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. ;)
Whether it was your group chat, social media feed, or your favorite media outlet covering the spectacle, I’m pretty sure you’ve come across the viral Black wedding between actress KJ Smith (Sistas, Raising Kanan) and actor Skyh Black (All the Queen’s Men, Sistas). From their grand entrance to Jay-Z, Kayne West, and Beyoncé’s song “Lift Off” to KJ’s standout dance routine and the endless celebrity appearances, it’s an addictive TikTok scroll you can’t help but delve into.
But what many people would be surprised to know is that the couple’s original wedding plan was nothing like what it grew to be. What started as her simply scrolling through posts to get ideas eventually transformed into what the internet knows now as #TheBlackExperience. In an exclusive conversation with xoNecole, KJ walked us through her planning process, the morning of her wedding, and what she thinks of the online response.
Some women have their whole wedding planned out, from the bridal gown and venue to the bridal party and playlist. However, KJ was not one of those people. “I didn’t foresee a wedding in my future,” she reveals. “I was just gonna be the boss chick, rich auntie. I didn’t force love in my life until recently. I never had an idea of what a dream wedding would look like, it was easier for me to elope.”
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
And to many people’s surprise, that was their original plan – until Skyh brought up a valid concern. He was raised by his grandmother and thought she should be at the wedding, and naturally, that led to KJ wanting her grandmother to be there as well – then her mom – and later her sister – and, you’ve gotta invite the besties too, right? From there, the guest list continued to blossom. Much like the updo and pop of color bold red lip, she wore on her special day, which was initially on her Pinterest board as a soft glam look with her hair hanging on her shoulders, KJ is okay with changing her plan if it brings her and her loved ones happiness.
So let’s get into the wedding, which took place in Malibu, CA. The first thing you should know about the celebrity couple is that they’re non-traditional. They know, and they don’t care. So, in true unconventional fashion, they shared the morning of the wedding together.
“I woke up with Skyh, we walked our dog, had black coffee, and said good morning to the people who stayed at the venue with us,” she says.
Now, it was time for hair and makeup. While she was getting glammed up, she had Black-owned McBride Sisters wine and champagne (which ties into The Black Experience theme) on deck with her mom and friends, had her besties help rework her vows, retried on every outfit (sis is very Type-A), took photos, and ended the early-celebration with prayer and meditation. It seems very non-Bridezilla, I said.
“Yeah, I was the most unbothered bride ever. Everyone was just so supportive. As entertainers, we go on red carpets all the time. We actually have a production company,” she explains. “The get-ready process was like a day at work, but with people we love the most. Being entertainers, we didn’t feel stressed at all, but my excitement was so high.”
Things moved quickly, and before she knew it, it was time to line up to walk down the aisle.
“Yeah, I was the most unbothered bride ever. Everyone was just so supportive. As entertainers, we go on red carpets all the time. We actually have a production company. The get-ready process was like a day at work, but with people we love the most. Being entertainers, we didn’t feel stressed at all, but my excitement was so high.”
KJ Smith and her bridal party
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
Since everything started with their grandmothers, the couple wanted to ensure they honored them and planned to keep an element of their wedding traditional. Although we’ve all seen the reception videos and photos online, you may have noticed visuals from the wedding itself are harder to find.
“We planned for it to be traditional, but we’re not like that, so we tried to create those moments. We jumped the broom and had a salt ceremony (where the bride and groom individually pour salt into a glass container, symbolizing their lives becoming one.) But honestly, still, nothing was traditional about it.”
She goes on to explain that her mom caught the holy ghost coming down the aisle, her glam team was on deck, and she became so nervous with excitement that she had an anxiety attack – something she struggled with for years, she explains tearfully. Her friends had to literally cheer her down the aisle because of how overwhelmed she felt until she eventually calmed down.
“Skyh was standing there with his hand on his heart; we have our own little language, and I could feel the support,” she shares.
It was surprising to hear all these emotional moments happened before the party we saw online. That is until she once again got into the backstory.
