All Articles Tagged "health"
Before you grab that morning cup of coffee on an empty stomach, that lunchtime slice of pizza, or indulge in a steak dinner or ice cream while watching TV, understand that what you eat and when you eat it can lead to stomach upset. It can also trigger more severe issues in your gut. On the flip side, there are some foods that when eaten at certain times of day may soothe already existing stomach issues or may even prevent stomach ailments from occurring down the line. We spoke with Dr. Gina Sam Assistant Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York who offers insights on what and when to eat certain foods for a healthy gut.
Check out which foods are best for morning, noon and night…
My cousin recently died at the age of 45. He passed just shy of his 46th birthday and nearly lived long enough to have scheduled heart surgery that could have likely saved his life. I was stunned, depressed and confused after he went back to the essence.
How did this happen? Why wasn’t I able to help? Where did we go wrong?, I questioned.
After his passing, I continue to battle with something that I wrestle with in life. Frankly, Black man and fathers die younger than everybody else in the United States. (Native American men are the single exception.)
My father died in his 40’s and before he died, several of his friends died in their 30’s and 40’s. They left a trail of tears, widows, children and lifelong mourning. I’d later realize that this was a tragic norm for people of color, specifically African Americans. Our men die young. Period.
So, I did some research to back up my views on this.
Ravages Of Racism
It’s a proven fact that racism, or even perceived racism, gradually and viciously wears down its victims. Men are not exclusively succumbing to racism, but we now know that it is a quiet killer. Lisa Wade, PhD, wrote a story on the dire effects of racism and proclaimed: “Directly and indirectly, racism kills.” A study by PLOS One backs this up stating that a, “unique constellation of environmental stressors and psychosocial challenges experienced by Blacks” accelerates “declines in health and generates racial disparities.”
Most people don’t know the “mere” feeling of of red and blue lights in the rearview as a Black man. I have to tell you it is terror. However, that’s the tail end of it all. From a very young age, I realized that we were in a constant, never-ending war of attrition with racism. And it wears you down until it kills you overtly or through one of its agents. In fact, areas which more readily use the n-word account for an “8.2 percent increase in mortality among Blacks,” says Dr. Wade, citing the severity of racism in those areas.
One of racism’s mightiest agents is stress. Stress is something people generally deal with, but for Black fathers, I feel it’s exacerbated. It leads to other things. Studies say too much stress results in emotional strain, heart disease, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, insomnia, fatigue, and depression Let me speak from the heart, I have experienced every one of these symptoms, but fortunately have made overt steps to reduce the stress of fatherhood, running a company and other factors like negative relationships. Don’t even get me started on the trauma of seeing murdered Black men shared on social media – over and over and over and over again. Pure stress.
Health And Cash Rule Everything Around Me
Health and money are absolutely linked in how long you live. Somehow, wage disparities along racial lines still exists even though the practice was made illegal when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. Fact is, socioeconomics are a major factor in differences between the death rates between Black and White fathers. So, when you have all of the issues created by the stress and the racism, we typically deal with it differently than others. They go to a therapist. We go to the liquor store. We have a fundamental mistrust of doctors, rooted in history. They don’t mind the flu shot. Clearly these are not absolutes, but you know much of this to be true. Obamacare was helpful to some, but it still costs money to have.
Then there are other factors. Men, especially Black men, are less inclined to seek medical attention when they are sick or unwell. This was the case for my father. He simply waited too late and dismissed my mother’s words for him to go to the doctor. Typically men engage in jobs or other activities that can result in early death. Men do some stupid things, but a lot of us also work very hard. We tend to drink too much, smoke more, fight more, have accidents more, eat poorly and go to jail more. For Black men, jail is a big one, because we know that we are disproportionately targeted, jailed and consumed by the injustice systems here in America. The movie “The 13th” is perfectly timed to articulate this travesty of justice.
