AFRICAN DIET AND MENTAL HEALTH

suze_author
Guest Blogger Valerie Mungau

By Valerie Mungau and William Jiang, MLS

You have heard the expression; you are what you eat. Truer words were never spoken. Simply, it means: food and drink are fuel for your brain and body. The better quality your fuel, the better your brain and body will perform.

Africa is the second largest continent in the world. It is rich in geographic and cultural diversity. The culture of food in the different regions of Africa is important to people throughout the world. Many of the staple foods in Africans’ diet are good for the health, from leafy green vegetables to fresh juicy fruits. Part of African culinary history is, of course, that the foods have sustained a people for ages. We are seeing a rise in the popularity of the vibrant flavors and delicious foods that offer a key to better health in the African communities. One can never go wrong when you go back to your roots.

Traditional diet is the kind of food your grandmother would have cooked. Interestingly , traditional foodstuffs are associated with a lower risk of mental health issues. Traditional diets vary widely across cultures.  However, the common element that ties them together is a lack of processing of the foods and the nutrient-dense food that permeates each culture. The association between healthy diet and mental well-being starts well before birth.

There are so many benefits of greens such as kales, spinach, and traditional herbs such as ‘Kunde’, ‘terere’ etc.  because they are low in calories and high in nutrients, such as B vitamins. Fish like omena and mbutaa have omega3s, which are great for cardiovascular and mental health. Also, you can make kale chips, a kale and avocado smoothie, and kale based salads- also known as ‘kachumbari’ in East Africa.

african mental healthPoverty in Africa influences how people cook and store food. Since many people cannot afford refrigeration, people tend to buy fresh ingredients from the market and cook them on the same day or they rely on dried and smoked fish and vegetables as forms of traditional storage of food.

Foods like dairy, butter and cheese, have almost no place at the table, due to scarcity.

A balanced meal has foods from at least 3 or 4 food groups below:

  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Whole grain products
  • Milk or other dairy alternatives
  • Meat and other alternatives like traditional chicken which is widely preferred in Africa because of its nutrients.
  • Healthy fats like: Oils- (olive, canola, sunflower), nuts, seeds, avocado, oily fish such as salmon, tilapia ‘omena’, and ‘mbutaa’
  • Vegetables include: Eggplant, carrots, broccoli, leafy greens such as kales, celery, spinach.
  • Fruits include: Guava, oranges, mango, banana, papaya, pineapple, apples, melon, berries.
  • Whole grains include: Oats, millet, brown rice, maize and whole wheat.
  • Legumes include: Lentils, chickpeas and cowpeas.
  • Nuts and seeds include: Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, flax seeds and cashews.

A very large body of evidence now exists that suggests diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health. A healthy diet is protective and an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for the brain diseases of depression and anxiety. What one eats affects how the immune system works, how genes work and how the  body responds to stress. Time to thank Grandma for her good cooking!

Crítica del libro Poeta del Washington Heights por William Jiang, MLS

“Cuando se tiene locura, todo el mundo incluye la esencia de la otra.” Pensamientos, La Noche Estrellada por Van Gogh

Por Grady Harp
Amazon.com HALL DE LA FAMA, TOP 100 

Formato: KindleWashington Heights Poesia

La crónica extraordinaria de su vida en otro de los libros de William Jiang – ‘Entre la Esquizofrenia y Mi Voluntad: Una Historia de Locura y Esperanza” ‘ – es a la vez arrestando , horrible, desafiante y estimulante. Obviamente Will Jiang es un hombre joven y brillante nacido prematuramente a una madre anglo-sajona y un padre ausente ruso-judío y más tarde adoptada por su padrastro chino Yu Jiang. Los tributos de sus hermanos como Leaf, Chung y Justice y los comentarios introducidos en su prefacio de su hermano Leaf, forman una lista impresionante de personas quien atestiguar que Will es un hombre único. Más tarde, nos encontramos a Will en su papel de un bibliotecario con su libro The English Virtual Library. Sr Jiang es el autor de veinticuatro libros populares en inglés, español y francés, que ha ranking hasta # 1 en los EE.UU., España, y México.  Sus libros han vendido también en Canadá, el Reino Unido, Argentina, Francia, Alemania, India, Australia, Italia y Japón. Will es un ex jefe de Biblioteca de la Universidad de Columbia / NYSPI, diseñador. Will habla inglés, español, francés y portugués. Como su biografía ahora afirma, “La mayoría de las películas y noticias pintan caricaturas unidimensionales, finamente dibujadas de personas con enfermedades mentales, infundiendo miedo. Refrescante, palabras que podrían describir la vida y el trabajo del Sr. Jiang incluyen: brillante, apasionada, artística, profunda, bien informado, inspirado, y maestro.”

Ahora disfrutamos los pensamientos y poemas personales de Will en el libro titulado The Poet of Washington Heights: A Scrapbook of Poetry, Photography, Digital Art, and Social Media, desde su posición en la región de Washington Heights de Nueva York – un álbum de poesía, de recortes (que todos deberíamos ser tan prudente mantener un documento de este tipo!), de fotografías, de arte digital, y de comunicación social. Todo lo que nos permiten comprender y lo conocer a su alma más profundamente.

Will añade fotografías e imágenes para ilustrar su libro. Son imágenes divertidas:  imágenes de sí mismo y su familia, y aunque la mayoría de sus escritos son del espíritu y son significativos también incluye su conocimiento de español en una pequeña pensado entrada:

April 1, 2013

En estos días me acuerdo de un viejo dicho popular español: de Cuando amor no es locura, no es amor.

Lleno de amor y la introspección y la filosofía, este es un libro para leer  y disfrutar lentamente. Grady Harp 16 de marzo

 

The Poet of Washington Heights: Short and Snazzy!

Review of  

The Poet of Washington Heights: A Scrapbook of Poetry, Photography, Digital Art, and Social Media

Short and Snazzy!

Washington Heights Poetry
Exclusively Sold on Amazon!
on May 28, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
This short snazzy book is filled with a wonderful mixture of literary forms. Jiang gives tributes to those who have made an impact on his life such as his father, Joel Osteen and historical figures like Epicurus. He records his walks in Washington Heights and notes the beauty of the broken Buddha statue, the skies, shadows and tall oak trees. He has the eye of a poet who sees what others often miss.

Jiang observes his fellow travelers and notes how technology has almost taken over the lives of many. He recognizes that the real connection can only be truly filled by the warmth of the human touch. The book is filled with witty sayings, some zany pictures and memorable photography. It is an eclectic mix of artistry!