Bidii Health Supplement - Issue 01 2021

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issue: 01 2021


BIDII is dedicated to educating the

African Caribbean community on matters of health and well-being to stimulate our collective prosperity. With great information available on food, health and beauty Bidii aims to encourage a better and healthier lifestyle for both men and women.

This supplement is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a trusted health advisor with any questions you may have regarding any specific medical conditions.

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Our Health Fitness

Fitness training can be a great bonus to a healthy lifestyle. Engaging in regular fitness training can help our physical and mental state in so many ways, but most often our lack of enthusiasm to commit ourselves is the first step we have to overcome.

Fitness training can help with the body’s resistance to disease and reduce the damage of aging. More so, putting the body through exercise can also provide individuals with more energy and an increase in the body’s stamina.

It is important to remember that fitness training is known to boost the production of serotonin in the brain, which is one of the chemicals responsible for mental clarity. Regular exercise can help with battling insomnia, reducing depression, as well as boost feelings of self-esteem.

These benefits may not be considered worthwhile by many but can actually make a huge change in your overall health and appearance! As fitness training becomes more important, BIDII is launching an app designed with the Black women in mind to help with fitness, diet and nutrition.

Many people also use fitness training for the benefit of weight management. Engaging in exercise can help burn calories and raise metabolism levels to aide in maintaining a healthy weight, while providing the body with tone and definition.

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For more info, check out Bidii Fitness at: bidii.co.uk/bidii-fitness

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Health Based On Plants

Many people are moving to a plant-based diet as a way to introduce more fruit, vegetables, and whole grains to their meals. The reasons for turning to a plant-based diet vary but our need to improve our overall health and well-being is constant.

Unprocessed plants are high in fiber which aid in bowel management and has been linked to reducing the risk of Colon Cancer. A plant-based diet also has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

When looking to improve our diet a key driver for many is to better support our immune system. By eating plants, we are able to take in more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These essential nutrients from plants keep our body’s cells healthy, providing an environment that promotes a strong immune system. This enables the body to remove the toxins and cell mutations that lead to disease, cancers and inflammation.

However, plant-based foods are only as good as the way they’re consumed. So, to gain the full health benefits, food preparation is also key! Eating plants in their most natural state is very important, so heavy frying is best to be avoided, as well as highly processed products like biscuits. Reducing meat intake is a hard cycle to break. This is especially true since our upbringing has been focused around meat-based dishes.

A plant-based diet can also be a healthy lifestyle addition for those trying to improve weight management, as maintaining a healthy weight is known to reduce the chances of developing 13 types of cancer. COPYRIGHT © 2021 BIDII LTD

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Meat contains saturated fats; and when we eat large amounts of it over the years, it can contribute to heart diseases and other issues. Many are also realising the old myth of meat being the main source of protein is no longer true. “But where do you get your protein?” is the common question when meat is off the table. Lentils, nuts and seeds are fast becoming the source that people turn to. As plant-based diets are becoming ever more popular, it is important to remember the reason behind our diet choices (which can often be out of habit); its effect on long term health; and what we want to achieve.

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Our Sisters Noire Wellness - Fibroid Series Revive & Relaunch

Noire Wellness is a black-owned wellness company focused on reducing health inequalities across North-West London, UK. Started in 2016, Candice Bryan, the founder, has created an authentic approach to ancient and powerful African and Caribbean traditions in health and wellbeing. Driven by the community, the brand is designed to impact, empower and transform the lives of the African and Caribbean community through interventions that celebrate the richness of our cultural identity.

engaging physical activities, workshops, and live demonstrations to help manage their condition and reduce the effects of fibroids. With an estimated 80% of black women receiving a diagnosis of fibroids by the age of 50 years old, Noire Wellness joins the many health advocates battling for wider recognition of the problems caused by fibroids. Noire Wellness are part of the Global Fibroid Alliance (GFA). Launched in 2019, The GFA is a network of organisations based in the Caribbean, USA, Africa, and Europe. They are working together to raise awareness of fibroids and advocate for the changes that are required to improve the health, wellbeing and quality of care for all women affected by fibroids. Each organisation provides services for women in their respective countries.

