Over the course of time, I’ve written articles for xoNecole on how to incorporate foods that will improve the health of your vagina (“The Foods Your Vagina's Been Craving”) as well as ones that will ultimately do your vagina more harm than good (“Here’s What Your Vagina Wishes You Would Eat LESS Of”). And while, in a perfect world, our daily diet would consist of all of the nutrients that our va-jay-jay needs, the reality is that most of us need to add a few supplements — ones that will keep “her” happy and thriving.
That’s what we’re gonna tackle over the next few minutes — different supplements that you probably knew were good for other parts of your body yet can also do wonders for your vagina (and vaginal-related activities) too.
1. Vitamin A
If you want to have a strong immune system, the ability to get pregnant easier/faster, great vision, and the assurance that your organs are receiving what they need in order to function properly, you definitely need to get some vitamin A into your system on a regular basis. Some foods that are rich in this particular nutrient include tomatoes, mangos, eggs, carrots, butter, and salmon.
As far as your vaginal health goes, vitamin A is essential because it helps with the development of your mucous membranes. This is relevant when it comes to your vagina because not only do they play a role in keeping your vagina moist, but they also make it easier for that part of your body to fight off infection as well.
2. Vitamin C
There’s a reason why health experts advise that you up your intake of vitamin C during cold and flu season. Not only is it a super potent antioxidant that’s incomparable when it comes to fighting off free radicals, but this vitamin also helps to keep your blood pressure in check, reduce your risk of heart disease, and helps your body to absorb iron. Vitamin C is also dope on the natural beauty tip since it helps your body to produce collagen (which is what helps your skin and hair to maintain elasticity). Foods that are high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, bell peppers, and broccoli.
Your vagina could benefit from vitamin C if you’re looking to treat a bout of bacterial vaginosis (BV) or if you want an all-natural way to decrease vaginal odor (although if the odor persists, you should definitely make an appointment to see your doctor).
3. Vitamin D
You probably already know that vitamin D is good for your teeth and bones. Did you also know that it’s essential when it comes to fighting bodily inflammation or that it helps to treat depression and can help you to lose weight? Foods that are a great source of vitamin D include dairy, salmon, fortified orange juice, fortified cereal, and mushrooms.
The reason why Vitamin D makes the “pro vaginal health” list is that it helps to prevent vaginal dryness in menopausal women. Studies also reveal that people who are deficient in this nutrient tend to have a lower sex drive and a more challenging time experiencing orgasms. Salmon tonight, anyone?
4. Vitamin E
From your brain to your blood to your reproductive organs, vitamin E is something that your body needs from head to toe. Personally, I’m all about it because I like what the nutrient does for my skin. That’s because it’s great at reducing the appearance of scars, softening the skin, and keeping it from premature aging (it’s also got properties that reduce the itching that comes with eczema and psoriasis). Foods that are good sources of vitamin E include almonds, peanuts, collard greens, pumpkin, and spinach.
Also, if you’re feeling a little dry down below, applying some pure Vitamin E oil can bring some immediate relief. Just make sure that you don’t rely on it for vaginal lubrication if you plan on using a latex condom. Latex and oil do not mix — even when it’s something as awesome as this particular oil-based vitamin.
5. Aloe Vera Juice (or Tablets or Gel)
Even though it’s definitely something that you’ll want to put into your juice or a smoothie (because it’s kind of…blah without some assistance), you can’t go wrong with adding some aloe vera juice to your diet. For starters, it’s quite the mega-nutrient when you stop to consider the fact that it includes vitamins B12, C, and E, folic acid, a ton of different enzymes, and magnesium and zinc (and that’s just scratching the surface!). That’s why it’s not surprising that aloe vera juice is good for regulating blood sugar levels, healing inflamed gums and ulcers, and treating constipation. Beauty-wise, it hydrates dry skin and soothes the effects of eczema and psoriasis.
And what can it do for your vagina? Well, consuming it in juice form can help to keep your vagina naturally lubricated from the inside out. If you apply it as a gel, it’s got a pH balance that complements your vagina, and its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties can make it a great vulva soother after a night of a lot of friction or even as a lubricant if you’d prefer to go a chemical-free route.
The reason why DHEA is actually called that is that its real name is dehydroepiandrosterone (right…try spelling that after looking at it only one time). Long story (and name) short, it’s a natural hormone that helps to produce other hormones like testosterone and estrogen. Because DHEA is somewhat of a hormone balancer, some people take it in supplement form to treat things like depression, erectile dysfunction, and even obesity. It’s also effective as it relates to slowing down the signs of aging. Plus, some studies show that people with type 2 diabetes have a lower level of DHEA in their system than they actually should (good to know if that’s a health issue for you).
