Not too long ago, I wrote an article for the site entitled, "15 Foods Every Woman Should Have In Her Fridge At All Times". I did it because, after doing a bit of research and consuming many of those foods on a consistent basis, I started to have more energy, my periods were shorter and I felt better all the way around. In the spirit of that, this piece is going to shout-out some other foods, albeit with a bit of a different approach. Today, what I'm going to break down are how 12 different ones are able to specifically address some of the health concerns that many of us, as women, tend to have.
So, if you currently feel pretty good yet, in your mind, you believe that you could always feel a little bit better, consuming some of these foods more often will certainly help you to reach that very goal.
1. Cucumbers Will Detoxify Your System
It always fascinates me when I discover that a food that contains a ton of water also has quite a bit of nutrients in it too. Such is the case with cucumbers. They are made up of 96 percent water and they've got protein, fiber and a ridiculous amount of Vitamin K, along with some vitamins C, potassium, manganese and magnesium. Cucumbers are good for you because they're also a good source of antioxidants, can help to lower your blood sugar levels and, thanks to all of the water and fiber that's in them, if you're looking for another way to detox your system, consuming cucumbers is quite the lick.
Cucumber Recipe: Asian Cucumber Salad
2. Eggs Will Strengthen Your Hair and Nails
Something that is present in every cell that you have and also helps to make up 20 percent of your body is protein. That's why it's so important to eat some of it on a daily basis. As far as nutrients go, protein is a wonderful source of B vitamins and selenium (a powerful antioxidant). Eggs can raise your "good cholesterol" levels, improve your eye health, reduce your risk of heart disease and it contains quite a bit of amino acids (they can improve your exercise performance, prevent muscle loss and even make it easier to sleep at night). And since your hair and nails are made up of a protein known as keratin and one serving of an egg has six grams of protein in it, you can see why having a couple of eggs a week could keep your hair and nails nice and healthy.
Egg Recipe: Avocado Deviled Eggs
3. Bell Peppers Will Reduce Bad Breath
Bell peppers are cool because they're a low-calorie food; one that has quite of bit of water in them (92 percent) along with fiber, vitamins A, B6, C, E and K, as well as folate, potassium and several plant compounds. If you consume bell peppers on a fairly regular basis, they've got the ability to protect your eyes, reduce your anemia risk, boost your immunity, improve your moods and lower your chances for getting cancer too.
However, I decided to give bell peppers a shout-out because something that they are also able to do is help to keep your breath smelling fresh. Thanks to the high amount of Vitamin C that's in them, bell peppers are able to combat the bacteria that leads to bad breath in the first place. So, if you don't have a mint around but you do have a bell pepper or two on hand, believe it or not, that's about just as good.
Bell Peppers Recipe: Vegan Fajitas
4. Citrus Fruit Will Reduce Inflammation
If you're looking for something that is a powerful source of antioxidants, fiber, folate, potassium and Vitamin C, look no further than an orange, grapefruit, lemon or lime — things that qualify as being a citrus fruit. Aside from being able to keep your immune system strong, citrus fruit is also great at boosting brain health, reducing the risk of kidney stones, improving heart health, keeping you hydrated (it's also loaded with water) and even helping your system to absorb more iron. Another solid bonus that comes with citrus fruits is the antioxidants in them can reduce inflammation in your body and also help to repair damaged tissues, both of which are highly beneficial.
Citrus Fruit Recipe: Hint-of-Orange Pancakes with Grapefruit Syrup
5. Garlic Will Reduce Stress
When I sense that I've got a cold coming on, something that I will be quick to get are some garlic bulbs. This particular food, which happens to be a member of the onion family, has manganese, vitamins B6 and C, selenium, fiber and traces of calcium, copper and iron in it. It's a surefire way to strengthen your immune system (thanks to all of its potent antioxidants), lower your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol levels, reduce blood clotting and, it can even increase longevity. Also, since garlic is loaded with the compound sulfur and sulfur can increase the substance glutathione and that is what helps your body to feel less stressed, if you're feeling anxious or overwhelmed, eating something that has fresh garlic in it can certainly never hurt.
Garlic Recipe: The Garlickiest Fried Rice
6. Berries Will Stabilize Your Moods
Berries are considered to be a really healthy food, in part, because of the antioxidants, fiber, manganese and vitamins C and K that are in them. Eating ones like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries on the regular can fight inflammation, keep your gut healthy, improve the quality of your skin, protect against cancer and can even help to keep your arteries in good condition. Something that I really like about berries is they contain properties that will reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol. The less cortisol, the more balanced your moods will be.