“As a Black woman actress, for so long, it was popular to be mysterious and secretive, but that’s not who I am or what I like. Plus, we both wanted to create an experience for everyone there. We are the people who always host family and friends,” she says. “Like for me, the first order of business was getting sandals for the women so they can dance all night long. We had oxtail, D'ussé, and a coffee and sativa lounge – which is part of Skyh and I’s lifestyle and routine. We wanted to bring them into our world.”
Skyh Black (L) and KJ Smith (R)
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
She went on to discuss the dance routine she did for her husband at the reception, which has taken over the internet. Apparently, that’s another thing that didn’t go according to plan. According to KJ, she had promised a performance at their joint bachelor/ bachelorette party, but her outfit got stolen from her car. So, Skyh ended up performing for her – complete with a strip tease. Still, she never forgot her promise to dance for him.
So, she hired her friend as a choreographer, learned the routine, made friends and family watch it endless times, and attended Beyoncé’s Renaissance show a few days before for a confidence boost. It ended up being a show to remember. But that wasn’t all the night offered. Lil Mo performed, and the guests received special goody bags featuring their favorite Black-owned products like journals, hair care, and more.
“We made sure everyone was taken care of all night. That kind of stuff makes us happy. I wanted everyone there to experience the joy and love I have for myself, my partner, and for them. I wanted them to feel full and whole, and they had the time of their lives,” she says.
But naturally, the internet is going to internet, and while there were countless people praising the event and applauding the newlyweds, some thought it was too over the top. I was curious to know her thoughts on some of the criticism.
“It’s cool. We did what we wanted to do. I’ve decided to share my world with people. Just how I went on social media platforms and found inspiration, I want people to do the same,” she explains. “I don’t think it's fair to my supporters not to give that out. There’s so much I wanna share with brides, specifically Black brides. I love that people are adding it to their Pinterest boards."
"I wanted everyone there to experience the joy and love I have for myself, my partner, and for them. I wanted them to feel full and whole, and they had the time of their lives."
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
“I’m happy with it because we did what we wanted to do. They can do what they wanna do. Don’t be cruel, though, because you will get blocked,” she said, laughing.
The more I spoke with her, the more her sense of freedom shined through. People are always going to have their opinions, but at the end of the day, it’s you who has to live your life, and it seems like the couple realizes that and embraces that power. She also stressed the importance of not living for others and the lessons life has taught her.
“I’ve been to countless weddings, and I’ve been in countless weddings. I’m a generally older bride. So when women in my demographic get married, and you and your husband are busy working people like us, you deserve to have the one you want to have,” she shares.
“This is what we wanted to do. Our loved ones love and support us. We did so much to honor them, but we also wanted to start our own tradition, legacy, and creation. I'm not going to be pulled back into ideas of the past when I’m trying to create a future with my partner. “
If you’d like to see more of the couple, you probably won’t have to wait long. Although no content is planned yet, she admits to being an oversharer. “Me being open and transparent about my experiences lets people know it’s okay to have flaws; it makes you human, and for many years, I didn’t believe that was okay. I had pressure to be perfect, and I’d crumble every time,” she explains to xoNecole.
Now, she owns her flaws and uses them as a superpower to connect with her community and feel and express her love.
“Some people give us [Skyh and KJ] a hard time because they say we just seem too perfect. I’m like, why is that a bad thing? I love the people I love. From my man to my mama, to my friends - unabashedly. We move through time and space how we want to move. If we did it another way, we’d let ourselves and our union down.”
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Feature image by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
Whether you prefer to travel in groups, solo, or on baecations, picking the right destination is a major component of ensuring a great trip. Where you go for your next vacation can come down to price, location, activity options, and a host of other things. We’ve seen how often group trips can go awry because each person has different interests and wants to do different things. But how do you pick the right place for yourself when there’s so many options to choose from?
Choosing a destination that will provide you with the most memorable experience comes down to your own needs, and believe it or not, your love language can help with that. Our love languages are a guide to how we prefer to receive love and support, as well as how we like to give it.
