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10 Superfoods Every Woman Should Eat On The Regular

If you wanna get the most out of what you eat, add these foods to your list ASAP.

Wellness

Superfoods. What exactly are they? I'm gonna be real with you—the term itself is one that is used in marketing. Basically, it's a word to let you know when a particular food is so high in nutrients that it's basically off the charts. Well today, I'm gonna take out a moment to share with you 10 foods that make the superfood list. All of them are rich in vitamins and minerals. All of them come with loads of health benefits. And all of them are pretty damn good, both to and for you, from the very moment you put them into your mouth.

If something that you really want to focus more on right through here is being more proactive when it comes to your overall health and well-being, here are some of the foods that will totally have your back. (Oh, and the specific food dishes that I recommend in this? Click on the hyperlinks because they are connected to actual recipes. You can thank me later, chile.)

1. Mushrooms

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Here's something that I'll share from personal experience. While my health is actually pretty good, something that I've had for years is a fungal infection. It's resulted in me having more yeast infections back in the day than I would like and even a couple of bouts of tinea versicolor (by the way, I read that a Black woman has recently invented a cream that combats this particular fungal infection; you can get more info on that here). Anyway, what does all of this have to do with this list? Well, while mushrooms are considered to be a superfood, they are also a fungus. Sooooo…if you're also sensitive to fungi, you might wanna pass on (or at least eat less of) 'em.

For everyone else, mushrooms contain all sorts of health benefits. They are packed with antioxidants including selenium. Selenium is dope because it decreases your chances of developing certain cancer cells, helps to prevent heart disease, reduces mental decline, promotes thyroid health and helps to boost your immune system. Some other awesome things about mushrooms is they contain a good amount of vitamins B and D, copper and potassium and the soluble fiber beta glucan which helps to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. If you've got inflammatory issues, mushrooms also have the antioxidant ergothioneine which helps to lower inflammation and, as a bonus, ergothioneine can also slow down aging signs from the inside out. All of these are solid reasons to make yourself some homemade stuffed mushrooms tonight, don't cha think?

2. Sweet Potatoes

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Sweet potatoes are considered to be a "perfect food" because, so much of what our bodies need, on a daily basis, is found in one. For starters, sweet potatoes contain an incredible amount of vitamins A, B, C and E, along with iron, calcium, selenium, choline, magnesium and antioxidants. Every time you eat a sweet potato, you are taking proactive measures to manage your blood sugar, reduce your stress levels, fight bodily inflammation, prevent ulcers and, thanks to the antimicrobial properties that are also in sweet potatoes, they can help to protect your body from the bacteria that can ultimately lead to pneumonia. Not to mention the fact that the Vitamin C in this vegetable can help to produce collagen to give your skin a healthy glow while its Vitamin E can help to keep your skin and hair moisturized. All of this is a good enough reason to make yourself a baked sweet potato or some sweet potato fries ASAP.

3. Pomegranates

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Pomegranates are the kind of fruit that you have to get on in the fall, if you want to gain all of the nutrients that it has to offer. That's because pomegranates are at their peak between September thru November (although sometimes you can catch a good batch well into January). Personally, one of my favorite things about them is, in Jewish culture, one of the things that they represent is love and fertility.

However, as far as health benefits go, pomegranates are high in Vitamin C, fatty acids and antioxidants (three times the amount of red wine, in fact). They also contain vitamins E and K, fiber, folate and potassium. Eating pomegranates will help to reduce chronic inflammation, properties that help to prevent breast (and prostate) cancer, arthritis and blood pressure. There are even studies to support that pomegranates can help to improve your memory and reduce oxidative stress, so that it's easier to conceive. All that from a fruit that contains approximately 613 tiny little seeds in them. A great way to get pomegranate power into your system is to drink pomegranate juice (not drink; pure organic juice) which you can usually find in your local grocery store.

4. Bone Broth

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As a doula, if there's one thing that I recommend the moms that I work with consume, it's bone broth. Basically, it's the stock that comes from the meaty bones and connective tissue that are left over after doing things like boiling ribs (before baking or grilling) or preparing some homemade chicken soup. The health benefits of bone broth are numerous. The amino acids in bone broth will boost your immune system and help to increase muscle mass. The L-glutamine in it will reduce gut inflammation. The calcium, Vitamin D, zinc and iron will help to keep your bones nice and strong. Also, on the nutrient tip, bone broth contains vitamins A, B, C, K and copper and boron. If you're dehydrated, bone broth's got plenty of electrolytes. Other properties in it can help to improve your quality of sleep, build stronger nails, provide arthritic and joint pain relief and, help to lighten heavy menstrual cycles too.

If you're not a vegetarian or vegan, you can get an easy-to-make recipe for bone broth here. If you happen to not eat meat, there are meat-free alternatives. Click here to make vegetarian bone broth and here to make vegan bone broth.

