseed, oily fish

Supplements to support heart health

SOUL has a number of ingredients to help heart health.

Reservatrol – has found to be beneficial to heart health.

 Black Raspberry is high in antioxidants to support the circulation of oxygen around the brain and body.

Black Cumin Seed – is known for it high antioxidant and anti inflammatory nature, also helps to improve blood flow and circulation.

D-Ribose – a natural sugar found in our body that helps to supply energy to our cells

SOUL RED

The major difference in this supplement is the fact that we Used red raspberries which are much higher in anti-oxidants then the common black raspberry priority. We also used black cumin seed oil which is a lot more potent. This product has a higher antioxidant property and is a lot more powerful than the ordinary SOUL In fact SOL RED has an ORACR Factor of 6.0

This supplement is supports heart health, brain function, inflammation and Black Cumin is known to improve blood circulation.

Foods to improve your HEART Health

I’m sure you want to hear which foods can improve your heart health so let me list them here below for you.

I won’t go into each of the properties of these foods, if you wish to do so please do by all means Google the benefits

  • Edamame
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Flaxseed
  • Chia Seed
  • Beetroot
  • Berries
  • Grapes
  • Walnuts

Research by British Herat Foundation

British Heart Foundation (BHF) -funded research has shown that Black Africans, African Caribbeans and South Asians in the UK are at higher risk of developing high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes compared with White Europeans. We need to understand why this is the case so we can beat heartbreak for everyone. 

what Exercise Can You Do To Improve Heart Health?

It has been shown that exercise can also be of benefit to keep the heart healthy. Exercise will help to strengthen the heart muscles. like anything in our body, if it not used enough then it will deteriate. If you suffer from hert issues, then please ensure you consult with your GP fist before starting any strenous regimes.

Here are three types of exercise that are good fore heart health; Aerobics, resistance training and flexibility. Although flexibility doesn’t contribute directly to heart health, it’s nevertheless important because it provides a good foundation for performing aerobic and strength exercises more effectively .

if you have found value with this blog post, please comment below. If you have any questions with regards to nutritional advice I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

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BHF Funded Report

The BHF funded work led by Professor Sir Michael Marmot and colleagues in the late 1980s that revealed that first-generation South Asians living in the UK have a higher rate of coronary heart disease and diabetes compared to White Europeans. Since then we have funded research to understand why South Asians and people from other ethnic minority groups are affected differently by heart and circulatory diseases.

The BHF has supported two major ongoing research studies – called LOLIPOP and SABRE – which aim to reveal how ethnic background can affect the risk of common diseases and conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.

The LOLIPOP study has been following 30,000 volunteers living in West London for nearly 20 years to identify the environmental and genetic factors that contribute to heart disease, stroke and other diseases, and to develop new tools to spot people at increased risk. Among other things, the findings could help uncover why people of Indian ancestry have a higher risk of developing heart diseases.

The SABRE study started over 30 years ago, to study the health of a group of nearly 5,000 people of European, South Asian, African and African Caribbean background in the London boroughs of Brent and Southall. Participants, now in their 70s, 80s and 90s, were recently followed up by the research team led by Professor Nish Chaturvedi at University College London. They found that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes before the age of 80 was roughly double for people with a South Asian and African Caribbean background, compared with White Europeans.

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