Kicking-off with a successful series of wellness hubs creating transformative spaces, cultivating traditions, and enhancing community cohesion in Harrow and Brent, Noire Wellness began to focus on specific health conditions more prevalent in the community – launching the Fibroid Series in 2017. Women living with fibroids were invited to experience an annual day of informative and COPYRIGHT © 2021 BIDII LTD

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In order to support the revival of the Fibroid Series model during this lonely and socially-isolated period, Noire Wellness has been consulting with the community to understand what women living with fibroids are going through. Placing their experience and needs at the centre, Noire Wellness wants to encourage women to realise that they are not alone. Including a new website, the relaunch is part of the company’s strategy to establish a stronger presence in the black health and wellbeing sector; grow the brand’s community; and empower those living with long term health conditions such as fibroids to take charge of their health whilst cultivating traditional African and Caribbean wellness practices.

regular basis. From January 2021, the Fibroid Series has moved to an online platform hosting monthly wellness hubs, bringing together leading wellness practitioners and thought-leaders on diet & lifestyle; raw foods; mental wellness; yoni eggs and steaming; yoga; breathing and stress release; along with more related practices that help women to manage the condition. For more information, visit noirewellness.com Or, for the latest news, follow us on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram @NoireWellness.

In order to provide stability throughout these uncertain times, Noire Wellness is inviting women living with fibroids to share information, connect with others, and rejuvenate on a

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‘To be able to love other people you must be able to love yourself.’


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The Chemicals In Our Hair

Natural hair is becoming more common for sisters tired of the stress and damage made by relaxers. They also want to give their hair a much-needed break, embracing a natural look that has been lost for a decade…or two.

Q: For many women, product ingredients are not a huge concern when looking for products. Why should this change? A: I think we take for granted that the products we use regularly on our hair are safe but there are so many studies out there that suggest otherwise. When you want to lose weight, you know to check the ingredient on your food for anything unhealthy and we need to be more like that with our personal care products.

However, it is concerning to learn that the ingredients in many products for natural and relaxed hair could be damaging to our overall health not just our curls. Bidii spoke with natural hair coach and author Tola Okogwu about what women should know.

In April 2018, I appeared in a BBC interview

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about a new study that showed that Black women are exposed to dozens of potentially hazardous chemicals through the hair products they use; chemicals linked to hormone disruption, fibroids, asthma, infertility, and even cancer. There are a few studies, which have looked at the relationship between hair products and several health issues. This includes a study published in 2017 by researchers at Rutgers University, which found a link between breast cancer and the use of hair dyes and hair relaxers in Black women. Also, a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Epidemi-

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ology found that the use of relaxers in Black women is associated with fibroids. Black women are highly exposed yet inadequately protected when it comes to hair care products. Excessive use of braids, weaves, and extensions, coupled with bad hair care practices have led to an over-reliance on products; Added to it is the cultural, historical, and societal pressures Black women face when it comes to their hair, and the problem is further exacerbated. In addition, the way Black women use products is unique. Products are

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used frequently, generously, and can be left on for weeks or even months, with continuous reapplication in between. However, there is very little research being done into the cumulative effects and potential risks associated with this method of product use. The most recent study, conducted in April 2018 by the Silent Spring Institute, showed that 80% of Black hair products tested contain endocrine-disrupting and asthma-causing chemicals. The range of products tested included relaxers, hot oil treatments, leave-in conditioners, and anti-frizz products. A total of forty-five endocrine disruptors were detected, eleven products were found to contain seven chemicals prohibited in the European Union (EU) or regulated under California’s Proposition 65, with hair relaxers marketed at children containing the highest levels of chemicals prohibited in the EU. Most concerning of all, they found that 84% of chemicals detected were not listed on the product label. This should alarm Black women all over the world and should be of concern. Q: What are the keywords and ingredients on products women should be careful of? A: Most people are already aware of the biggies like parabens, silicone oils, and petrolatum. Whilst cosmetic products are relatively well regulated in the EU, the majority of the products used by Black women in the UK are imported, primarily from the US or Asia where regulation and testing isn’t as stringent. The EU Cosmetics Directive prohibits the inclusion of BPA, phthalate, alkylphenol, and ethanolamine. However, the 2018 study found several products containing these ingredients, making them unfit for sale in the EU. Yet, guess what, you could probably walk into any hair shop and buy it. Fragrance is also another area to be careful of. Fragrance constituents are not always broken down on ingredients list and many are irritants or EDCs.

