Category Archives: Health

10 Foods To Boost Male Health

Healthy eating is essential for both men and women. Whereas a woman may turn to consuming a salad, the average African American male would more likely scarf down a burger and fries combo, minus the bacon topping as his way of promoting nutritious eating.  Traditionally, an African diet consists of fresh fruits and vegetables.  The native African people generally have a lower risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Today however, the African American diet is much different and tends to include deep fried, fatty and fast foods.

According to Marcellus A. Walker and Kenneth B. Singleton, in their book, “Natural Health for African Americans,” that the typical African American diet can lead to inflammation, poor blood sugar control, cancer and heart disease. There are healthy foods included in the African American diet and eating more of these and less of the unhealthy ones will have benefits for you.  Both men and women generally require the same basic nutrients for optimal health, but there are some nutrients which boost men’s health in particular.

Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, notes that any food that is good for the cardiovascular system is also good for erectile function in men.

“Nutrients that are good for the heart improve circulation to all parts of the body, and these same nutrients provide a layer of protection against cancer and other chronic diseases,” says Gerbstadt, a Florida-based doctor and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Key nutrients are also critical for maintaining immune function, preventing bone loss, muscle loss, and oxidative damage from the environment.  Having a healthy lifestyle, which consists of not smoking and engaging in regular physical activity is pertinent to ones health.

According to WebMD Column Expert, Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, here are The Top 10 Foods that Boost Men’s Health:


Food for Men No. 1: Oysters

“Research shows that adequate zinc may protect against cellular damage that leads to prostate cancer,” says Grotto. “Sexual functioning of the male reproductive system, including increased sperm counts, is also enhanced with zinc.”

Take caution when considering eating uncooked oysters. An infection called Vibrio vulnificus is associated with the consumption of raw oysters. People with liver disease, heavy alcohol use, and chronic illnesses such as diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic renal failure are at increased risk.

You can also get your daily recommended dose of 11 milligrams a day by eating other shellfish, lean beef, lean pork, or legumes.

Food for Men No. 2: Bananas

Bananas are a great portable source of quick energy and are rich in potassium, which is needed to regulate nerves, heartbeat and, especially, blood pressure. Diets rich in potassium and magnesium (which is also found in bananas) can reduce the risk of stroke.

As a super source of vitamin B-6, bananas can also aid your immune system, help form red blood cells, ensure a well-functioning nervous system, and assist protein metabolism. So enjoy a banana each day, at breakfast on your whole grain-cereal or before your workout at the gym.

Not a banana fan? Orange juice, milk, tomato products, and beans are other good sources of dietary potassium.

Food for Men No. 3: Fatty Fish

These polyunsaturated fats are the preferred form of fats in your diet for many reasons. They can benefit the heart, circulation, and immune system and reduce the risk for prostate cancer, among other things.

“Omega-3 fatty acids are potent anti-inflammatory foods that can help lower triglyceride [blood fat] levels, reduce aches and pains in athletes, and offer relief with certain kinds of arthritis,” says Bauer. 

Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, herring) are the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that everyone eat fish twice weekly.

You can also get omega-3s in plant-based foods, like flaxseed, walnuts, soy, canola oil, and fortified products such as eggs. But there are other good reasons to eat fish. 

“Fatty fish are also a good source of vitamin D, a nutrient that tends to be deficient in our diets and [which] in adequate supply can help prevent cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and bone disease,” says Bauer.

Food for Men No. 4: Broccoli

While virtually all vegetables deserve a place on the super foods list, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are helpful in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. It’s loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, and a phytochemical called sulphoraphane, which may have anticancer (prostate and colon) properties. 

A recent Harvard study found that participants who had five servings a week of cruciferious vegetables were half as likely as others to develop bladder cancer, a cancer that affects two to three times as many men as women. This super-nutritious green vegetable may also help lower levels of homocycteine, an amino acid associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Don’t care for broccoli? Go for other cruciferous choices like cabbage, bok choy, shredded broccoli slaw, cabbage, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts. 

And did you ever wonder where the term “cruciferous” originates? “It is not because they are crunchy vegetables, but when the buds from this group of vegetables sprouts, their leaves form a cross like a crucifix,”says Denver dietitian Mary Lee Chin, MS, RD.

Food for Men No. 5: Brazil Nuts

These large nuts from Brazil are packed with magnesium and selenium, powerful antioxidants that may help prevent heart disease and cancer and protect prostate health. (Bauer, however, notes that the studies showing reduction in cancer have been primarily in people whose diets were deficient in selenium, not in those who were already getting enough.)

Selenium also helps lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol and reduces the incidence of blood clots and heart disease.