There are some things we cannot avoid. Dad bods are all the rage, but they also ensure that we typically die before others. A few of my dad’s friends died from obesity. Others, suffered from heart attacks. The bigger the body, the more it takes to keep it alive. When I was working 18-20 hour days, I ballooned in weight and literally hated myself. However, after I smartened up, I focused on my health – for myself and my daughter. My father, who also wrestled with his weight, was a bigger man than I am. I always kept his issues and challenges in the frontal lobe of my brain so that I don’t repeat his mistakes. In that way, he continues to guide me. My cousin – I found later – faced many issues – diabetes, heart issues and obesity. If I’m honest, I figured some of this would be an issue later down the line, but I assumed things would work out. I assumed wrong.
We Are Weaker Than We Think…
In Sunday’s sermon, a female pastor at my church said, “Warriors are weak.” I found the statement profound, but it made me think. We Black fathers often wear titles like “Superman,” “King,” or whatever cloak of invincibility we choose to adopt. Our Black men have been under siege here in America and continue to be. It’s not a competition so we recognize thoroughly that our women have been too. Men just die sooner. In my opinion, it is largely because women recognize their weaknesses whereas men believe the myth they are not weak at all. So women address their body’s health readily, read wellness magazines and they gather to talk about them, even if it’s to vent. Men don’t talk to each other about anything but hip-hop, sports, women, racism, some politics and a bunch of there stuff that generally amounts to very little. We always stress over money. Honestly, I have some close friends and I would call it a “Black Male Support Group” of sorts. If we could only scale it to the rest of Black America.
A lot of men are strong, but often ignore other forms of strength like endurance. They often lack mental might to weather the storms that the body struggles with. There is some good news on this front. National suicide trends are on the rise, but with Black men it is on the decline. While the suicide rate may be shrinking, we may be killing ourselves in other ways. All the aforementioned reasons, which include environmental factors, disease, and violence, are additional causes for early death in Black fathers.
Lastly, some Black men just tap out. They give up, dying before their time.
Fitness Trainer And Bodybuilding Champ Dekel “Bowflex Barbie” Nesbitt Says Stop Confusing Muscularity With Masculinity
It’s pretty tough being a woman — especially when it comes to dealing with body image. For instance, there is so much conversation about skinny women and plus-size women, but very little conversation and thought given to women in between. Another example? If you’re too big, people want you to lose weight, but if you drop more than they expected, then you’re told “Don’t lose too much!” And one of the most annoying instances is when you decide to take control of your health, build muscle to be stronger, and eat better, only to have people say that your form is “too much” or that you look manly. That’s been the experience of many fitness enthusiasts who are muscular, take part in bodybuilding competitions, and make greater use of their bodies than looking good in Instagram pics. But for Bahamian-born trainer and champion bodybuilder Dekel “Bowflex Barbie” Nesbitt, she’s not letting other people’s perceptions of what’s “soft,” “appropriate” and “womanly” hold her back. We talked to the 23-year-old fitness enthusiast, social media star, 2016 National Figure Champion and 2015 Central America & Caribbean gold medalist. She explained when and why she got into bodybuilding, talked about men being intimidated by her, and why people tend to confuse muscularity with masculinity. Here’s what she had to say about all of that, and how you too can smash your fitness goals and get active.
MadameNoire: You’re pretty young! What inspired you to start taking bodybuilding seriously? Have you always been active and fit? If not, how did you start taking your health seriously in terms of exercise and how you eat?
Dekel Nesbitt: My love for fitness and lifting weights began when I was 14 after losing my mom to breast cancer. It was my outlet, and to this day, still is. Growing up I was always very athletic and active and played volleyball in college for two years as well. I had always been afraid of the bodybuilding stage up until 2015 when I decided to just go for it. I really liked that it added a lot of structure to my training and gave me a real goal and challenge to train for. Bodybuilding showed me the difference between eating for my goals and eating healthy. Before bodybuilding I ate healthy as I came from a family that did, but bodybuilding took healthy eating to a whole new level for me. It really has shown me how we really do wear what we eat and that our bodies are truly a reflection of what we put into them.
