OUR WELLBEING

To look at us living our day to day lives do you see our bodies becoming more limp and lifeless everyday. The way we walk, talk and even think is a reflection of our mental, physical and spiritual health.
We must remember that the state we are in as individuals is a result of all that we consume.

Our health and wellbeing is the greatest possession we have and speaks volumes about a community’s harmony and structure.
Many within our community suffer illnesses due to poor diet, no physical exercise and lack of awareness about our own bodies.

The following information is regarding issues affecting the black community.
Please distribute the articles made available.

DIET

As we know diet is fundamental to the lifestyle we lead, and even our traditional African diet saw a very small amount of meat in the diet.

Food came from the earth but now our diet has changed over the years as we have become accustomed to the English lifestyle. White starches, sugars and processed foods we have taken over the many years are now beginning to show.

In most cases it is the mother who feeds the family. The foods she places on the table should reflect her understanding of healthy eating and what it means for the family. Raw food specialist Derin Bepo stresses all sweet drinks and breakfast cereals as well as processed foods are negative on a child’s health, and encourages women to ask questions about the food they give their child.

Download the interview –
Derin Bepo on Our Foods by Derin Bepo

TRAINING

To train is essential for our wellbeing. The body is a temple which must be worked if it is to remain supple, rejuvenated and powerful.

Our history of training is vast and at all times strenuous. From Kemetian arts to Nubian wrestling and capoeira training has always been a fundamental part of life.

Exercise works all of our bodily systems and organs ensuring they are kept in prime condition and working in harmony. Physical fitness is increased and overall wellbeing can be attained. Training will exercise your cardiovascular system which is essential for our breathe which feeds the body oxygen through our blood.

Apathy is the real disease and without training you increase your chances of cardiovascular disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. These are the very same diseases which we see in our family members all too often!

To train regularly is what’s needed to fight diseases which are devastating our community, and when we stop training the signs are clear and the body never lies.

Pictured: Beni Hasan, Egypt

MASHUFAA

“Mashufaa is a martial art. It is a Swahili word, which roughly translates as meaning the ‘spirit of a warrior’. A warrior is a person who can overcome fear through determination and will. This is the essence of Mashufaa”

It is sad when ones only ideal of Black people engaging in Martial arts are through a Wu Tang video or Afro Samurai. NO culture, creed or race has a monopoly over martial arts despite what your TV says, because martial arts is merely a reflection of life. People who place a sense of culture on martial arts know that their culture is them and without they are nonexistent.
Mashufaa being a conduit for our community to grow is practiced through our cultural glasses so we can see and self determine our futures.
No matter what religion, tribe or gang you affiliate with Mashufaa’s doors welcome all black people to put their minuscule differences to one side and challenge ourselves to better ourselves. In practicing Mashufaa one is striving for unison with ones breathe which some call ba, ka, chi, life force, energy or spirit. It permits one to be in unison mentally, physically and spiritually.
Mashufaa in essence challenges you to challenge your worst enemy; yourself.

Read this article in full. Download ‘Mashufaa

Mashufaa Training:
Mon/Fri – 7.00-9.30pm North London 
Thurs – 7.00-9.00pm South London                                                          Sat – 2.00-4.00pm West London

www.mashufaa.co.uk

YOGA

Yoga is comprised of many stretching movements and postures to create and improve balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility. Each posture provides great physical benefits. The practice of yoga has been crucial to increase stamina and perfect the alignment of the body.

The history of yoga is vague with much of it being attributed to ancient Indian civilizations however, there is much evidence illustrating the practice of yoga in ancient Egypt from the 5th Dynasty and beyond.

Afrikan Yoga is an art formed to create well being in the body and the stimulation of energy to prevent and cure illness. No other form of exercise has such a remarkable effect on the body’s own natural healing powers. Afrikan Yoga is used to improve the circulation of blood and lymph, massaging internal organs. Improving the function of the glands, such as the pancreas, ovaries, thyroid, testicles, pituitary and adrenals. Many diseases are caused by poor circulation so Afrikan Yoga is a valuable therapeutic tool.