Grotto recommends adults get 55 micrograms of selenium daily from Brazil nuts, dry-roasted nuts, turkey, tuna, or shellfish. Indeed, you can get your daily dose of selenium in just one Brazil nut. In fact, Bauer cautions limiting yourself to no more than two Brazil nuts per day because “they are so loaded and concentrated with selenium that you don’t want to overdose.”

Food for Men No. 6: Whole Grains

Most men get enough carbs in their diets, but they tend to be the wrong kind, experts say. 

“A diet rich in whole grains provides fiber, vitamins, minerals – all the co-factors for heart health, building muscles, and keeping waistlines small,” says Gerbstadt.

She suggests trying whole grain pasta or quinoa, a trendy, not-so-whole-grain-tasting grain that’s rich in lutein for prostate health.

Oatmeal and barley are rich in soluble fiber, full of B vitamins that can help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and are also good for the prostate. Suzanne Farrell, RD, owner of Cherry Creek Nutrition in Denver, recommends getting 10-25 grams of soluble fiber a day from oatmeal or other sources of soluble fiber such as apples, pears, and beans.

When buying grain products, look for those whose labels say they have at least 3-5 grams of fiber per serving.

To avoid digestive problems, increase your fiber intake gradually, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

Food for Men No. 7: Plant Stanols

Stanols are naturally occurring substances in fruits and vegetables that have been shown to lower mildly elevated blood cholesterol levels. Manufacturers are now adding concentrated versions of them to products like margarine, yogurt, orange juice, and granola bars.

“Men should regularly include a total of 2 grams of plant stanols, taken in two doses with meals, to help inhibit absorption of cholesterol in the intestine,” says Farrell.

Plant stanols are added to a variety of products including orange juice, margarine, dark chocolate, granola bars, cheese, bread, soy products, and more. Plant stanols can safely be used with cholesterol-lowering medication.

Food for Men No 8: Soybeans

Soy is rich in isoflavones, which protect prostate health and have been shown to lower prostate cancer risk, says Gerbstadt. The latest research continues to strengthen the fact that isoflavones found in soy foods are beneficial for both the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer in men.

And according to one study, “eating 25 grams or about 1 ounce of soy protein a day can help decrease cholesterol,” Farrell says.

The FDA has approved a health claim for food labels that says having 25 grams of soy protein per day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Try to eat a few servings a day of soy products, such as soy nuts, soy milk, soy cheese, veggie burgers, tofu, or edamame.

Food for Men No 9: Berries or Cherries

The violet, blue, and red colors in all kinds of berries and cherries are responsible for the healthy properties of these fruits. These little jewels are chock-full of the health-protecting flavonoid, anthocyanin.   

“Berries contain over 4,000 different compounds that have antioxidant properties beyond vitamin C, so make sure you include these delicious and low-calorie fruits to help meet your 5+ servings of fruits each day,” says Gerbstadt.

Adding berries to the diet may even help slow the decline in brain function that can occur with aging.

“Large studies show the more produce you eat the better, but specifically berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, and cherries) can enhance brain function and keep your brain healthy,” says Bauer.

Food for Men No 10: Red-Orange Vegetables

Vitamin C and beta-carotene are antioxidants that help preserve healthy skin cells and prevent oxidation from the sun. 

“Vitamin C is involved in collagen production,” says Bauer. “Beta-carotene converts to the active form of vitamin A, which helps to repair epithelial or skin cells.”

She recommends getting these nutrients from red bell peppers (just one has 300% of the recommended daily value for vitamin C), carrots, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes.

But for that matter, just about any vegetable should be on the list of top foods for men (and women). Dark, leafy greens and any nutrient-rich vegetable can help reduce the risk of enlarged prostates, according to a recent study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Men whose diets are high in nutrients found in vegetables — like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and potassium – were found to be less likely to develop benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate.


Written by: Lexine Emille



Posted by on November 29, 2012 in BLACK Cuisine, Culture, Education, Health


BLACK Cuisine: Restaurant Secrets Putting Your Health at Risk

When you’re dining out, the last thing on your mind is the safety of your food. But after learning these industry secrets, it might become the first thing you consider. Learn what you can do to ensure that your dining experience is just as safe as it is delicious.


Secret: You’re More at Risk for Food Poisoning After 8 p.m.

Although it can feel sophisticated to dine out later, the closer you get to closing time, the more likely you are to get a compromised meal because the ingredients were prepped hours before, giving bacteria plenty of time to multiply. Additionally, the kitchen may not be in ideal condition as your meal is prepared. The fryers have accumulated the build-up of an entire night’s service, plus the oil isn’t fresh anymore. Instead of making your food crispy, the grease just soaks into your food. Plus, the kitchen is in cleanup mode, so your dish could be being prepared next to a station that’s getting cleaned, risking contamination from the spray solution.