MN: Were you ever intimidated by the idea of bulking up? A lot of women like to say that they don’t want to lift weights and do resistance training because they don’t want to get “too muscular.”
DN: I was never scared of the idea. Realistically, the amount of testosterone that a woman would have to naturally produce to be “bulky” is unrealistic. But even before I knew the science behind it, all I knew was that what I was doing was for me. So as long as I was happy with how I looked and felt, I was satisfied. I began lifting solely as therapy, so getting “too muscular ” was never a fear of mine — though I was reminded not to get “too muscular “quite often.
MN: Do you find that men are intimidated by you in terms of dating, or have things been copacetic? Do you try and get to know guys who also participate in bodybuilding competitions?
DN: It’s funny you ask that. I do know I intimidate a lot of men. One of my favorite quotes is that “Strong women only intimidate weak men.” My boyfriend is a bodybuilder as well and I find that he gives me genuine support because he knows exactly how much time, effort, energy and dedication it takes to do what I do. He makes a conscious effort to make my life as easy as possible in any way that he can. That’s super important as a competitor and as a woman to know that your man truly loves, supports you and has your back.
MN: Why do you think people confuse muscularity with masculinity and say it’s “too much”?
DN: I think that society has taught us to accept the norm for women to be fragile and weak, and for men to be dominant and strong. So when a woman appears to look physically strong, they often connect it to a masculine appearance. The “too much” aspect I think is often linked to the fact that they themselves, whether man or woman, cannot achieve that look or close to it, so they label it as “too much.”
MN: And why is it important for you to encourage other women of color to be more open-minded about bodybuilding?
DN: I think a lot of Black women naturally have the build to excel in the sport. Bodybuilding also has changed my life so much for the better. It has opened opportunities and ignited self-discovery on so many levels for me. I just really want more women in general to experience what I get to as a competitor.
MN: Living in the Bahamas, how has your look and ambition when it comes to bodybuilding and fitness, with Barbie Bowflex Fitness, been received by people?
DN: For the most part, people are extremely supportive. They recognize I’m passionate about what I do know and knowledgeable in my field. The support has really been amazing from fellow Bahamians and people all over, as I do offer online services as well.
MN: What advice would you give to women who are struggling to get moving and active? As you stated, the statistics when it comes to the health of Black women aren’t so great. But it does seem as though social media has given many women of color inspiration to be more active by being able to see fitness enthusiasts like yourself.
DN: My advice is to just stop putting it off. Stop making excuses and just start. It doesn’t have to be in the gym. It can be as simple as starting to walk or jog 3-4 times a week. I think a lot of women are afraid of being judged when they go to the gym or some don’t know what to do, but that’s not an excuse to not be active. Another favorite quote of mine is “effort over excuses.” Dropping the excuses and giving 100 percent into creating the best possible version of yourself is so worth it. With the horrible statistics of Black women and obesity, it’s a breath of fresh air to see so many Black fitness women coming to the forefront on social media who can inspire and motivate women of all walks of life to take control of their health and get active.
If you’re interested in taking part in Nesbitt’s online services, being trained by her, or just watching her training regimen, follow her on Instagram at @bowflexbarbiefitness and go to her website, bowflexbarbie.com.
Have you ever found yourself cradling your head in your hands because of a post-period migraine?
Well a new study in Headache- the Journal of Head And Face Pain claims that women get such headaches after their menstrual cycle ends because of the amount of blood loss they experience during the month.
By investigating the medical records of 115 women who had menstrual-related migraines, Headache found 85 percent of women had migraines while they had their periods, while 35 percent experienced migraines after their cycles ended. Those who had end-of-cycle migraines shared that their headaches usually lasted for two-and-a-half days.