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The Silent Spring Institute has a great factsheet with a full breakdown of the most problematic ingredients they found in Black hair care products. Overexposed and Under Protected.pdf Q: What would be your advice for Black women suffering from Fibroids etc? Should they be more careful of the products they use in their hair? A: Unfortunately, there isn’t nearly enough support out there for what can be a very debilitating condition. EDCs are certainly something fibroid patients should avoid. Research shows that fibroid is worsened by certain hormones; so, anything that messes with your hormones is problematic. It goes beyond just hair products though, you need to look at skincare, cleaning and laundry products, and even food. These chemicals are everywhere. Tola provides advice and hair coaching for sisters looking to understand and nurture healthy hair growth. Check out: haircaremadeeasy.com/haircareathome for more details.

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Our Brothers Brothers Mental Health

With the lid being lifted on mental health more and more, there is so much to be discussed and understood. Amanda Townsend of AZT Consultancy speaks with Bidii about support for the men of our community. Q: ‘Support’ is a simple word yet hard to put into action. When we identify someone is struggling what forms of support can we provide people around us? A: Yes, a very simple word and also quite a simple thing to put into action. But because there are so much stigma and taboo around mental health, people may find that they do not know how to support or respond to someone and may, in turn, dismiss their feelings or behaviours as being ‘lazy’ or ‘attention-seeking’ and as a result, the person may feel less inclined to seek help. But support can mean and look different for different people. A few top tips to supporting someone includes: a) Listening: we often listen to respond instead of listening to understand. Sometimes, people just need to be heard! b) Acknowledging and thanking the person for being courageous enough to speak up. This really makes people feel seen and heard; it helps to neutralise any worries and also helps to build trust. Trust is so important! c) Encourage hope for healing and recovery. There is so much power in hope. Hope can transform feelings of despair into optimism for a better future! Q: Are you surprised to hear about the rates of depression and suicide among men of our community?

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A: Absolutely not! I spent 9 years teaching in the education system of which the challenges experienced by young black boys (and girls) and beyond through the school-to-prisonpipeline, disproportionate Stop & Search rates amongst the police, unemployment figures and so forth; depression and suicide rates are no surprise at all.

The 100 Black Men of London is a community-based charity led by black men delivering programmes and activities focused on mentoring and educating young black men since 2001. President Ola Oyalegan speaks on stresses that affect men and their mental health. Q: Knowing the stresses of young men, how does the 100BMOL try to aid in their mental health?

Did you know that men are 75% more likely to complete suicide than women? I know, very shocking!

A: As mentors, we try to make ourselves available, whilst ensuring safeguarding, we practise and teach them active listening. We also listen to them non judgementally, assessing the risk they may be prone to. Understand where they are on the mental health conundrum, discuss the support network they have and where to seek help, and encourage them to get appropriate help if they need it.

For me, however, what’s important is that as a community, we actively learn about the warning signs and symptoms of poor mental health as well as how to intervene when someone is having suicidal thoughts so that we are better positioned to support early. Q: What risks to our well-being do you feel we need to focus on that can help?

Q: From your years of working with young men, what aspects have you seen to contribute negatively and positively to their mental health?

A: I think there is an ever-increasing need to focus on culturally appropriate education around nutrition, exercise, meditation, and spending time in nature. Many of our ancestral practices have been filtered out of the ‘modern way’ of living and the damaging impact is evidently taking its toll on the minds of our people. I advocate for self-care, self-love, and exploration of therapeutic techniques that enable us to really connect with our bodies. Throughout lockdown, I’ve been gradually adding meditation and breathwork into my weekly routine. The benefits have been life-changing, and I highly encourage our community to find inner-calm and balance to help navigate the challenges of the world!

A: There is a lot of pressure on young men and women nowadays, physically and psychologically, from their peers and the society to conform to certain standards – how they dress, what they eat, how they look, etc, there is the issue of physical and cyberbullying, via social media, trolling, etc. Young people are also dealing with adolescence, growing up and may not be best place to be able to deal with all the issues happening to and around them. The good thing is that there is now more awareness of what is going on, people are more open and they can easily access support, so they won’t feel they are alone.

For advice and more info visit: AZTConsultancy.com or email info@aztconsultancy.com

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For more details about 100 Black Men of London and their work visit: 100bml.org

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