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Traditional African-American food—sometimes referred to as “soul food”—is diverse and flavorful with origins in Africa, the West Indies, and American southern states.
The idea of what soul food is differs greatly among African Americans.
Leafy greens may include spinach, collards, mustard, kale, and cabbage.
Traditionally, many elders eat a large noon meal on Sunday after church.
Cajun and Creole cooking, which originated from the French and Spanish in Louisiana, was changed in character and composition by the influence of African cooks.
In 1965, African Americans were more than twice as likely as whites to eat a recommended diet of fruit, vegetables, fat, fiber, and calcium.
The family may be matriarchal, although father or mother may take on the decision-making role.
Elders are respected and often provide care for their grandchildren.
The following guides emphasize information that can be used to stimulate thinking about cultural differences and prompt questions that will help providers understand how their patients identify with and express their cultural backgrounds.
These are not fact lists to apply indiscriminately.
Older African Americans may be suspicious of clinicians, believing their health is personal and up to God’s will.
Because they may be reluctant to share personal or family issues, building a trusting relationship is key.