The reason women had such pain was because of low levels of ferritin (a protein in the blood that contains iron). “According to the researchers, these low iron levels could result from menstrual blood loss and interfere with the neurotransmitter dopamine. They concluded that end-menstrual migraines probably come from anemia, not drops in the hormone estradiol (as was previously theorized),” Glamour wrote.
Kathleen Digre, MD, said in an interview with Med Page Today, that despite this study claiming migraines are triggered by the lack of iron a woman has, typically, period-related headaches are triggered by the fluctuation of hormones. Therefore, making it difficult to pinpoint what actually causes them.
To be on the safe side, it’s recommended that women who experience a lot of blood loss during their menstrual cycle, exercise and eat iron-fueled food such as lamb, dark greens or whole grains. Eating these foods will help balance your hormones and keep your iron levels up.
When you’re not ready to be pregnant, a late period is one of the scariest things in the world to deal with. You start to assume every slight change in your body is its way of telling you that you’re with child. But don’t buy every brand of pregnancy test in the drug store aisle just yet. There are quite a few reasons your period could be late — even if it usually comes like clockwork.
Check out these foods, lifestyle changes and even vacations that can actually disrupt your schedule. However, if your period continues to arrive off schedule for some time, you should probably see your doctor. Any period changes that last more than a month or so should be checked out.
If a situation is real enough to occupy your mind most of the time, it’s real enough to make your period late. And if stress really is the problem, your period might continue to be late until you find ways to relax.
We told you yesterday of the sad passing of actor Tommy Ford, who played the beloved Tommy Strawn on Martin and Lt. Malcolm Barker on New York Undercover. The actor died at 52 after being put on life support when an aneurysm burst in his abdomen. Many people are aware of aneurysms in the brain, but very few of us know much about an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is just as deadly and hard to detect. After hearing that it was the cause of Ford’s death, we thought it would be good to gather up more information on it. The more you know…
About The Aorta
According to the Mayo Clinic, the aorta, which is about as thick as a garden hose, “runs form your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen.” When you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm, a dangerous amount of blood is released when a rupture occurs, as the aorta is the main supplier of blood to the body.
According to experts, signs and symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm are few and far between, so they can be hard to detect ahead of time. They can grow slowly, and some never rupture, but some also grow quickly and do indeed rupture, causing life-threatening bleeding. If one gets large, there’s a chance you might find yourself dealing with back pain and abdominal pain, but, again, an abdominal aortic aneurysm can grow without symptoms.
You may be able to track this form of an aneurysm if your doctor examines your abdomen during a visit and notices a lump in it, a “pulsating sensation,” or an abdomen that feels stiff. It can also be tracked when expansion is less advanced through an ultrasound of the abdomen, a CT scan, or a computed tomographic angiogram when preparing for a surgery.
Causes for an abdominal aortic aneurysm, brought about when the wall of the aorta weakens as it expands, are relatively unknown. But according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s publication, Medline, your risk for this increases if you smoke, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, are male, and have certain genetic factors. The site reports that an “abdominal aortic aneurysm is most often seen in males over age 60 who have one or more risk factors.” In Ford’s case, he was only 52.
If Complications from Other Surgeries Cause It
Two weeks ago, Ford had knee replacement surgery. While some wondered if complications from that may have played a part in the actor’s aneurysm, Carol Richardson-Te, M.D. told Hollywood Life that other surgeries and procedures, specifically one done on the knee, wouldn’t have anything to do with an aneurysm.
“An aneurysm is an abnormality in a blood vessel wall,” she said. “Most of the time this is something that we don’t pick up unless we find them incidentally or they become symptomatic. Sometimes people will complain of headaches, dizziness or things like that and we scan their brains and we find it. They are not always deadly. You can find it and a neurosurgeon can go in there and clip it, it is a intervention where they try to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing. A knee surgery would not cause an aneurysm. The aneurysm is totally unrelated.”