“Afrikan Yoga’s essence is inner harmony, peace and calm designed to develop flexibility, suppleness, psycho spiritual awareness and controlled relaxation of the mind and body.” – Pablo

Download Pablo- Afrikan Yoga for more information on Pablo’s thoughts of how Afrikan Yoga can be used to improve the health of the community.

Classes are held by Pablo Menfesawe-Imani, across London, throughout the week. For further details call 07816 000 943.
Or, visit the website: http://www.afrikanyoga.com

FIBROIDS

Fibroids are a big factor with women of the black community. This is something which we should all know about and take action on especially for prevention.

Lifestyle is a huge factor and understanding the strains we place on the body is key.
Fibroids are tumours that grow in a woman’s uterus (womb), and can be the size of a pea and grow to the size of a huge water melon. A fibroid consists of muscle fibres which are benign (none cancerous).
In America studies showed, fibroids occur almost nine times more in black women than in white women, and it appears earlier.

The symptoms of fibroids can vary. Many women suffer from heavy bleeding and even flooding (a unexpected flow of blood), long periods of 4 days and more or passing of large clots of blood. Not all experiences of heavy bleeding is due to fibroids but when it is, it’s usually related with fibroids growing in the womb.

Painful periods can be a sign of fibroids, with women enduring pain in their legs, backache and/or pressure and bloating in the abdominal area. Also, heavy bleeding in some women develops anaemia from the blood loss, causing dizziness, tiredness and feeling weak.

Fibroid specialist Eymbi gives her insight into fibroids and advice for all black women to hear.

BREAST CANCER

To understand cancer we require some appreciation of human biology.

Our body is made up of minuscule entities called cells; these are the basic unit of life. Similar types of cells come together to form our tissues (e.g. muscle tissue, brain tissue etc), groups of tissues form our organs and then organs come together to form systems (e.g. cardio-vascular system, nervous system.). Cancer is a disease of the smallest unit of our body – the cell. It develops when cells within our body obtain a series of defects that result in their uncontrollable growth. These cells are thus able to grow and divide into multiple defective cells that form a mass called a tumour. This tumour takes over the tissue within which it formed and can then spread to surrounding tissue and ultimately to other parts of the body. This in essence is cancer – the rapid growth of cells within a tissue, which can spread to and destroy other tissues. Cancers are named according to where this process started so for instance lung cancer is the growth and spread of defective cells within lung tissue.

When it comes to breast cancer black women need to be more aware of the facts. The national statistics would have us believe that our rate of breast cancer is in line if not less than normal society but we must look closer.

Breast cancer is the most common female cancer in the UK and worldwide. Black women have a significantly lower risk of developing breast cancer but a higher percentage of black women die from breast cancer because we tend to get a more aggressive form of breast cancer called triple negative breast cancer. For this reason it is important that we catch breast cancer early enough to ensure a better outcome. Knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer is one way we can ensure early diagnosis, the other way is for the health authorities to develop a more effective screening programme for black women. Ultimately we should be aiming for the prevention of breast cancer and we can make our own contribution towards this by adopting a healthy lifestyle – mind, body and soul.

Below are articles which explain about cancer, the type of cancer that is attacking black women and the methods we should us to fight it.

Read Breast Cancer by Abi Ajose-Adeogun

Read ‘Black Women and Breast Cancer‘ by Abi Ajose-Adeogun

Read ‘Defeating Breast Cancer‘ by Abi Ajose-Adeogun

DIABETES

Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high due to the body’s inability to use it properly.

During digestion carbohydrates are turned into glucose and then released into the bloodstream. When the glucose levels reach a certain level the body releases insulin which is a hormone from the pancreas.

Insulin is used by the body to reduce the glucose level in the blood by taking it to cells where it is used as energy for the body.

People with diabetes struggle to properly process the carbohydrates (sugars and starches) they eat, resulting in high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood and the body has difficulty in producing insulin if any.

