Black Africans and High Blood Pressure is the first in the series of the Learn & Share Series by Ijeoma Ojumobi Nwamuo, and Lactronics is proud to present these series to you.
I have come to learn, from my readings and interactions with people in the medical field, that there are some diseases that are more common amongst some Races than they are amongst others. One of such is the higher incidence of High Blood Pressure amongst Africans.
I do not think that even the medical community can explain why we are more, genetically, susceptible to the disease but they can readily provide evidence as to why individual cases are more exacerbated which is that our food is usually very high in sodium content (Salt).
For instance, when I was in Nigeria last summer, I went to the Umuahia main market just to look around and of course check out the prices of food items. I could not help but notice the number of people who had walked past me carrying boxes of Indomie noodle.
It was as if every 4 out of the 10 people that I had seen had a box of that food in their grocery bag. Upon further enquiry from friends, I realized that it is a staple food amongst our people and so that got me thinking about the health implications of eating too much of that food.
High Blood Pressure and Salt
Now I ask you, do you know how much sodium (Salt) there is in Indomie noodle? Do you know what it means for your overall health when you eat a lot of that food? Apart from Indomie noodles, I know that our food is typically “laced” with salt cos it simply tastes better when it has just the right amount of salt in it.
Doctors in Canada would advise against adding table salt to our food but in Africa, having worked in my mother’s Restaurant for more than 10 years, people will tell me, “Ij, biko give me salt inu” and I did not appreciate what that extra salt meant to their health. The local fish farmers use lots of salt for all kinds of food preservatives and no local Health Officials, knowing what that means for our health, have ever put measures in place to curb such dangerous public health practices.
So I would want to tell you my people to be more careful about the food that you eat especially those ones with high sodium content because the more of it you eat , the more susceptible you become to having High Blood Pressure and being that it is the kind of disease that “lies beneath the surface” and so not readily detected , you may likely go on for years without knowing that you have it and it ends up ravaging your body.
So go easy on the Salt and of course Indomie Noodles. It may be cheap now but it will cost you a lot more when old age comes . As you and I know, Old age is coming for sure and then the Medical Bills are off the roof at that time………