I don't know what it is, yet the older I get, the more interested I am in being intentional about taking care of my vagina. I think a big part of it is because, back when I was "out here", I didn't give much thought to how much that part of my body did for me. Oh, but with age, prayerfully comes wisdom. These days? Oh, trust me, I am super conscious about doing all that I can to keep my va-jay-jay happy because y'all, truer words have not been spoken when I say that when "she's" happy…I'm happy.
Several moons back, I actually wrote about the kinds of foods we all should eat if we want to keep our vaginas nice and healthy (check out "The Foods Your Vagina's Been Craving"). Today, let's explore the opposite—the foods that can actually cause all kinds of drama down below, if we're not careful. For the record, the intent is not to get you to no longer enjoy some of your favorite foods, so much as I'm hoping that you will reconsider before having an extra piece or drink that's made up of these ingredients—so that you and your vagina can be in optimum health, both inside of the bedroom and out.
It really does suck that something that is so much fun to eat isn't the best thing for us, but that's how life goes sometimes. The reasons why sugar is problematic as hell is because it can do everything from cause us to gain weight and trigger heart disease and type 2 diabetes to put pimples on our face and even increase the chances of us becoming depressed or being diagnosed with cancer. The reason why your vagina frowns on too much sugar is because we've got good and bad bacteria in that area of our body. Well, something that bad bacteria enjoys consuming even more than we do is sugar and when it gets too much of it—BAM! A yeast infection is sure to be on its way.
Ever since I heard someone say that humans are the only mammals to drink another mammal's milk and then have the nerve to do it past being a baby's age, that has given me a totally different perspective on the stuff. While cheese and ice cream are still two huge guilty pleasures of mine, I must admit that when I go without them, I feel much better. Anyway, if dairy is your thing, it's important to keep in mind that it can actually pull calcium out of your system, up your cholesterol levels, put more sodium into your body, increase the risk of prostate cancer in the men you love and cause you to become lactose intolerant as well. And why does your vagina roll its eyes at dairy? It's because foods like cheese can actually disrupt the gentle bacterial balance inside of your vagina; when that happens, it's another way to end up with an infection.
3. White Stuff
If it's white, it ain't right. Food-wise, that is. The main problem with things like white bread, pasta and rice (except for like jasmine rice) is it's been so heavily processed that there are barely any nutrients in it (although it still contains a ton of carbs that ultimately turn into sugar). Eat too much of this stuff and you could gain a ton of weight with nothing beneficial to show for it. Not only that but white foods have a tendency to spike your blood sugar levels. When that happens, your vagina becomes more vulnerable and definitely more susceptible to bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.
Common sense isn't that common. A wise person once said that, right? A married woman once said to me that while her hubby used to always be interested in having sex, when she decided to eat raw onions—a favorite food of hers, by the way—he had been going down on her less. She thought it was a random coincidence when, actually, probably not.
Onions are good for you in the sense that they are packed with nutrients (including vitamins B and C, potassium and the compound sulfur) and they're able to put cancer-fighting compounds into your system, as well as control your blood sugar and improve your bone density. Still, when it comes to your va-jay-jay, a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is if something affects the way your breath smells, it's most definitely gonna affect the way your vagina smells and even tastes to a slight degree. And onions, specifically? They have a reputation for being particularly pungent. Before sex? Hard pass.
5. Junk Food
A couple of years back, I actually wrote an article for this platform about why junk food is not good for us (check out "Why You Should Consider Leaving Fast Food Alone"). A main reason why it's problematic, from head to vagina to toe, is it suppresses your immune system. When that happens, your body cannot fight off free radicals, viruses and infections. In fact, if you eat a lot of junk and you notice that your vagina has been itching a lot all of a sudden, go cold turkey on that kind of food and see if that helps. Oftentimes, the culprit is your diet. Real talk.
I don't know about you but, to me, there is nothing like some roasted asparagus tips that have been drizzled in butter, olive oil and parmesan cheese. Chile. The cool thing about this particular veggie is it's actually pretty good for you. Not only is it loaded with Vitamin K and folate, it's also got a fair amount of vitamins A and C, along with other antioxidants and dietary fiber. This means that asparagus can help to keep you regular, lower your blood pressure and improve your digestive health overall. So, why should you consider laying off of it, I'd say a day or two before having sex? There's something in it that makes urine wreak and sometimes cause our vaginal secretions to not be very pleasant smelling either. Not only that but it throws our vagina's pH balance off which can—you already know—trigger an infection.
There are few foods that are more complex than coffee. While, on one hand, it is able to do things like burn fat, make you more alert (at least temporarily), increase your physical performance, reduce your risk of certain cancers and even having a stroke, coffee also can trigger insomnia, make you anxious, irritate your stomach, make your colon lazy and become addictive. And when it comes to your vaginal health, like onions, it can also give your vagina an unpleasant odor. Plus, the caffeine in coffee has an odd way of hindering your body from fighting candida as strongly as it should. An overgrowth of candida is what causes a yeast infection. So yeah…push the java back, just a bit.
8. Red Meat
Much like coffee, there are some good and then not-so-good things about red meat too. Let's go with the good part first. Because it is high in iron, Vitamin B12 (something that a lot of Black women are low in) and other minerals, consuming it in moderation can be smart; especially if you are anemic or borderline anemic. The flip side to this is you've got to make sure that you eat leaner cuts because red meat can also be high in saturated fat which can cause a sorts of health issues (including heart disease) up the road. The main reason why your vagina would probably wish that you'd go without a few more hamburgers is because saturated fat can trigger bodily inflammation; that can definitely lower your system's immunity and also make your vagina susceptible to an infection.
9. Fried Foods
I have an air fryer and it really has changed my life. That said, I must admit that I'm someone who has a bit of a weakness for fried foods. I live in the South, so some good fried chicken or even some seasoned fries are like catnip to me. Still, I know that anything that is heavily fried in oil can clog my arteries, increase my diabetes risk and might even put the toxic substance acrylamide (which happens as the result of high-temperature cooking) into my system.
Besides, it's not like my vagina is all that thrilled whenever I have a hush puppy, some mozzarella sticks or a plate of fried green tomatoes (I told y'all that I was southern). For one thing, the fat in fried foods can throw off my vagina's pH balance. Secondly, fried foods are actually directly linked to bacterial vaginosis—both for me and for you. Something to ponder, the next time you decide to fry something up real quick.
10. Stuff with Preservatives in It
The long short of what preservatives is, is they are chemicals that are put into foods and drinks in order to make them last longer. The reality is a lot of the food that you see on the aisles at grocery stores are loaded with preservatives and some of them are pretty bad for your health. For instance, nitrates which are used to preserve meats can lead to colon cancer if consumed too often and sodium benzoate which are in a lot of sodas and packaged foods can increase ADHD, oxidative stress, allergies and inflammation. We already discussed that inflammation is definitely not the friend of any vagina, so try and stick to fresh and organic foods, as much as you possibly can. Your vagina will certainly thank you for doing so.
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