I don't know where y'all live but I live in Nashville, Tennessee (hence all of the y'all-ing that I tend to do). And chile, when the summer creeps on over this way, it can get pretty ridiculous due to all of the humidity in the South. While I've learned a few keep-cool-hacks like investing in blackout curtains, taking cooler showers, sleeping with a fan on (yes, I have central air but who wants to pay rent to keep that running non-stop?) and working downstairs (because heat rises, right?), I've also realized that if I eat certain foods, I am able to remain cooler too.
If you appreciate the summer season, but you can't stand feeling all hot 'n sticky, do your body temperature a favor and eat a little more of the following 10 foods. They're healthy, they're delicious and they're scientifically proven to make you feel cooler, well through Labor Day too.
Pineapples are actually one of my favorite fruits. When you get a good one, it's super sweet, plus it's packed with plenty of Vitamin C and manganese. As far as health benefits go, pineapples are good for you because they've got antioxidants that will reduce oxidative stress. Another cool thing is the enzyme bromelain that's in them can help you to better digest your food while also boosting your immune system (bromelain can ease arthritic-related discomfort too). Another bonus with pineapples is, thanks to all of the Vitamin C that's in it (approximately 131 percent of your RDA), it's a great food to treat yourself to if you're trying to get pregnant. That's because Vitamin C helps to fight off free radicals; ones that are prone to do a real number on your reproductive system, over time.
The reason why pineapples make this list of foods that are naturally able to keep your body cool is because, something else that bromelain is able to do is reduce bodily inflammation. The less inflamed your tissues are, the cooler your body temperature will be, overall.
COOL DOWN WITH: Impress your friends with a Pineapple Fluff Dessert. You can cop the recipe here.
When you come across a watermelon that is perfectly ripe, it is truly one of the best things ever! On the health tip, watermelon is good for your health because it's high in vitamins A and C. It also contains the plant compound cucurbitacin E, which contains anti-inflammatory properties. Since watermelon also has the plant nutrient lycopene in it, watermelon can help to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and keep your vision strong. As a bonus, thanks to the amino acid citrulline that this fruit also contains, watermelon is able to reduce muscle soreness, if you happen to be someone who works out on the regular.
And just how is watermelon able to cool your body down? Water is something that is able to help to regulate our body temperature. Since this is a fruit that happens to be made up of 92 percent water, I'm pretty sure you can connect the dots on why it can be a delicious way to beat the heat.
COOL DOWN WITH: Summer ain't right without some homemade watermelon popsicles. Learn how to make some of 'em here.
Guess how much water is in a cucumber? A whopping 96 percent! That's kind of crazy, once you factor in that it is a fruit (yes, fruit) that is packed with protein, fiber and lots of Vitamin K, along with some potassium, magnesium and Vitamin C too. The combination of all of these nutrients makes it possible for cucumbers to keep your blood sugar right, keep your bones nice and strong and, they can even help to make depression symptoms more manageable (due to all of the B-vitamins in them which can balance out your stress levels).
This is one more food that makes the "cool you off" list, mostly because it can hydrate you while keeping bodily inflammation down at the same time.
COOL DOWN WITH: If you're a smoothie kind of girl, how about one where cucumbers are the main ingredient? You can learn how to make that happen here.
Celery is a trip, ain't it? The reason why I say that is because, if there is any food on this list that is a lot like chewing water (well, cucumbers come in a close second), celery would have to be the one. That doesn't mean it's not hella good for you, though. Where do I begin? Celery contains the antioxidants ferulic acid, caffeic acid, and quecetin that help to soothe joint pain, help to heal kidney and liver infections, and also naturally reduce UTI-related symptoms. Celery has the vitamins A, B, C and iron in it. Some other things that are dope about this particular veggie are the properties in it can assist in lowering your blood pressure, fighting bacterial infections and, due to its diuretic properties, celery is a great food for treating bloating. Also, if your man has infertility issues, celery can also help to treat that (plus, it's known to make semen/sperm taste better because the C that's in it helps to make it taste less salty).