If caught before a rupture, the outlook for someone with an enlarged aorta can be good. But on the flip side, if it ruptures, it’s been found that only one in five people survive it. The Cleveland Clinic says that in early expansion cases, going to the doctor to be observed every few months could suffice. However, if things are bad and you need surgery, options include open surgical repair, or a stent-graft being placed in your body to help prevent a rupture and give your body a new channel through which blood can flow.
A new study by the University Of Edinburgh has discovered that human ovaries may be able to grow more eggs in adulthood. If this notion proves to be true, it will discredit the theory that modern science has accepted as truth: women are born with only a set number of eggs and once they reach their mid-30s their eggs drastically decline before their bodies prepare for menopause.
According to Cosmopolitan, this study found that cancer patients who were given chemotherapy had a higher quantity of eggs in their ovaries than their peers who didn’t have cancer.
Professor Evelyn Telfer, who led the study told The Guardian: “This was something remarkable and completely unexpected for us. The tissue appeared to have formed new eggs. The dogma is that the human ovary has a fixed population of eggs and that no new eggs form throughout life.”
Initially, the purpose of the study was to investigate why the chemotherapy drug ABVD doesn’t cause infertility in cancer patients, proving that scientists and doctors alike have not fully studied how the ovaries work in the human body. But Professor Telfer states we shouldn’t jump to conclusions just yet. “There’s so much we don’t know about the ovary. We have to be very cautious about jumping to clinical applications,” she said.
Professor Telfer also noted that despite the promises of this new research, fertility clinics should not make use of it just yet.
Kenny Rodriguez-Wallberg who works as a senior consultant at Karolinska University Hospital, shared with the Guardian his own thoughts on the matter: “I think that these findings, and the identification of the mechanisms involved, may pave the way for development of new fertility treatments or extend women’s reproductive span by replenishment of the ovaries with new follicles. It suggests that the ovary is indeed a more complex and versatile organ than we have been taught, or that we expected, with an inherent capacity of renewal.”
The new eggs produced from cancer patients who were given ABVD appeared to be similar to the eggs pre-pubescent girls carry and are not necessarily fully matured. The Guardian also revealed that during the study Professor Telfer and her team were uncertain as to whether the eggs could be fertilized.
It’s happened to all of us: You thought you were doing pretty well in the healthy eating and exercise department. However, you climbed on the scale this morning and it said differently. So you took your shoes off (just to be sure) and stepped on it again, but the verdict was the same. You’ve put on a few pounds.
It’s natural to want to jump into action when you’re surprised with a number you didn’t think you were anywhere near. But making certain certain changes after you’ve gained weight can actually cause you to put on a few more pounds. With that being said, skip those moves and try these ones instead.
What Not to Do: Skip Meals
It feels like the quickest way to take off a few pounds, but it won’t pay off in the long run. Skipping meals actually slows your metabolism down and can cause you to overeat once you finally consume something.
One positive about this climate that we’re living in in America today is that there is such a renewed sense of purpose. The going has gotten tough and we have stepped up to the challenge with a fierceness. Especially, Black women.
We are at the forefront of so many movements from Black Lives Matter to #TrustBlackWomen and their very important work in the reproductive justice field, to Mama Tanya’s fight for food justice in the South Bronx. Food justice? Yes. Some of us don’t know what it means or the impact that it has on our communities, but we should. Thankfully, Mama Tanya is here to explain what we need to know about it and how her BLK ProjeK is finding sustainable solutions. Plus, she’s spilling the deets on her exciting ‘”Not Just Talk: #BlackMamaMagic” Conference taking place this weekend in New York City.
Mommynoire: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Mama Tanya: I’m Tanya Fields and I’m a fierce mama bear of six children. My oldest is 14 years old and my youngest is 11 months. I’m from Harlem, but due to gentrification I ended up in the South Bronx where I’ve lived for the past 15 years. I’m a public speaker and executive director and founder of a South Bronx-based feminist food organization called the BLK ProjeK.
