By Amber Wells/ EEW Magazine Health
What does it profit a man to gain his “soul food” and lose his life? This is the question to ponder in light of research that shows high blood pressure rates are highest among African-Americans, which is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 43% of black men and 45.7% of black women develop high blood pressure.
Perhaps it’s time to consider the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet which promotes consumption of more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grain, and less meats and sweets.
Research shows that the DASH diet effectively treats hypertension.
But according to ABC News’ Dr. Khaalisha Ajala, a Duke University study reveals many African-Americans struggle to give up their favorite soul food recipes passed down through generations.
The study, which is published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, based its research findings on 144 overweight subjects and found something unique about African-Americans.
Though participants, regardless of race, preferred unhealthy foods, African-Americans seemed to have a special attachment to their favorite soul food dishes.
Dr. Ajala writes, “Once the study subjects began the DASH diet, African Americans in the program, although highly motivated, noted preference for traditional soul food as the reason why they did not follow all of the dietary restrictions.”
But is a good-tasting meal worth all sorts of health complications and a shortened life span?
Mary Mary’s Erica Campbell recently revealed she suffers from high blood pressure and carried on a Twitter conversation about health prompted by her viewing of CNBC’s Fat & Fatter documentary. The reality TV star and mom of three shared this quote: “You don’t care what people say, you enjoy your food, but you’re eating yourself to death.”
“My patients, who are largely an African-American population, battle high blood pressure at staggering numbers,” says Dr. Ajala. “Even my family members who battle high blood pressure could lower their blood pressure if they just changed their diet. Why is it so hard?”
Good question. Why is it so hard?