Knowing about our love language can help build healthy relationships, better self-care routines, and improve our overall well-being. Imagine centering your travel around the way that you like to be loved and then experiencing that each moment of your trip. Every place around the world is unique and thus can provide a different vibe and feeling for us. Figuring out the places that align with our love language can be a game changer in how we experience the world.
Whether you’re a quality time girlie like me or prefer acts of service, here’s some of the best destinations to visit based on the five love languages.
If your love language is acts of service, you might want to visit...
The “Eternal City” is home to the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and all the pasta and gelato that your heart desires. People who value acts of service love when things are done for them, and life is made easier. If that’s your jam, consider going to Rome and experiencing an authentic Italian dinner cooked by locals for you. What better act of service than having someone cook a full meal for you in their home?
No need to learn how to roll pasta dough or knead pizza. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the free-flowing wine while learning about Italian culture and having a 4-course meal provided for you. After that, take a guided city tour where someone else can show you around all the popular spots, skipping the lines and avoiding crowds.
Having acts of service as your love language is not just about how others show you love but also about how you show it back. If you enjoy giving acts of service to others, consider heading to Thailand and visiting an ethical wildlife sanctuary where you can spend the day volunteering. Choose a place like Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, where people are not allowed to touch or ride the elephants but can help with harvesting bananas, cleaning enclosures, or even helping out in the animal clinic. You’ll leave feeling a sense of pride and knowing that your time was spent in a way that made an impact.
If your love language is physical touch, you might want to visit...
There are so many ways that we can experience the love language of physical touch, and Guatemala is a tropical sanctuary that can provide just that. This South American country is full of rainforests, volcanoes, and ancient ruins and can be the perfect escape to get some TLC. Consider staying at a luxury hotel like Villa Bokeh, where you can get your physical needs met through massages, yoga, or rowing on their lagoon. And if you want to explore off the resort, get those steps in with a hike of one of Guatemala’s volcanoes.
If your love language is gift giving, you might want to visit...
There’s no better place to go to for all your shopping needs than Dubai. Whether you are a gift giver or like to be spoiled, this is where you need to be. To start, the Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world at over 12 million square feet. With around 1,200 shops to choose from, you are bound to find something for just about everyone. Dubai is not a budget destination, so leave a little extra space in your luggage and prepare to spend a pretty coin while you’re there. If luxury gifts aren’t your thing, head to the Covent Garden Market, where you can shop local vendors for more affordable items.
If your love language is quality time, you might want to visit...
Whether you’re planning a cute baecation or a solo trip, quality time is all about disconnecting and spending intentional time with your loved one or yourself. Costa Rica is an ideal location to be off the grid and be present. Spend some special time with bae at a nice resort, enjoying a couples massage, a trip to the rainforest, or a sunset dinner. There’s something about being off the grid that allows us to be more present with each other.
If you want to get in some DND solo quality time, book a stay at Nayara Springs Resort, located on the outskirts of Antigua, where you can enjoy uninterrupted and secluded relaxation while indulging in amenities like yoga classes and a hot springs pool.
Marco VDM/Getty Images
There are many ways to spend quality time with yourself or others, so why not do it in one of the most beautiful countries in the world? Explore Dar es Salaam with family, learn about the history of Tanzania, and then spend more quality time at the beach on Mbudya Island. If you are looking for a more romantic trip or quality time on your own, go out to Zanzibar, the archipelago off the coast of Tanzania. Here you’ll find some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and can stroll through the historical Stone Town.
If your love language is words of affirmation, you might want to visit...
If words of affirmation get you feeling all tingly inside, then why not take a trip to the "City of Love," Paris, France? Not only is Paris considered the mecca for love, but French is literally one of the world’s romance languages. So take a French lesson where you can learn how to speak beautiful words about yourself, or if you’re with bae, take a stroll by the Eiffel Tower at night while sharing some of the things you appreciate about each other.
Bonus points if you can say it in French.
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