African Heritage & Health Week falls on the week of February 1st, coinciding with the beginning of black history month. It began as a way to kick off black history month, but has developed into a week dedicated to the hearty, healthy meals that originated in Africa. It is designed to raise awareness to the health benefits and flavors of traditional African heritage. Studies have shown that as traditional African cooking has declined, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity have risen.
Traditional African diets were, and still are, comprised heavily of green vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, and nuts. As seen in the Oldways African Heritage Diet Pyramid, fish, eggs, poultry, and dairy are not as frequently eaten. This is very similar to the recommended diet for those with chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, etc.
There are five main ways to join in the festivities of African Heritage & Health Week:
- Enjoy at least 1 meal inspired by African heritage cuisines or the pyramid
- Sign up to teach a taste of African heritage cooking class in your community or join a class that is happening in your area
- Host an African heritage pot-luck dinner with friends and family
- Share African heritage and health week information on social media
- Join the taste of African heritage Facebook group to join with other participants in your community
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