by Kenray Sunyaru
Black August is an annual month-long observance of Remembrance, Ancestor Veneration, Month's Significant Highlight Events, Self-Study, Fasting/Self-Discipline, Resistance, and Community work.
In this post I will touch on self-study, fasting/self-discipline, resistance, and community-work aspect of Black August in light of the COVID-19 pandemic devestational impact on Black communities.
Indeed as Black folks we have been super-disproportionately devastated by deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic! Our high death rates from the COVID-19 disease is due to our high rates of pre-existing ‘chronic diseases’ medical conditions and high levels of ‘racist socioeconomic stress’ which both contributes to the weakening ‘compromising’ of our immune systems.
Our immune system is designed to fight off bacteria and viruses that attack the body, having a compromised ‘impaired’ immune system makes us more vulnerable to contract COVID-19 and diminishes our ability to fight the super-virus off resulting in more organs being seriously affected causing more damage to our body, COVID-19 is a deadly opportunistic virus that causes multi-organ failure.
For those of us who commemorate Black August we can use the Month's following tenets of self-study, fasting/self-discipline, resistance, and community-work to strengthen our overall health individually and collectively:
*Fasting only consuming water during daylight, eating only one meal a day after sunset. If you need to modify your fast you can drink juice or tea.
*Exercise each day either individually or in small groups - practice social-distancing.
*Study about COVID-19, racial health disparities, and how to improve Black health.
*Engage in community health improvement and activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
*Do not go to any corporate stores for anything other than medical or health related items.
*Do not patronize fast food establishments or vendors.
*Eat healthy, natural, and nutritious foods and meals to boost our immune systems.
IMPORTANT HEALTH NOTE: IF YOU HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE OR PRE-HYPERTENSIVE; IF YOU ARE A DIABETIC OR PRE-DIABETIC; IF YOU HAVE A SERIOUS ILLNESS THAT NECESSITATES THAT YOU TAKE MEDICATIONS; IF YOU HAVE ONGOING PROBLEMS WITH YOUR KIDNEYS, BLADDER OR LIVER, DO NOT ABSTAIN FROM DRINKING WATER, DO NOT FAST FROM SUNRISE TO SUNSET!
Instead, drink plenty of water and vegetable juices and eat small meals consisting of fresh fruit and vegetables and raw salads during the day so that you keep yourself nourished, sustained and healthy.
Build Resistance Against COVID-19 By Boosting Our Immune System
Since we as Black folks are more pre-disposed and exposed to contracting COVID-19 we must boost our immune systems to protect ourselves from COVID-19 along with wearing masks and social-distancing.
The following are natural ways to boost our immune systems during Black August and beyond:
Staying hydrating and drinking water helps boost your immune system by making sure your body gets enough oxygen. It also helps your kidneys flush out toxins. In addition to water, you can receive hydration from other sources including:
*Fruits and vegetables (and juicing)
*Fruit or herb infused water
Interestingly, water doesn’t always have to be consumed to be beneficial. Studies show that talking a cold shower can increase the disease-fighting white blood cells in the body leading to fewer sick days.
2. Eat ginger
Ginger supports the immune system, thanks to its high antioxidant content. You can find ginger either in powdered form in the spice aisle or in root form in the produce section.
3. Get enough vitamin D
Insufficient vitamin D intake has been linked to poor immune system function, so if you’re interested in how to boost your immune system, it’s important to make sure you get enough of this vitamin each day. Foods rich in vitamin D include:
*You can also find vitamin D in cod liver oil
4. Take Probiotics
About 70 percent of your body’s immune system resides in your gut! So it only makes sense to support healthy gut function to kick-start your immune system into gear. Take probiotic supplements, or eat probiotic-rich foods like kombucha, kimchi, and homemade sauerkraut.
5. Eat Turmeric
Turmeric is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties, but it can also help support healthy immune function. Turmeric is often taken as a supplement in America, but turmeric (in the form of golden milk) is actually used around the world to support healthy immune function. In fact, turmeric milk is like the “Grandma’s chicken noodle soup” of the Eastern hemisphere.
6. Eat Garlic
Garlic is another well-known immune booster, but you don’t have to eat garlic bread all year long. There are actually many tasty was to incorporate more garlic into your diet, you can eat pesto or hummus.
7. Take Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the most popular immune boosters out there. Many studies have shown that a dose of 6-8 grams per day help to shortened the duration and severity of a virus. Guzzling orange juice or taking a mega dose of vitamin C in one sitting isn’t going to help much. That’s because vitamin C is water soluble, which means your body will just eliminate the excess. Skip the artificially flavored vitamin C packaged packets and find vitamin C sourced from real plants. Eat vitamin C-rich foods like oranges, strawberries, kiwis, cabbage, and spinach. Try camu camu powder - it’s the highest food-based form of vitamin C, with 50 times the vitamin C of oranges.
8. Get Plenty of Zinc
While zinc is likely to be included in most multivitamins or you can take a zinc supplement, you can still boost your immune system by choosing zinc-rich foods. Oysters are the number one source of zinc. One 3-ounce servings contains a whopping 493 percent of your daily recommended value (DV). Other sources include:
*3 ounces of beef chuck (47 percent DV)
*1 ounce of cashews (11 percent DV)
*1 serving of oatmeal (7 percent DV)
9. Again Get Exercise
Exercise is another wonderful way to support your immune system. Many studies show that the body needs only 20 minutes of exercise before the immune system starts to reap the rewards; one simple exercise is regular walking.
10. Practice Stress-Management
Stress decreases the body’s lymphocytes ‘white blood cells’ that help fight off infection. The lower your lymphocyte level, the more at risk you are for viruses. You can reduce stress by being mindful not over-reacting when you are stressed, deep breathing, taking time out to meditate, engaging in relaxing and re-creative activities.
11. Get plenty of rest
Because lack of sleep can compromise your immune system, it’s important to prioritize to your sleep. Studies show that sound sleep improves immune cells known as T cells. These T cells play an important role in the body’s immune system, when cells in the body recognize a virally infected cell, they activate integrins, a sticky type of protein that then allows them to attach to and kill infected cells. How much sleep do you really need? According to the American Sleep Foundation, adults need at least seven to nine hours.
In closing, again let those of us who commemorate Black August in the midst of this COVID-19 Pandemic use it as a time to sharpen our spirits, minds, and bodies in honor of the collective principles of self-discipline and self-determination to highten our struggle against racial oppression that causes racist health disparities and build our health resistance to the COVID-19 virus disease.