The truth is that being healthy is mostly a decision. You make decisions on how you and your family eat. As such, you’re deciding how healthy your family is likely to be. Most of the health issues that plague the Black family can be addressed with changes in what we eat. Therein lies the challenge and the good news for every African American family. Now, what are you going to do about it? Here are seven things you can do that will improve your family’s health.
1. Lower your sodium intake. Too much salt will raise your blood pressure. Many of the foods we eat nowadays are processed and already contain a high dose of sodium. So read the label and get rid of the salt-shaker. There are plenty of other flavorful spices you can use to make your food taste delicious.
2. Enjoy foods high in fat and cholesterol in moderation. Too much fat and bad cholesterol can lead to heart disease. But, let’s face it. Many of the foods that taste best contain the most fat and cholesterol. These foods include soul food, cookies, ice cream, and steak. Well, you do not have to give these up, but you should view these foods as treats. You should not be enjoying them daily.
3. Eat less. Our portions seem to get larger and larger each year. Perhaps we have started super-sizing our portions at home because of what we are given when we eat out. The average restaurant entrée is big enough for two people! Well, do not be fooled. Whether you are eating at home or eating out, do not over eat. Do not allow your eyes to be bigger than your stomach.
4. Eating anything after 8 P.M. is a no-no. Research shows that late night food consumption just adds to weight gain. This is not surprising since we have little physical activity after this time. Plus, late night eating can lead to heartburn, keeping you up all night!
5. Eat slowly. When you eat too quickly, you do not give your brain a chance to signal your stomach that it is full Thus, you are more likely to overeat.
6. Do not skip breakfast. Even if you are not a breakfast person, eat something in the morning. You must break your fast to awaken your metabolism and tell it to get going. Skipping breakfast is likely to just cause you to overeat later in the day. It can also lead to unhealthy snacking prior to your next meal. The vending machine is not your friend.
7. Consult the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid for guidelines about what you should be eating from each food group for your age, gender, size, and activity level.
Skipping breakfast will signal your body that you are trying to starve it and cause you to store the very fat you are working to get rid of.
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