Since celery is made up of 95 percent water, it also can hydrate your cells so that your body temperature doesn't increase and cause you to feel hotter when you're out in the summer sun.
COOL DOWN WITH: If you happen to like soup year-round, how about some summer celery soup? The recipe is right here.
Bet you didn't see this one coming, huh? Let's start with all of the ways that mint is good for you. For starters, its anti-inflammatory properties can help to soothe cold and asthma-related symptoms. Since mint has a powerful way of inhibiting the growth of bacteria that is in our mouths, it's a great way to treat bad breath. Since mint also contains digestive enzymes, it's able to help your body to better absorb the nutrients from your food while also supporting your ability to maintain your preferred body weight. The anti-bacterial properties in mint can help to remove toxins from your system. And, mint is also able to stimulate the area of your brain that is directly connected to mental awareness and memory.
Thanks to the menthol that's in mint, if you put some mint leaves into your drink or even chew on a piece of mint gum, it can create a "chilling" sensation; one that won't literally cool your body down, but it can make you feel a lot more comfortable when you're in the summer heat.
COOL DOWN WITH: Feel like downing a couple of mocktails or two? How about a virgin mojito? You can make it here.
If you want to get a little more fiber into your system, apples totally have your back. They also have a nice amount of Vitamin C in them, so that you're able to get some antioxidants into your body as well. Since apples also have the flavonoid epicatechin in them, they can help to fight heart disease and lower your blood pressure. If you happen to have a real sweet tooth, some studies indicate that apples can actually lower your type 2 diabetes risk by as much as almost 30 percent. Apples also promote good gut health, contain properties that fight cancer and, the flavonoid quercetin that's in them can reduce bodily inflammation and significantly decrease the chance of having recurring asthma attacks.
COOL DOWN WITH: Treat you and your kids to some Caramel Apple Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches. If you want to, learn how to make them here.
7. Coconut Water
There are quite a few people in my life who are all about coconut water. That's actually a good thing because it's the kind of water that contains fiber and protein, along with with a fair amount of manganese, potassium, magnesium and Vitamin C. All of these nutrients (and others) can help to lower your blood sugar levels, strengthen your heart and, even reduce high oxalate levels that can ultimately lead to kidney stones. Another awesome ingredient found in coconut water is cytokinins. They are natural hormones that help plants to grow. In our bodies, they're beneficial because they are able to fight off cancer-causing cells while slowing down signs of aging as well.
When it comes to the ability to cool your body down, coconut water has its fair share of electrolytes. If you take those into your system when you're feeling hot, they can help your system to maintain a proper fluid balance which can support your body temperature remaining at a healthy level, as a direct result.
COOL DOWN WITH: Know what would be dope? Some Rainbow Coconut Water Spritzers. The recipe for them is here.
Peaches are dope. Full stop. Matter of fact, it's kind of a trip that something so delicious can also be so good for you. Every time you bite into a peach, you're getting some fiber and protein into your system. As far as nutrients go, this is a fruit that also has a nice amount of vitamins A and C, along with traces of potassium, copper, zinc and vitamins E and K. Thanks to the fiber, peaches can help to keep you regular. There are studies to support that peaches can also keep your skin's texture nice and smooth while protecting it from UV damage. Another perk is, peaches are able to stifle the production of histamines in your system; this means that if you're prone to summertime allergies, this is a fruit that can make them more bearable.
Peaches are a cool-down-food because they can also replenish electrolytes. And, it should go on record that vitamins like vitamins C and E are able to reduce oxidative stress while zinc can calm your nerves. The less "worked up" you are, the easier it is to remain cooled down.
COOL DOWN WITH: A couple of slices of homemade Creamy Peach Icebox Cake would be so bomb. Learn how to make it from scratch here.