Berries Recipe: Triple Berries Salsa
7. Swiss Chard Will Fight Signs of Aging
Some health experts consider Swiss chard to be a superfood. That's because it really is a multivitamin that comes in the form of a dark leafy green. There's not enough space for this particular article to list everything that's in it; for now, I'll just share that it's got protein, fiber, iron, vitamins A, C, E and K, magnesium, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium and antioxidants in it. This makes it the kind of food that fights off free radicals, helps to keep you regular, decreases inflammation, destroys cancer cells and boosts brain power.
Another plus about Swiss chard is, since it's also rich in beta-carotene (a nutrient that your body converts to Vitamin A so that your system is able to repair damaged tissues and grow skin), it's just the kind of food that you should have in your diet, if you want to keep aging at bay.
Swiss Chard Recipe: Simple Sautéed Swiss Chard
8. Guava Will Improve Your Memory
Although guava is a fruit that is available all year long, it's typically at its best during the spring season. As far as nutrients go, Vitamin C, fiber, potassium and antioxidants are what it's best known for. On the benefits tip, guava can lower your risk for diabetes and cancer, relieve constipation, treat a toothache (due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties), reduce stress and shorten the lifespan of a cold. And yes, guava can also help to improve your memory (and productivity) because its Vitamin C and antioxidant levels are helpful when it comes to providing your brain the nutrients that it needs to function properly (especially when it comes to your prefrontal cortex and hippocampus which are responsible for your short- and long-term memory).
Guava Recipe: Guava Chutney
9. Ginger Will Decrease Any Bloating
The older I get, the more of a fan of ginger that I become. Probably the best thing about this particular plant is the fact that it contains gingerol which has some super potent medicinal benefits in it. You probably already know that ginger is a wonderful way to ease the kind of nausea that's associated with pregnancy or motion sickness but there's more. Ginger also lowers blood sugar levels, reduces menstrual pain, fights off infections, decreases inflammation and, it can also make getting over a cold easier to bear. Something else that's fascinating about ginger is the enzymes in it help to break down the gasses that may be lodged within your intestinal tract. Because of this, eating ginger can help to decrease any bloating that you might experience.
Ginger Recipe: Ginger Lime Hummus
10. Brown Rice Will Give You a Fuller Butt
Brown rice makes the list for foods that can make you feel good because it's a whole grain and whole grains are definitely great for you. It's considered to be better for you than white rice because it contains all parts of the grain (hence the "whole" word) while white rice has most of the nutrients removed from it. Some of the many vitamins and minerals in brown rice include a few B vitamins, vitamins E and K, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium and dietary fiber. Other benefits of brown rice include the fact that it aids in digestion, improves heart health, supports weight loss, helps to control cholesterol levels and even has the reputation for helping to manage some depression-related symptoms.
Yet here's what tripped me out about it — brown rice is also full of what are known as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). These are not only a good source of energy but the way they get processed into your system can result in less muscle loss which can result in a bigger butt over time. #themoreyouknow
Brown Rice Recipe: Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps
11. Water Will Lubricate Your Vagina
Believe it or not, water is considered to be a food and since our bodies are made up of around 60 percent water, we need to keep plenty of it in our system at all times. Water is good for you because it regulates your body temperature, flushes out toxins, lubricates joints, replenishes cells and body tissues, increases energy levels, keeps you regular, moisturizes your skin and hair and naturally lubricates your vagina — and since wetness makes sex so much more pleasurable…where's your water bottle at, sis!
Water Recipe: Spa Fruit Infused Detox Water
12. Saffron Will Increase Sexual Pleasure
Saffron is dope on a few levels. So much, in fact, that I actually listed it as a food that can help you to handle your period better (check out "These Foods Will Make Your Period So Much Easier To Handle"). Because it's considered to be such a powerful antioxidant, saffron also contains cancer-fighting properties, can curb your appetite (which can result in weight loss), improve eye health, balance blood sugar levels and, it's at the top of many aphrodisiac food lists. Not only have some studies attributed it to improving erectile dysfunction in men and increasing the libido of women who are on antidepressants, saffron has a way of increasing lubrication too and again, wetter is always much better. Enjoy.
Saffron Recipe: Oven-Baked Risotto with Saffron and Chorizo
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “On My Mama” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour. So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
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