Category Archives: BlackHealth365

Smoke Unfurling: The Hidden Effects Of Incense

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If you’re like me, incense lighting is a daily ritual. I come home from a exhausting day at work, make a pot of chamomile tea, and release the aromatic “Egyptian Musk” or “Amber” smoke into the air to unwind for the night. This practice is super relaxing, not to mention the scents are addictive, but coming home from the polluted air of a bustling city to a room filled with scented smoke can’t be good for respiratory health. Our lungs require fresh oxygen as much as possible. When this need isn’t met, an array of health issues can arise, from asthma flare ups to lung infections and many other annoyances you’d be wise to try and avoid.

Globally, incense burning has been practiced for thousands of years for various uses such as invoking gods, purifying the atmosphere, entering into transcendental states, and to drive away demons. With origins in Ancient Egypt, this ritual can be found today in highly spiritual places like China, India, Japan, Tibet, and even here in America. 
Eygptian-God-Ra-WorshipWhile the exact contents of all incense aren’t fully known, most incense is made from a combination of fragrant gums, resins, wood powders, herbs and spices. This include its various forms from powder, cone, soil, and sticks. Current clinical studies have revealed many contaminants within incense smoke, including pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulfur, formaldehyde, nitrogen oxide, and volatile organic compounds, all of which wreak havoc in the body’s respiratory & nervous systems when overexposed and cause people to be at a higher risk for developing cancer in the upper respiratory tract. Symptoms of overexposure include, but aren’t limited to the following: nose & throat irritation, dizziness, headaches, nausea, asthma inflammation, and weakness. 

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I love incense and wish to continue safely burning the herb & spice based aroma sticks for relaxation. Avoid the symptoms of chemical overexposure by opening windows up wide and turning on fans while lighting the strong smelling mixtures in your homes or sit outside while using to avoid the negative side effects, which can mimic those of inhaling second hand cigarette smoke. Practice ventilation when lighting incense and let fresh air be the main healing substance you inhale on a daily. 

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Dairy Milk vs. Alternatives: Your Bones Deserve Better

Time and time again we’ve been told dairy milk is an essential staple to the human diet, that we need it in order to be well. It has been promoted by the dairy industry as one of the only sources of calcium. Without it you run the risk of being calcium-deficient and possibly developing osteoporosis. Is there truth to this statement or yet another genius marketing strategy by a lucrative big business?

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For starters, dairy milk is in fact a source of calcium, an essential mineral for bone density. The highest source when consumed in it’s raw state. The catch is, raw milk is illegal in most places here in the U.S., so what’s sold in stores all across this country is most likely pasteurized. This pasteurization process strips the creamy substance down to a watery, non-nutritious, hormone infested pus that should not be consumed by humans.

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Raw milk from organic dairy farms is booming with nutritional benefits. The complex whole food has been used to diminish allergy symptoms, eczema, and asthma symptoms. In addition, studies show that raw dairy milk consumption promotes the production of good bacteria in the body and increases the likelihood of healthy weight gain. Dairy products sold nationwide are not unpasteurized, therefore most of the milk and calcium alternatives are safer and healthier to consume.

 

Foods like dark leafy greens, almonds, broccoli, dried figs, beans, black strap molasses, and salmon are calcium-rich alternatives to milk. With the rise of health consciousness and people converting into vegetarians & vegans, calcium/vitamin D fortified milk substitutes created from almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, coconuts, and soy are becoming more popular in delivering our nutritional needs. The Silk brand almond milk contains 50% more calcium and vitamin D than dairy milk. It is said that fig juice was used in ancient Africa, as a replacement for human breast milk because of their high calcium and potassium content which helps to reduce the loss of calcium in urine.

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Knowing the state of dairy here in the U.S. and the benefits of alternatives, it is wise to weigh your options and make the whatever decision you feel is best for you. We recommend frequently incorporating the foods listed above into your diet if raw unpasteurized milk is not an option. Your bones and overall bodily health will thank you for ceasing to pollute your being with the added toxins present in dairy, replacing the source of needed minerals like calcium from milk & cheese to whole foods.

Fall Care. For the Cold Season.

Sweaters, boots, hoodies, Thanksgiving, Halloween, falling leaves, pumpkin spice ?!?!? Yes, pumpkin spice. If you haven’t noticed yet, fall is here and it is here to stay. Along with the perks of Fall, our bodies and minds have to adjust to this transitioning season.  Although it is hard to let go of the blazing sun and the great ordeals of summer, Fall brings great things. We promise! 

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The season is breaking and AfroMadu is here to help you stay healthy and safe through the cold weather!