What exactly is food justice?
Food justice is the ability to feed you, yourself, and your folk, easily accessible, high quality, sustainable food free of toxic chemicals at an affordable price.
How did you get into this work?
I “got into” food justice work as a response to the needs of my family, an asthmatic daughter whose food needs I could not adequately meet because of the lack of quality food in our immediate community. So in 2009, I started the BLK (Black) ProjeK, a women-led feminist food organization that seeks to create economic development opportunities for Black mothers and Mothers of color and their children, using the local and good food movement.
How does it work?
For example, we run an urban farm and the food is sold to the community off of a re-purposed food bus. The women who run it are all black women and mothers from the community. All the interns we use are paid, because I believe in paying people for their work, and 98% are young black women from the community.
It is my firm belief that solutions need to come from members of the community who are most impacted by these disparities because we can solve our own problems, problems that oftentimes were not created by us, but for which we already hold the solutions. It was important to me that we fight for and create access to the resources that allow us to do so in an autonomous way free from racism and sexism and other pathologies that often perpetuate themselves when “others” come into our communities to solve them for us.
Tell us about your “Not Just Talk: #BlackMamaMagic” Conference this weekend.
This year we chose “Not Just Talk: #BlackMamaMagic” because we wanted to create a space that celebrates motherhood while deconstructing many of the isms that make it difficult to mother. Ayanna Jones was sleep and the police knew there was a child in there and they went in with a no-knock warrant and they set this girl on fire with a tear gas can and shot her in the head. She went to sleep and she never woke up. Tamir Rice was playing with a toy gun [when the police killed him], and while a significant number of us wept over this tragedy, there were way too many of us who were ready to jump on his mama. This woman lost her child and we couldn’t hold compassion for her then and that is the kind of pathology that made me say that we need a space for each other to have some uncomfortable conversations, and we need to do it away from the white gaze. We need to come together as a family and handle this.
What will the conference cover?
It’s a very inclusive intergenerational and multigenerational space. We have a transgender mother who will be speaking about her experience, we have speakers with grown children and little babies, we have made sure to include the LGBTQ community, and those who have dealt with incarceration. We have a youth panel and we’re providing childcare so we’re encouraging mothers to bring their kids. If you’re not local you can pay $15 for a live stream link, and you will be able to watch the different panels and workshops in your living room with a baguette and your wine and cheese.
Sounds like ya’ll have it covered! What would you like see happen as a result of this conference?
I would really like to see this inspire more people and black-led organizations to create spaces that are specifically Black mother and black child centered that concentrate on healing and come from a place of love and not just trying pathologize or criminalize us. I want us to create standards for ourselves.
Angela Simmons has always been pretty serious about health and fitness. If you follow her on social media, you know that she is a vegetarian, and before giving birth, she worked out pretty extensively. During her pregnancy, she also made time to work up a pretty mean sweat, which some of her followers were critical of.
But it seems that all of that hard work paid off. The 29-year-old recently headed back to the gym for the first time since giving birth to her son — 13 days ago. The response from her followers was a unanimous “What baby?!”
Simmons made her return to the gym rocking high-waisted leggings, a zip-up jacket and a sports bra that showed off her stomach. Looking good, sis!
Simmons, who stated that she struggled somewhat with her weight over the years cleaned up her diet and made her health a priority. She started working out every day and mixed up her exercise, sometimes doing strength training, other days doing cardio, even trying her hand at boxing. That’s how she obtained her rock-hard abs and, based on her latest post, how she plans to get back to her pre-baby size.
When speaking on her commitment to health and fitness, Simmons said a few years back that she’s not training for anything other than to be the best version of herself.
“I’m really self motivated and really into health/fitness,” she told ATLNightSpots. “What keeps me motivated is that the results are worth it, and there’s no better feeling than sweating it out at the gym after a long day or to start my day!”