5. Cauliflower

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Often considered to be the "white half-sibling" of broccoli (LOL), cauliflower contains all kinds of great goodness! It's rich in vitamins B, C and K, magnesium, manganese, potassium, fiber and phosphorus. Some valid perks that come with consuming cauliflower is it's the kind of veggie that is low in carbs and gluten-free (which is why so many people enjoy cauliflower rice). Also, it's got antioxidants in it to help fight off free radicals, promote healthy gut bacteria (remember that 80 percent of your immunity is within your gut) and, along with the flavonoids and carotenoids in this veggie, it can also help to keep cancer cells at bay. Cauliflower also contains choline to boost brain health while the iron in it can help your body to better absorb iron if you happen to be anemic or borderline anemic. Plus, the Vitamin K in cauliflower supports long-term bone health. So, how about making a pizza with some cauliflower crust soon?

6. Arugula

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Arugula is a green that comes from the Mediterranean region. If you've never tasted it before, it has an acquired light peppery taste. Arugula is loaded with calcium, potassium, folate, zinc, iron, phosphorus and vitamins A, C and K. And, while all greens are really good for you, arugula makes the superfood list because it helps to strengthen your heart; keeps free radicals from attacking sensitive areas like your eyes; controls your blood pressure; aids in digestion; speeds up the healing process of skin ailments such as eczema and acne; enhances your athletic performance and, it's an excellent detoxifier. Honestly, that's just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended) of this green vegetable. Yet if you're someone who enjoys fresh salads, add some arugula to them. You'll literally be eating a multi-vitamin, every time you do it.

7. Ginger

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Ginger is a spice that, I'd actually be pretty shocked if you didn't know that it's wonderful at treating nausea (or morning sickness, if you're pregnant). Oh, but it does a whole lot more than that. The gingerol that's in it contains powerful medicinal properties. Because of this, ginger can reduce muscular pain and discomfort, lower blood sugar levels, soothe the discomfort that's associated with chronic indigestion and help to relieve menstrual cramps too. As if that's not awesome enough, ginger also helps to hinder the growth of abnormal cells (that could lead to cancer), helps to improve cognitive health and, it can even inhibit the growth of certain bacteria. So, why not treat your body by making yourself a cup of ginger tea? With some honey and lemon, while it's pretty spicy, it's also pretty damn good too.

8. Pears

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Pears are another one of those fruits that are best bought and eaten in the fall; that's because they are in season from August thru October. They top the list of being one of the healthiest foods in the world because they are high in fiber, plus they've got a good amount of Vitamin C and copper in them as well.

Thanks to the fiber, they help to promote good gut health. Pears also have plant compounds in them; ones that will help to keep your skin glowing and your vision clear. Since they're also rich in the flavonoid antioxidant, pears can reduce bodily inflammation and help to fight the development of cancer cells. Also, the procyanidin antioxidants in this fruit can improve heart health while the nutrients zeaxanthin and lutein will keep your hair and skin looking and feeling healthy. A pear right out of your fruit bowl is good all on its own, but something that tastes absolutely amazing is fresh pear preserves.

9. Buckwheat

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While growing up, something that my mother used to make, fairly often, was buckwheat pancakes. I actually liked them a lot. If you're familiar with buckwheat but you're not exactly sure what it is, it's considered to be a superfood because it's on the whole grain list. It has a good amount of protein and fiber in it, along with a high amount of potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. Some other nutrients that are found in this particular grain include calcium, iron, various kinds of Vitamin B and some Vitamin K too. Because whole grains are linked to good heart health, that's one reason to add buckwheat to your diet. Also, the fiber in it helps to aid in digestion and support weight loss. If you've got diabetes and you want to help to keep it in check, this is a grain that is also a complex carb; complex carbs help to manage glucose levels. And, since buckwheat is gluten-free, you can enjoy it, stress-free, if you happen to be allergic to wheat or barley. All good reasons to give this awesome whole grain a try.

10. Dark Chocolate

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There really is no tellin' how many times I've written a health-related article and dark chocolate has gotten a shout-out in it. That's because it's the kind of food that is just that bomb! It's really high in fiber, manganese, copper, iron and magnesium. Believe it or not, dark chocolate has some fatty acids and antioxidants in it too. All of these things work together to lower your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, boost your immunity, reduce your heart disease risk, protect your skin from damaging UV rays and improve your cognitive function. Not only that but the theobromine compound (which is found in the cacao plant) along with the chemical phenethylamine that's also in dark chocolate can help to prevent depression.

Also, here's something that's a trip—theobromine has the ability to calm down your vagus nerve. Why does that matter? Your vagus nerve is what causes you to cough whenever your throat is irritated, so basically, dark chocolate serves as a cough suppressant too!

Just make sure that you get the kind of dark chocolate that contains at least 60 percent cocoa because, in order to gain all of these benefits, you need to eat pure dark chocolate, not a Snickers candy bar. Oh, but if you do, you will be partaking in the kind of superfood that will be looking out for you and your overall health and well-being for years to come. So, get to a store and cop you some ASAP. That and the rest of what's on this superfood list, sis!

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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