  1. Vitamins Double Time:
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    A diet rich in antioxidant vitamins and nutrients can boost immunity to help fight infection.
    Top antioxidants include vitamins C and E, plus beta-carotene and zinc. To get enough of these antioxidants in your diet, step up the intake of unprocessed fruits and vegetables. This isn’t realistic for everyone, with obstacles like budget constraints and busy schedules. Thankfully there are many supplements for these antioxidants at your local drug store, which come in the form of chewy candy, gum, pills or drinks.
  2. Rest Up:
    Our T-Cells or T lymphocytes count decreases when we are sleep deprived. These cells play a major role in the mechanism of our immune system. Getting adequate amounts is imperative – usually 7 to 9 hours for an adult.
  3. Water, Water, Water!:
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    As if AfroMadu doesn’t stress this enough, too little fluid in our body hinders the efficient working of the blood and lymph systems which reduces energy and contributes to a sluggish feeling.  You’re probably thinking about when you can get to your next cup of coffee or warm apple cider but you need to stay hydrated, and the only way to properly do so is with water! Eight to ten glasses a day is recommended.

4. Exercise:Regular exercise increases the level of leukocytes, an immune system cell that fights infection. Exercise also is associated with increased release of endorphins, natural hormones that pump up your sense of well being and improve sleep quality, both of which have positive effects on your immune system.

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5. Hygiene: This goes without saying, wash your hands often! Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on deck! Keep a pack of tissues on hand!

No excuses. I wish you all a healthy, prosperous cold season!

Protect Your Feet!

Summer is slowly leaving and Fall is beginning to approach. And with the thought that your favorite flip flops will be put in the back of a closet and those fall boots and flats will be back on the scene, might put a little hole in everyone’s heart. But before we decide to put those fall shoes to work, or even buy new ones, let’s begin to make better decisions on the two things that are the most important for your lifetime: Your feet! 

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It is BEYOND important to worry about your foot health. I mean think about it this way, if you don’t, who will? Making sure that finding the perfect shoe, for example, along with the perfect fit can not only make your feet feel super comfortable but will save them for your later years.

People who suffer from things like arthritis, muscle and tendon problems, toe and joint injuries, and just overall jacked up feet are very popular today. In fact 7 out of 10 people will eventually have drastic foot conditions, all of which can be preventable. How is it preventable you ask? AfroMadu always knows….

Unknown-17Understanding the strain point in your feet, for starters, is really crucial to maintaining good feet health. When you are on your feet all day, what part of your foot hurts the most? whether it is the heel, arch or the front of your foot, finding that shoe that supports your strain points will not only your strain points, but it will allow you to stay on your feet a little longer. 

Exercise, as always, is another good way to protect your feet. Cardio and recreational activities keeps the blood flow and muscles moving, while it straightens and tones the shape of your feet. 

Yoga, especially, has been a great practice to take care of your feet. Having yoga instructors called them the “root of the body”, their are poses and different techniques used in yoga to maintain and circulate blood flow in feet, and along the spinal cord and back.  

All in All, these strategies can strengthen and heal your feet. Longevity is super prominent for the two walkers that will keep you well and active. Training and toning might not be the first thing you think about when you want to get healthy, but it should be. Pay attention to those feet, you are going to need them forever!   

Working out the New Trend?

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Obesity rates are rising and the government seems to be clueless as to why great amounts of Americans are becoming overweight and healthy. It is because they choose to become obese? Can people afford to be healthy?

Maintaining health in America today is another burden that citizens have to worry about. Between high priced health care in order to obtain daily checkups and proper treatments, to the high cost of organic and healthy food, the odds of living a healthful life is SUPER hard. People result in surviving off of the things that they can afford which means consuming fatty, processed food and sugary drinks that are in their price range rather than fresh fruits, vegetables and essentials to proper eating.

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..But there is hope. Trends of working out and staying fit has been the latest talk, especially during the summer, for people to work out on beach bodies and keeping fit for the summer. More gyms and weight rooms are making a come back in business and stores are  promoting and selling more workout clothes and paraphernalia. Is working out the new trend?

It is definitely time for us to wake up when it comes to our health. In the Black community ESPECIALLY we lack the desire to eat healthier and stay fit. Its time for a change. The constant excuse of being to busy or not having a budget for working out is probably the lamest one. We cannot continue to let our laziest control us!

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In the beautiful summer season, really think about your eating and fit habits. It doesn’t take a lot to develop healthy habits and stay fit. Here’s a few small tips for take control of your health!

