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Scripture and Health: Exploring 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Cor 6:19-20 KJV

How Genetics, Diet, and Culture Play a Factor in Our Health and Our Temple

Genetics, diet, cultural economic strain, and undisciplined consumption of the foods we all love play a key role in good health. Soul food has played a major role in diabetes and heart disease among the African-American population.  Good ole’ “Soul Food” takes its name mostly from the southern states of America.  For hundreds of years, African Americans have adopted and cultivated hearty, high-caloric, and cholesterol-filled recipes. Great pride is taken to use fresh ingredients made from scratch. These foods are a deep and blood-stained rich badge of the African American cuisine marked by once enslaved people.  

 The Health Challenges of Traditional Soul Food

These very tasty menu items include fried chicken, cornbread, fried catfish, collard greens, peach cobbler, baked macaroni & cheese, organ meat of a variety, mostly pork, and many others.  These delicious foods are consumed on holidays and at traditional family gatherings.  However, this rich time time-consuming, and taste-perfected cuisine doesn’t follow many dietary rules for good health at times.  Diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease have a solid and definitive connection with the mortality of African Americans and people of color.

 Empowering Change: A Path to Better Health for African Americans

African Americans now understand how their dietary choices of these beloved foods can be improved for better cardiovascular, reduction in diabetes mellitus of all types, and reduction of good health and a longer life span overall. Black Americans are twenty to thirty times more likely to develop secondary comorbidity related to diet than the top three demographic populations of ethnicities in the United States. The phrase “taste is everything” really has a very important signature within the soul food cuisine standouts.  Proper seasoning to taste is elevated by the perfect amount of nitrates sodium or salt.  It’s all the same, just with a different name. Salt combined with a high sugar content, fat, and over-portioned servings has shortened the lives of Black Americans significantly. A poor diet, lack of meaningful exercise and dominant genetic markers can and will continue to have devastating consequences on the Black population regarding good health.

 Superfoods for African Americans: Balancing Taste and Nutrition

So, what are some good superfoods for African Americans?  Can traditional soul food be tasty and healthy when modified?  Reductions in fat and sugar intake along with consistent portion control is a good start.  A leading factor for the slow conversion Black Americans take to improve their dietary health has almost everything to do with taste. 

--The Benefits of Fresh Fruits, Veggies, and Fiber

  • Fresh fruits and veggies are packed with vitamins A, B, D, and mostly C for good immune health. 

  • Beans of every kind are a good source of dietary fiber and good gut health.

  • Beans such as kidney, pinto, navy, and black beans are great tasting, high in fiber, and great for your digestive health.

A reduced-fat diet can also improve your BMI-Basic Metabolic Index. The BMI is a calculation of your body fat ratio. A reduction in body fat around the abdomen has great benefits in the mortality for diabetics in all demographics. 

Making Healthier Choices: Baked vs. Fried and Leaner Meats

Fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty amino acids.  Amino acids help the body with tissue repair and absorption of nutrients.  These foods are filled with many vitamins and minerals, potassium, and magnesium. Many meats in traditional soul food are usually fried like chicken, pork, and catfish.  These foods can be baked and still taste great. Baked fish is a better method for reducing high cholesterol intake.  Just the conversion from fried to baked is a dietary improvement. Wheat breads are lower in sugar than white breads and cornbread. The reduction of red meats has been shown to improve weight loss and reduce some cardiovascular artery and heart diseases.

 Connecting Body and Spirit: The Temple of God Within Us

Soul food, it’s all related. Food is connected to the soul in the body otherwise known as the Temple of God. The Temple of God should be held with discernment, and fragility and cradled in high regard. This is how we connect healthy food with the word of God. Treating our bodies like a gift to and from God is showing gratitude for life. So how do we show appreciation for our “Temples? “  Eat well, Live well, Be Well. It truly is all related.

S. Boswell

Reference source: The New England Journal of Medicine.