There are two main types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes happens when the body cannot produce any insulin. Usually appears in people under 40 years old. 1 in 10 people with diabetes suffers from type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes happens when the body can produce insulin but not enough of it, or the body is unable to use the insulin produced.

Diabetes in black people is 4-5 fold higher than the general population (NHS 2006). In a recent study results showed that black women were at least three times more likely to have diabetes compared with women in the general population (Diabetes UK 2009); and in the USA studies have shown that diabetes is 33% more common among African Americans than Whites, and that the highest rates are among African American women.

As always your diet and lifestyle are key to maintaining a healthy body and reducing the risk of complications in living with diabetes. Even our weight is a factor as obesity has the strongest link with type 2 diabetes than any other serious disease. If not managed correctly it can be associated to further problems such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve damage, amputations and premature mortality.
The most common form of diabetes can often be prevented by taking control of our weight by eating well and having regular exercise like walking, running, swimming or other aerobic activity.

— References —
Diabetes UK – Diabetes in the UK (2009)
NHS – National Diabetes Support Team (2006)

MELANIN

Melanin is a chemical found throughout the body and is made up of subunits of chemicals – influenced by enzymes (protein molecules used to digest food, produce energy, and purify the blood) to build a stable and resilient compound. This compound is distributed through the body of pigmented people. (Kittles 1995)

This stable and resilient compound gives many benefits to the body of melinated people.

Melanin is a gift which we need to understand if we are to appreciate the way we are.
Melanin helps us to absorb all types of energies for example the light from the sun or the vibrations from sound which travel in the atmosphere.

Melanin has the capability to heighten our experiences and take in so much from our natural environment, and is placed throughout our bodies as a magnificent tool to aid in our senses such as sight and sound; it also aids in protecting us through our skin.

Melanin is not just in the skin, it is located throughout the body and can be found in areas such as the Central Nervous System and the major internal organs. For this reason we must take great care of what we expose ourselves to. For example white sugar is technically a drug which destroys the melanin centres of the pancreas, and the power of melanin to absorb causes negative affects from harmful toxic radiation dispersed from microwaves (L.O. Afrika 2004).

We rely on melanin all the time without even realising. The psychological processes such as sensation and perception are dependent on melanin functioning; and it is important we understand melanin and the significance in why it is black or dark in colour (Moore 1995).

We must remember it is dark skin or substances which absorbs. Even with clothing, we avoid wearing black in the summer as it absorbs too much heat. Barnes (1988) explains melanin is black in colour because its chemical structure will not allow energy such as heat and light to escape once it has made contact.

African (Black) people tend to have more organs that contain high concentrations of melanin which is responsible for manufacturing and sustaining life – this is a rare gift.

Melanin is a great gift but also a double edged sword; unfortunately due to our melanin negative substances or example drugs will have us experiencing higher “highs” and lower “lows” than any others peoples (Barnes 1988). This does not just mean cocaine and marijuana but also prescriptive drugs too. Due to the absorption characteristics of melanin it can cause us to have such an attachment to drugs that can ultimately destroy our bodies.

All we consume be it food, drugs and even music will have an intense impact due to our ability and strength to absorb through our melanin. This places great emphasis on everything we place in our bodies.

The deception of society must be reversed as we start to understand black is to be good. It is the black substance which holds the most benefit; and melanin is what we have most.

For more details on melanin download – Melanin and Melanin In The Body

THE PROSTATE

The Prostate gland forms a part of the male reproduction system and has been known through the ages as the ‘human battery’.

The importance of the prostate gland is fundamental to the health of a man. The prostate gland is a gland about the size of a chestnut and consists of glandular and muscular tissue. It surrounds the urethra at the base of the bladder, and its purpose is to make and store seminal fluid.

Some studies in the US illustrate that African American men are 60 percent more likely to get prostate cancer than whites, and also twice as likely to die from it than any other group.

It is fundamental for us all to understand that the wellbeing of our men is linked the state of the prostate. To understand more read the following article –
Special Health Report: Prostate Problems in Afrikan/Black Men
 by Kwame Osei.