Exercise: Running is one of the best ways to start your work out journey. Waking up 30 mins before work or school and running around the block every morning can make a huge difference in dominating cardio and beginning to get healthier. If running is too hard to start at first, walking can always be the beginning. Not only will you look better but feel better from the energy that was used.

Water: A free natural source that everyone has access to? WATER! Enough with the sugary drinks. All they do is give you more muffin to the top. Substitute water for every time you decide to drink a can of soda are a juice drink. It works in a million ways.

Educate Yourself: Nothing is better than learning more about your health and what you can do to improve it. Continue to read about tips, testimonies, workout plans, and other health and fitness stuff you can find. Knowing is Power!

It is clear that working out is becoming a trend so why not hop on this healthy bandwagon! This is could be the start of something life changing so start today!

The Health Risks of Soda!

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Everyone thinks that a cheap soft drink can do the trick to quickly quench a bad thirst, but is it worth risking your health? Check out the danger that your body can be in by choosing that bottled soda!

1. Weight Gain: As you may know, the amount of sugar in a can a soda is ridiculous! added sugar, with added calories ultimately puts more pounds on your body. Want to gain unhealthy pounds? keep chugging that coke!

2. Osteoporosis:  Studies have shown that a leading ingredient, phosphoric acid, in a cola sucks calcium out of bones, causing osteoporosis to some soda drinkers. Simply drinking 4 sodas a week can increase your chances of  loosing calcium in the bones by 4%.

3. Diabetes: Because of the huge sugar intake and consumption from more than one can of soda, diabetes is twice as likely to develop type 2 in your system.

*additional risks include heart attacks, stroke, cell damage, rotten teeth, and PLENTY of others.* 

Not to scare you about your life as an avid soda drinker, but its time for a change. Begin to substitute those “cans-of-death” with things that are actually good and healthy for you. Water? why not?!  Need something sweet? 100% fruit juice. Still want more sweets? Grab a fruit. 

Take control of your health. 

Veggieville: Becoming a Vegetarian.

Thinking about becoming a vegetarian? Well AfroMadu is here to help you with the information you need to decide whether this would be the decision for you!

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Vegetarianism is becoming a popular trend in 2013 with many different pop figures supporting it. Names spreading from Justin Timberlake with his lyrics speaking on “Veganville” to former President Bill Clinton and his story of his transition to a full vegan diet and how it has helped him tremendously with his heart problems.
Over 4 percent of teens are vegetarians, which may not seem like much, but that is a 1 percent rise from 2007 and only 5% of our TOTAL population is vegetarian, so teens are playing a huge part in this trend and will continue to do so.

Vegetarians at minimum refrain from eating all animal flesh, including meat, poultry, fish and other seafood.Vegetarians do eat beans,grains, fruits, and vegetables, but disagree about animal-derived foods other than flesh. Lacto vegetarians accept dairy, Lacto Ovo vegetarians both dairy and eggs. Vegans refrain from eggs, dairy and often honey. There are about 6-8 million vegetarians in America today,and that number is growing as many people are starting to want to cleanse themselves physically as well as spiritually.

Vegetarian diets are “healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment” of diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Veggie diets are “appropriate” even during “pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence and for athletes.” Being a vegetarian also helps the environment as you are cutting down on the use of greenhouse gases, pesticides, and the slaughtering of over 10 BILLION animals yearly. It is by far one of the greatest steps you can take against these issues. Vegetarians also live longer as being vegetarian expands your life expectancy by 3.6 years. There is even research stating that vegetarians are 40% less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters.

images-54Vegetarians must pay particular attention to eating enough protein, iron, calcium, omega 3 fatty acids, and Vitamin B12. Vegans need B12 supplements or B12-fortified plant foods to maintain their health, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group. Vegetarians must also be careful for  hidden animal-based ingredients such as rennet or the milk protein  casein.  If you aspire to be a vegetarian you should also work on menu and holiday planning, grocery shopping, being open to the questioning and skepticism of meat eaters.
These are challenges but realize that you are joining a minority group of people and have to deal with the obstacles the majority places in front of you (which should be nothing new for the black community).

From a personal perspective, I see little to no negatives to becoming vegetarian. It seems like a major step in maintaining a healthy and energetic body, you avoid so much of this world’s fillers and processed garbage. It is a huge step and I haven’t even taken the final step as I still eat chicken. Breaking a habit as strong and
consistent as eating is extremely difficult but the benefits outweigh the cons by a longshot and it’s all worth the reward to me. This article feels like the final step for me and could and probably will mark the beginning of my vegetarian journey. Hopefully this article will help you decide if this is the move for you.

Regardless, be happy, be healthy, be empowered.