By Tamiya King
It’s important to highlight the ways in which Black men can lead healthier lives. While there are health issues that generally affect men more than women, there are some ailments that are specific to Black men. Men tend to have an aversion to going to the doctor, so taking some preventative measures could lower the chances of certain illnesses before a doctor visit is necessary. Of course, seeing a physician for regular checkups is highly recommended. Here are some of the ways that Black men can better their health in order to achieve their goals, contribute to their families and enjoy the best that life has to offer.
Check Your Heart
Heart disease affects 1 in every 3 men in some form. Black men account for 100,000 more deaths related to cardiovascular disease than White men, according to the American Heart Association. Getting fresh air and exercise and adopting a healthy diet that includes whole grains and healthy proteins such as fish, beans and lean cuts of chicken or beef can reduce the risk of heart disease. It is also advised that Black men find effective and healthy ways to reduce stress in order to prevent cardiovascular disease. This could include quality family time, adopting a spiritual practice or catching up with old friends. Routine checkups are also one of the best ways for Black men to know the actual condition of their hearts, in case lifestyle changes are necessary.
Black men are more likely to die from lung cancer than any other racial group. And, smoking is still the number one cause of lung cancer. COPD and emphysema are also chronic lung diseases that can affect men who smoke. Replacing smoking with a healthy habit like jogging or cooking dinner each night can reduce cravings for cigarettes. Supplements like St. John’s wort, which is also beneficial for the heart, can also be used to reduce the anxiety and depression that make come with the process of becoming smoke-free.
Maintain Prostate Health
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, African American men are more likely to develop this disease than Caucasian men, and are 2.4 times more likely to die from prostate cancer. Medical care (or lack thereof), along with lifestyle and dietary habits are believed to contribute to this alarming statistic. Studies also reveal that 1 in 4 Black men will get prostate cancer, and men with a close relative who has prostate cancer are 2.5 times more likely to get the disease themselves. The Mayo Clinic suggests adopting a low-fat, reduced calorie diet that is low in dairy products could reduce prostate cancer risk.
Health studies continue to indicate that making positive adjustments to one’s daily life can have a huge impact on African American men and their well-being. There’s even data that reveals that specific foods like broccoli, Brazil nuts and fresh fish should be staples in a Black man’s diet. These simple tips could make a big difference in the health of Black men, which can prove to be a benefit for Black communities and the world at large.