If you’re going to dine late, try to order something that’s grilled, broiled or boiled. You want to get something that’s cooked (as opposed to something served raw, like salad) so there’s a greater chance of killing off any dangerous bacteria.

Secret: Menus Can Be Dirtier Than Toilet Seats

Menus are rarely properly cleaned, and every person who comes through a restaurant touches them. A recent test by The Dr. Oz Show uncovered 7 out of 7 sample menus from restaurants in the New York City area were covered in bacteria, including fecal bacteria like E.coli and pneumonia-causing streptococcus.

Grip the menu by the top corners instead of holding it by the bottom. Most people hold the menu by the lower half, so you’ll be minimizing your exposure to bacteria.

Secret: If the Music Is Loud, You’re Going to Overeat

The louder the tunes, the more energy you’ll feel—meaning you’ll eat and leave quicker, resulting in a higher profit for the restaurant. The problem is that because you’re eating so quickly, you don’t have time to realize you’re full. Often, this results in over-ordering and overeating.

Don’t give your full order up front; instead, order each course separately. When you control the experience, you’ll eat slower and eat less.

Secret: Always Pack the Leftovers Yourself

When you give your half-finished dinner to your server to have it boxed up, remember, there’s no special “leftover boxing-up station.” Your plate is left in the kitchen next to dirty dishes and garbage. Your roll could land on the floor and then could be put back on your plate. Additionally, you have no idea how your food will get into your leftover container; it could be with someone’s bare hands that have just wiped down a table.

Always ask for the to-go container yourself and pack your leftovers at the table.

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Obama’s Healthcare Bill Upheld by Supreme Court

Emotions raged high yesterday, June 28th, 2012, as Obama announced his health plan was upheld by the supreme court with a victory of 5-4. Democrats and the general public cheered on of this victorious win. Republicans however are convinced this is indeed a mistake and an unwanted expansion of the government. Undoubtedly it’s because it will cost them a loss of millions of profitable dollars. Millions of Americans now have access to healthcare. Specially those with pre-existing illnesses. Also, children can be covered under their parents care until they reach the age of 26.

The Affordable Care Act – At-A-Glance:

Ending Insurance Company Abuses: Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurers can no longer put a lifetime cap on how much care they will pay for if you get sick or cancel your coverage when you make a mistake on your paperwork. Starting in 2014, health insurers will be prohibited from charging you more because you are a woman.

More Affordable Care: Today, we have the new 80/20 rule: insurance companies must spend at least 80 cents of your premium dollar on your health care or improvements to care. And insurance companies must publicly justify their actions if they want to raise premiums by 10 percent or more. And States have more power to block them.

President Obama signs the health care bill in the East Room of the White House

Coverage for Young Adults: Under the Affordable Care Act, young adults under age 26 can stay on their parent’s health insurance plan until age 26 – a change that has already allowed 3.1 million young adults to get health coverage and given their families peace of mind. For more information on how the Affordable Care Act impacts young adults please Click here.

Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions: The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan in every State offers an option to people who have been locked out of the insurance market because of a pre-existing condition like cancer or heart disease. And under the new law, insurers can no longer deny coverage to children under age 19 because of a pre-existing condition like asthma and diabetes. Starting in 2014, health insurers will be prohibited from discriminating against anyone due to pre-existing conditions.

Preventive Benefits: All new health plans must now cover preventive services ranging from mammograms to vaccinations for your child, without making you pay a copay or deductible.

For more information on how the Supreme Court Decision and the Affordable Care please go to:



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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in BLACK Corner, Health, Politics


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Sometimes when life gives you lemons, you MUST make lemonade. That’s what single mom, Chaundra Smith, originally from the south side of Chicago, did in 2008 when she took her passion and turned it into a profession after being laid off. The Wake Technical Community College graduate didn’t let a miserable situation keep her down. But rather looking at the situation as one door closing and another one opening to a new opportunity, Chaundra created Naturally Me, a certified vegan beauty line.

Passionate about her new business, but not formally trained in Natural Body Care, Smith painstakingly researches and tests each ingredient ensuring the highest quality of products. Chaundra uses this passion for her craft along with her inspiration and motivation to help others, to provide affordable, luxury beauty products to the world.

Naturally Me makes products for bath and body for the entire family….including pets! The collection of products are still handmade with the finest natural and vegan ingredients with a touch of love by Chaundra and her staff.