Sprouts are the kind of food that, while they typically don't come up a lot, they probably should. By doing something as simple as adding them to your salad, sprouts are able to be a good source of protein and fiber. Not only that but sprouts actually contain as much as 100 times more enzymes than most fruits and vegetables, they can reduce the acids that can throw off your body's pH balance and the calcium and magnesium that sprouts have in them are able to keep your body chemistry in check as well.
And why is eating sprouts a wonderful way to cool your body down? Something else that sprouts are considered to be is an astringent food. What that means is, it's the type of food that helps the tissues in your body to shrink so that water is able to flow more smoothly throughout your system, ultimately cooling you down in the process.
COOL DOWN WITH: Interested in chowing down on a delicious sprout salad? Get all of the ingredients that you need here.
10. Hot Peppers
Do you tend to like a little bit of "kick" to your food? While all peppers are good for you (thanks to the vitamins A, C, potassium, folate and iron that are in them), what I'm specifically gonna touch on is hot peppers. Believe it or not, hot peppers are an anti-irritant that can actually help totreat ulcers. Some other I-bet-you-never-saw-coming benefits that come with hot peppers are, if you eat them while having a migraine, the sensation from the peppers can get your mind off of your headache discomfort; the chemical compound capsaicin that is in hot peppers is able to relieve joint pain; hot peppers are able to give you a boost of energy so that your metabolism goes into high gear and, they are also able to fight fungal infections that can trigger a cold or full-on flu attack.
If you're like, "I can get with that, but it makes absolutely no sense to eat hot peppers in the heat", I hear you. But, that's actually not true at all. When you eat them, they cause you to perspire. When that happens, it sends a message to your body that you need your system to cool you off. So, don't be afraid to toss back some jalapeños or chili pepper or two. They're better for your health than you probably thought they were. Plus, they can help to keep you cool—all summer long.
COOL DOWN WITH: How about a Coconut Jalapeño Margarita? A delightful recipe is right here.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Three Influencers Show Off Their 2022 Holiday Hair Looks Using Their SheaMoisture Faves
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
For Black women, there’s one compliment that will boost our confidence like none other: “Come through hair!” You know the vibe! Walking into a room with folks acknowledging that your hair is laid for the gawds, and the effort that it took to get it there, is a top five feeling. And with the holiday season just weeks away, you’ll be hearing that quite often. Between Thanksgiving gatherings with the family, Friendsgiving, company parties, and Christmas get-togethers, the opportunities to let your hair show up and show out aren’t too far away.
Apart from the holiday stuntin’, the end-of-year slow down is also the perfect opportunity to reevaluate the year your hair has had. Whether you kept it cute with protective braids, went big with blowouts, or let loose with textured twist-outs, this is the perfect time to give your hair the gift of TLC - tender lovin’ curls. Like the weather, our hair goes through seasons and has different needs depending on what we’ve put it through. Perhaps the transition into fall/winter has left your curls a bit parched and in need of some serious hydration. Or maybe your strands could use some restorative conditioning after taking it down from a convenient protective style. No matter what category you fall into, SheaMoisture has hundreds of ways that you can clean, treat and refresh your hair for a healthy shine that will bring you into the new year right. Bring your curls back to life with the nourishing and fragrant Coconut & Hibiscus line. Boosted with natural ingredients such as coconut oil, neem oil, carrot oil, and shea butter, this line is the antidote to reviving thirsty, dehydrated hair. Even better - with SheaMoisture’s custom quiz, you can get a hair analysis that will lead you to the right products for your hair needs. Say hello to sleek edges, and moisturized, stronger strands.
In need of a little hair-spiration? We got you covered! xoNecole and SheaMoisture have teamed up with three natural hair influencers to debut their holiday hair looks. Meet Ambrosia Malbrough, Jasmin Moses, and Daye Covington - beauty bawses who’ve created some incredible holiday looks that are stylish and easy to achieve. They also gave us the scoop on the SheaMoisture products they’re loving right now, as well as their 2023 hair goals.
