Dedicated to heart health for Blacks and other minorities since 1974

The Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) was founded to bring special attention to the disparate and often unrecognized impact that cardiovascular disease and stroke have on African-American and other minority communities. A non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, it unites over 2,000 diverse health professionals, lay members of the community, corporate and institutional members in one mission: to promote the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, including stroke, and to achieve health equity for all through equal access to medical care and technologies. The ABC also mentors young physicians of color, particularly Black cardiologists, and advocates for culturally competent health care for everyone. 

African-Americans are 30% more likely to die from heart disease1
40% more likely to have high blood pressure
—and not have it under control3

Food that promotes healthy hearts and minds

Risk factors for heart disease and stroke include obesity (or excess weight), diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. An excellent way to reduce all these risk factors is the adoption of a plant-based (vegan) diet. This uses a wide variety of vegetables, grains, fruits, beans, and nuts, while excluding animal foods—meat and fish--and animal products such as dairy and eggs. High in fiber and low in saturated fats, sugars, and sodium, a well-planned plant-based diet supplies the needed protein and nutrients for good health. It can help improve heart health through maintaining a healthy weight as well as lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and risk for blood clots.

Feeding the heart—and soul

The ABC recognized that while offering many health benefits and helping to prevent heart disease, making plant-based nutrition sound and be appetizing was a challenge. When traditional animal-based cooking has been part of everyday life and family celebrations for decades, it’s hard to duplicate the physical and emotional satisfaction it brings. The ABC called on their long-time patient education partner, Krames, to develop this first time-ever book of recipes and tips in adopting a plant-based diet, with support from Novartis.

Deliciously making the switch with plant-based recipes and lifestyle tips

The ABC collaborated with the Krames team to create the first Cooking for Your Heart and Soul cookbook in 2019. More than a cookbook, it helps readers with tips on transitioning to plant-based meals through simple steps that engage the whole family. Ingredient swaps, easy cooking methods, and recipes recreate the satisfying spiciness, smokiness, and textures of traditional dishes, creating meals that are heart healthy, nutritionally balanced, and budget friendly.

The ABC and Krames partnership

ABC_Cookbook_2021_00001As a medical society and advocacy organization, the ABC had limited resources to create and fulfill the demand projected for Cooking for Your Heart and Soul. They relied on the Krames team’s expertise not only in creative development and evidence-based health education, but also the logistics of print and fulfillment management.

Since the first edition in 2019, 15,000 free print copies have been printed and fulfilled by Krames. The ABC distributes it across the US to health fairs, churches, hospitals, schools, and at the ABC’s signature “Spirit of the Heart” community events. It also won industry recognition with a 2019 MarCom Platinum award for excellence.

What’s next?

The recipe book is being reprinted for a new round of national distribution. The ABC and Krames are hard at work on a new project, a guide to adult vaccinations. Learn more about the mission of the Association of Black Cardiologists here.


Ready to engage and support your communities?


1 CDC 2021. National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 69, No. 13. Table 10. [PDF | 2.05MB]

2 CDC 2021. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2018. Table A-1a.

3 CDC: 2017. Hypertension Prevalence and Control Among Adults: United States, 2015–2016. NCHS Data Brief, No. 289. Figure 4. [PDF | 361 KB]