But more than a new beauty line, Naturally Me is all about giving back to the community. With promotions like To Soldiers With Love where toiletries are sent to active duty members of our Armed Forces; and the Naturally Me Scholarships benefiting students participating in the Single Parent Program at Durham Technical Community College (which Chaundra herself benefited from when she first started her education), Naturally Me is a company with a big heart—just like its founder Chaundra Smith.

Q&A With Chaundra Smith

BS: When and What triggered you to begin “Naturally Me”?

Chaundra Smith: My daughter had acne and my son suffered from severely dry skin.  Just about everything that I tried over the counter didn’t work.  My son would put on lotion, and hours later his skin was dry and ashy. The popular acne formulas either didn’t work for my daughter or they were too expensive.  I started doing research and found out that a lot of the ingredients were harmful to your skin and some were even known carcinogens.  So I started researching natural ingredients and came up with formulas that were healthy alternatives and effective at treating their skin conditions.

BS: How has this decision defined as a life changing decision?

Chaundra Smith: It has changed my life in a positive way.  To think that this all started out with me trying to find a product that would make my children’s skin healthy to now being a part of so many people’s daily body care regiment still amazes me.

BS: How do you empower yourself and others?

Chaundra Smith: I empower myself by never forgetting where I came from while also remembering how far I have to go. Through prayer & support from family & friends, I’m daily encouraged to strive to better myself & my community. In turn, I encourage others to set goals & to strive to reach them.  I started a facebook group to inspire other entrepreneurs such as myself.  Its called SBA 101: Successful Business Acumen.

BS: In which ways have you given back to the community?

Chaundra Smith: I created a Pay It Forward initiative through Naturally Me which supports three groups that are near and dear to my heart: men and women of the military, single parents, and teen moms.  Through conversations with a friend, I have learned a lot about how important it is to for our deployed troops to feel supported from the homefront. I learned that a lot of the soldiers don’t have family and friends to support them stateside.  Once every quarter, we send To Soldiers With Love care packages consisting of Naturally Me products, treats and a handwritten note. Our first care package was sent in December 2010 to the 3/5 Marines Lima Company.

As a single mom who worked full time while going to school, I benefited from scholarships earmarked for single parents. From the point where Naturally Me officially became a business, I knew that I wanted to do something to help single parents who are in situations similar to the one I was in while going to school. I’m excited to say that we will reward our 1st Annual Single Parent Scholarship May 2011.

Teen moms have a special place in my heart as my sister was one & lived in foster care for several months. Although she had shelter, she had very little else. Those months were filled with depression & proved to be very difficult for her. Whatever the choices made that lead a young lady to becoming a single parent, it is impossible to ignore the fact that she is still a teenager. I don’t want to see another young mother lose hope. Naturally Me is currently working with a NC charity to provide basic personal need items to the young mothers they serve just to show our support of the effort to better their lives & those of their children.

BS: How important is the black community to you? What role do you play within it?

Chaundra Smith: Being that I am a black women from the inner city of Chicago, the black community is very important to me.  It’s extremely important for me to support other black owned businesses. That is why I am a huge fan of The Empowerment Experiment. Maggie Anderson and her husband are doing a wonderful job brining awareness to the African American community about supporting other black owned establishments. We have to support each other as much as possible. Whenever possible, Naturally Me purchases bulk supplies from black owned businesses. My shea butter comes directly from a company owned by women in West Africa. I purchase my bulk oils from a black owned supplier in New York. I want to see small businesses thrive, and I do my part as a small business owner to help others build their business clientele.

BS: What advice can you give to future business owners?

Chaundra Smith: The best piece of advice I have is to have patience and do lots of research. Success does not happen overnight. It may seem like a business just popped up overnight, but believe me when I say that they have been working hard at it for years before it became a big hit. Research is crucial. You have to research your industry to know the trends and more importantly, you must also research your target market AND competitors. People are looking to have their wants and needs met. You have to know what they are before you can meet, and hopefully exceed, their expectations. You also have to know how your competitors are already attempting to do so to ensure what you offer will set you apart from the rest.

BS: What are your future endeavors and/or aspirations?

Chaundra Smith: In the past year, we’ve had successful Meet & Greets in Raleigh & Chicago, and I’d like to see that expanded to cities like Charlotte, Atlanta & New York. Within the next year, I would like to increase our number of wholesale clients and in-store offerings.

Naturally Me products can be purchased online at or at the following locations:

The Honeybun Boutique in Greensboro, NC
Hollywood Stylz Unisex in Durham, NC
Green Mother Goods in Boone, NC available in April 2011
The Red Door Studio in Wardorf, MD
Vegan Freak in Denton, TX


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