Read on for more:
Daye Covington Kicks Her Twist Out Up A Notch With A Voluminous Updo
“I wanted to create a style that was super cute but also easy to pull together, so I went with a puff and tendril combo! It's a style that can be done on freshly washed curls or one that can be done on old hair. [It’s perfect for] when we're short for time but want to add a little razzle-dazzle to our hair before a special occasion. It's very versatile!”
“My favorite Shea Moisture product hand's down is the Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie! That is definitely a #TeamNaturalHair staple. Coconut is one of the ingredients that my hair favors. I also find that medium/light creams absorb best in my hair, so it's no surprise that I get amazing definition and moisture when I use the Curl Enhancing Smoothie. I love it for twist-outs, braid-outs, and rod set styles. Any product that can give me versatility when it comes to styling plus added moisture, that's what a staple is for me!”
“I would love to dye my hair back to blue! It was my favorite hair color, but unfortunately, my 9-5 now prohibits unnatural hair colors. I'm pushing it with this dark plum color, but I look forward to the day where I can transition into a new stage of life and go back to blue. In the meantime, I'm focusing on length retention. I've been doing well for 2022 and have had no major cuts so I'm hoping to stay consistent with my routine in 2023.”
Follow Daye on Instagram @dayelasoul
Ambrosia Malbrough Made Magic With Poppin’ And Defined Finger Coils
“[Finger coils] is a style that I don’t do often, it takes much more time than my usual wash and go. But that extra time put in makes it extra special and so worth it. The results are beautiful. It’s a style that offers many days of wear, too!”
“[Earlier this year] I did my 4th big chop. This time around hit different as a mom of two. I don’t always have the extra time on my hands to put into my hair, so the short ‘do has been convenient. I’ve realized that not all wash days are created equal even if I use the same products. However, my 4c coils are loving the products I'm using now”
“Since I’ve been having my hair dyed, I’m looking forward to trying Shea Moisture’s new Mongongo and Jojoba Oils High Porosity Moisture Replenish Hair Masque. I am currently growing my hair out and plan on having fun with more highlights and a new shape - possibly a shag cut in 2023!”
Follow Ambrosia on Instagram at @brosiaaa
Jasmin Moses Shows The Secrets To Her Jaw-Dropping Curly Ponytail
“I love doing a sleek ponytail with my baby hairs laid to a T! It helps so my hair isn't in the way when I am cooking and running errands, but it's still snatched to provoke anyone in the room to stop me to say 'girllll your hair is laid!'. I like to add a little razzle dazzle by adding my cute, naturally curly ponytail extensions. It elevates the look perfectly for the holidays.”
“It took me from my freshman year of college to now, almost seven whole years, to know what works for my hair. I love protective styles like wigs and braids because my hair thrives when I don't mess with it. When I leave my hair alone, it grows the best, so I love taking off my wig when I get home, oiling my scalp and putting my bonnet on for bed! When I do wear my natural hair out, what helps me maintain the health of my hair is to get in a rhythm with my hair. [I do] my wash days on Sunday, wear it in a wash n’ go all week, and repeat the next Sunday.”
“My 2023 hair goal is to get back to my 2021 hair length! Recently, a hairstyle damaged my hair causing me to lose 4 inches in length, which was not fun. So I’m working on getting [my hair] back to its original health and keep growing from there! I am also looking forward to trying the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie as a one-product wash n’ go! I hear such great things about it and I think it will give me hold while also keeping my hair lightweight and voluminous. I’m also excited about the Coconut & Hibiscus Defining Styling Gel and Edge Gel.”
Follow Jasmin on Instagram @slimreshae
Exclusive: Teyana Taylor And Director A.V Rockwell Explore Black Motherhood In New Film, 'A Thousand And One'
“This was a match made in denim and door-knocker heaven!” Actress Teyana Taylor jokingly said after letting out a laugh. She was referring to her relationship with the main character Inez De La Paz, in the film A Thousand and One, approaching theaters nationwide this Friday.
