African Heritage and Health Week is celebrated in the first full week of February each year. This year it is observed from February 7 to 13. It’s a great way to begin the traditional February observance of Black History Month.
History of African Heritage and Health Week
Each year, Oldways — a food and nutrition nonprofit with the mission to guide people to good health through heritage, begins Black History Month by helping communities in the U.S. celebrate healthy African cuisines during African Heritage & Health Week.
Observed for a week from the first Monday each February, the African Heritage & Health Week seeks to commemorate the ingredients, taste, and healthy cooking techniques that were crucial to the well-being of African American ancestors.
The holiday was initiated to raise awareness about the health beneﬁts of traditional African cuisines to spur Americans to include the culinary choices of their African American ancestors into their lifestyle and inspire them to eat better by learning to cook with these techniques and ingredients.
The importance of the African Heritage and Health Week holiday can be seen in research studies that put African Americans at a greater risk of chronic conditions due in part to social determinants of health like economic opportunities and access to fresh and healthy food ingredients.
For instance, African American men are 1.8 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in contrast to their caucasian counterparts. Also, death rates of females diagnosed with breast cancer are 40% higher for African American women.
According to Oldways, the ancestral African diet is rich in colorful fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens, yams, and sweet potatoes as well as beans, nuts, peanuts, rice, flatbreads, and whole-grain foods that are crucial to eradicating diseases.
African Heritage and Health Week timeline
Jane C. Wright, an African American woman who changed healthcare in the U.S. by making chemo a viable cancer cure, is born.
This surgeon initiates storing blood plasma in blood banks and is counted as a game-changer.
The respected surgeon recognized for developing groundbreaking techniques in neurosurgery is born.
Oldways’ Diet Pyramid, a combined design by historians and dietitians on healthy and flavorful food, launches.
African Heritage and Health Week FAQs
What is the Taste of Heritage Cooking Classes?
Taste of Heritage Cooking Classes was organized to help African Americans gain hands-on experience on how to eat and cook traditional African ingredients, and reconnect them back to healthy living and eating like their ancestors.
How can I celebrate African Heritage and Health Week?
To celebrate African Heritage and Health Week, dine at local African Restaurants throughout the week. Or, schedule a potluck party where your guest brings healthy traditional African dishes for everyone’s enjoyment. You can also spread awareness for awareness of the week and its purpose on social media platforms for more people to get involved.
What can I do on African Heritage and Health Week?
Take the “Taste of Heritage Cooking Classes” organized by Oldways to gain hands-on experience on how to eat and cook traditional African ingredients.
How to Observe African Heritage and Health Week
Dine at a local African Restaurant
To celebrate African Heritage and Health Week, dine at local African Restaurants throughout the week. Go even further to help local African Restaurants by informing potential patrons of specials and offers available at the restaurant.
Schedule a potluck party
What better way to stay in tune with our African roots than scheduling a potluck party with family, friends, and acquaintances to celebrate the holiday? Ask your guest to bring a healthy traditional African dish and encourage them to research recipes for traditional African food online.
Spread awareness on social media
Get Social and spread awareness of the week and its purpose on social media platforms for the world to see! Use the hashtags #AfricanHeritage and #AfrianHeritage&HealthWeek.
5 Things You Should Know About African Heritage And Health Week
There’s a commencement event in D.C.
To kickstart African Heritage and Health Week, a presentation is held at the National Geographic Museum in D.C. by African Heritage and Health Advisor Tambra Raye Stevenson.
Amplifying the beneﬁts of African cuisines
African Heritage and Health Week was initiated to raise awareness of the health beneﬁts and exciting ﬂavors and tastes of traditional African heritage cuisines.
There’s a cooking class you can attend
The organization behind African Heritage and Health Week hosts classes to help people explore African cuisine called A Taste of African Heritage.
The founding institution is a non-profit
Oldways, initiators of the holiday, is a food and nutrition non-profit with the mission to guide people to good health through heritage, using practical and positive programs grounded in science and tradition.
African Heritage and Health Week was purposely made to coincide with the beginning of Black History Month according to Oldways.
Why African Heritage and Health Week is Important
It highlights the benefits of African cuisines
Traditional African cuisines are known for their vital health benefits. African Heritage and Health Week’s purpose is to help highlight those benefits to spur modern African Americans to see a reason to include them in their lifestyle.
It seeks to help African Americans eat healthily
One of the purposes of African Heritage and Health Week is to help African Americans see eating healthily as a lifestyle. Since the African Heritage Diet is rooted in vegetables, fruits, tubers and grains, nuts, healthy oils, and seafood, scientific research suggests that eating them like our ancestors can help lower the risk of chronic health diseases.
It promotes black culture
African Heritage and Health Week promotes African culture. The premise for the week is to help African Americans see how eating like our ancestors can help lower the risk of chronic health diseases, achieve a healthy weight, and promote overall well-being.
African Heritage and Health Week dates