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 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 masterdating? 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 masterdating 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 Masterdating All About?
Masterdating. 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 masterdating 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 masterdating 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 masterdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masterdating
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 masterdating 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” Masterdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masterdating 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 masterdating 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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