Set against the backdrop of 90s - early 2000s Harlem at the inception of gentrification, A Thousand and One chronicles the life of a 20-something-year-old mother of color raising her son. The film captures the realness and relatability of motherhood, family, and marriage. The movie stars multi-talented actress/entertainer Teyana Taylor, William Cartlett, Aaron Kingsley, Josiah Cross, Aven Courtney, and Terri Abney. It was executive produced by Lena Waithe and was written and directed by A.V. Rockwell.
This film was written through the lens of the often complicated relationship between mothers and sons. However, it isn't your typical movie about urban Black motherhood. No one gets shot, has a drug addiction, and if you ask me, Inez De La Paz (Teyana Taylor’s character) is a ‘shero’; she saves the day, or at least Terry’s life (her son).
This multilayered film touches on the challenges faced while establishing a life following a prison sentence, the flawed NYC foster care system, motherhood, marriage, love, the relationship between a father and son, and Black NYC neighborhoods at the onset of gentrification.
"There's a lot of pain in it, and in order to express pain, there has to be a love that comes with it. So I felt like the movie was a love letter to Black women but a heartbreak letter to New York City…. We contributed so much to the city and made it the special place that it is," said Rockwell. I asked myself, 'How do I reconcile the fact that this place that I love and that is home to me never loved me?'
Teyana Taylor and Aaron Kingsley Adetola.
Photo courtesy of Focus Feature Films
Both Rockwell and Taylor are New York natives, Rockwell is from Queens, and Taylor is from Harlem. The pair agreed they directly related to the lead character, Inez. During our conversation, Taylor explained how we could all connect with Inez. "Inez is within us from being judged or considered difficult for your strength, for your voice, for your tone, no matter how right you are, you're wrong because you're too loud… When you minimize yourself, it's an issue. You're not enough, and when you maximize yourself, it's too much," she said.
According to Rockwell, Taylor auditioned for the role and earned it fair and square, "Nobody can take away from the fact that she earned this role in all the right ways. I think it's great to have that cherry on top. The fact that she's a Harlem girl and that this is a movie about protecting her neighborhood not only what it means to us New Yorkers but what it means to black identity and history in general," she said. "Not only are we honoring Harlem, [but] she is [also] a part of that history that we are trying to protect. I'm really proud of that as well. This person who is a part of this historic neighborhood gets to be the one leading the torch of this role."
We all know Taylor as the uber-talented singer, dancer, actress, fashionista, entrepreneur, artist, wife, and mother. She seems to do it all so effortlessly, but Taylor described the role as therapeutic. It allowed her to put down that superwoman persona while filming on set. "The easy part about this role was that I'm already a mom, so I'm naturally nurturing… In some ways, Inez became very therapeutic for me because it was the only time that I could actually be weak and turn off my strength, and cry and let out all of the things I was battling," the "Rose in Harlem" singer revealed.
Director A.V. Rockwell
Photo courtesy of Focus Feature Films
After watching Taylor master the leading role of this complicated story, it's not absurd to think she may be awarded extensively for her portrayal of Inez. Taylor told me she's ready for everything to come but isn't looking to get too comfortable while soaking up the likely inflow of accolades, "I'm ready. I think it's everything that I prayed for. I think this is God saying ok, here you go… I'm blessed, and I'm grateful, and I just want to continue to just keep working hard and not get too comfortable. Stay hungry, stay the hustler that I am…this is really only just the beginning."
It's not every day we get to see a film with a Black woman starring in a leading role. Furthermore, it's not common to see a Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize-winning movie directed by a Black woman. It's no secret that diversity in Hollywood is uncommon, and the aforementioned are all the more reasons we should visit theaters this Friday to see A Thousand and One.
Not only is this film amazing storytelling, but the production of this film helps to move the needle of diversifying Hollywood and creating spaces for Black women in the film industry forward.
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Feature image by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Focus Features