Vaginally, DHEA is helpful at balancing estrogen levels inside of your vagina, which can help to make sexual intercourse more pleasurable. Just make sure to run this one by your doctor first because too much estrogen in your system can sometimes produce unwanted side effects.
7. Sea Buckthorn Oil
Although it’s certainly not the kind of nutrient that comes up in daily conversation, never sleep on sea buckthorn oil. The backstory is it's an oil that comes from a Himalayan plant called — yep, you guessed it — the sea buckthorn, and it does all kinds of awesome things for your health. Not only is it a solid source of Vitamin E, calcium, zinc, and copper, but it’s also an oil that helps to reduce your blood sugar levels, keep your skin moisturized, support your liver health, strengthen your tresses, and even make menopause easier to deal with.
And why will your vagina adore it? If you want a source of fatty acids that will help to keep your vaginal walls lubricated, this oil can help to accomplish that goal. Also, if you’re post-menopausal and you don’t want to do traditional estrogen hormone therapy, sea buckthorn oil has studies to support that it’s an awesome alternative when it comes to treating vaginal atrophy (the thinning and dryness of your vagina that oftentimes comes with menopause).
8. Hyaluronic Acid
Probably what hyaluronic acid has the best reputation for is beauty. That’s because it’s awesome when it comes to softening the appearance of fine lines and reducing the appearance of scars on your skin. However, don’t overlook the fact that it contains properties that keep your joints working well as well as keep your eyes hydrated (because experiencing dry eyes is the absolute worst).
When it comes to vaginal atrophy, this is another all-natural treatment that leads the pack. Applying it topically can also help with vaginal dryness or discomfort from sexual penetration, especially if you’re currently dealing with cancer treatments.
9. Fatty Acids
If you’ve always wondered what a “fatty acid” technically is, the best way to describe it is, it’s a building block of fat — one that actually works in your favor. Take omega-3 fatty acids, for example. The properties in it are able to reduce anxiety, improve your vision, naturally assist with the treatment of ADHD (in children), bipolar disorder, and autoimmune diseases and make period-related discomfort more bearable. By the way, foods that are high in this particular fatty acid include tuna, walnuts, and canola oil.
Vaginally, you can benefit from fatty acids because they help to treat vaginal infections (like BV), vaginal dryness (especially in breast cancer patients) and increase pleasure-related chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, so that you’re able to have a more sexually-fulfilling experience. Very cool, indeed.
10. Cranberry Pills
Something that’s definitely packed with antioxidants is cranberries. Its high acidic content makes it pretty reliable when it comes to healing oral health issues, reducing the risk of heart disease, and providing a holistic approach to treating urinary tract infections (UTIs). If you’re also looking for a way to maintain your digestive health as you reduce bodily inflammation, cranberries have your back in those departments too.
Since cranberries are so good at keeping UTIs at bay, this means that they help to reduce the build-up of bad bacteria in your vagina, which is always a good thing. So, if you hate the bitter taste of cranberries, remember that you can always take them in pill form — unless you’re allergic to aspirin; some studies say you could experience side effects if that happens to be the case.
11. Black Seed Oil
Something that I’m a super fan of is black seed oil. It comes from the Nigella sativa plant, and another name for it is black cumin. Actually, who put me on to it is actor (and choreographer) Darrin Dewitt Henson. I can’t seem to find the clip on YouTube, but years ago, he was on The Breakfast Club saying that he attributed his ageless appearance to black seed oil. I looked it up, and an article on its whopping 101 benefits had me hooked. If you’re looking for an all-natural way to lower your blood pressure, heal breakouts, boost your immunity, and even treat asthma, look no further (although I adore it for what it’s done for my skin!).
As far as your vagina goes, if you’re like me and you have a natural fungal sensitivity, this is an oil that can help to keep candida in its proper place. It can also help to clear up vaginal discharge that may irritate your vulva.
Probably the easiest way to describe probiotics is they are live microorganisms that help to keep your gut healthy — and since 80 percent of your immunity is in your gut, taking care of that part of your body is always a vital thing to do. Probiotics help to keep bad bacteria from overtaking your system, make it easier for you to digest your food properly, can make taking medication easier to do, will reduce cholesterol levels, and is great at treating acne, eczema, and hydrating dry skin.
Definitely get some for your vagina because probiotics keep bad bacteria from causing a yeast infection, help to treat BV, and can even help to prevent the growth of cervical cancer cells. And since probiotics can also assist with improving your moods, boosting your energy levels, and increasing your libido — the next time you’re at your local health store, be sure to pick some up. If you need a bit of assistance in making the right selection, check out Byrdie’s “10 Best Probiotics for Women of 2023 for Gut Health” and Healthline’s “10 of the Best Probiotics for Women in 2023 According to a Dietitian.” Your vagina will certainly thank you!
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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