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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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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The 26-year-old model and socialite shared with PEOPLE at the Femme It Forward's 2nd Annual Give Her FlowHERS Gala that she believes the key to a lasting relationship is establishing a strong connection before entering into a romantic relationship.
During the event, the socialite spoke to the outlet about the importance of “friendship and trust” in her three-year relationship that started in the midst of the pandemic.
“We were really good friends before we started dating, and COVID gave us that free time in our life to really get to know each other,” Jordyn said. “Because a lot of people don't really get to know each other and they go into this relationship.”
She continues, “So, we've been through a lot together. We've seen each other at all different ways, times, phases, so I think we have a very strong foundation.”
Jordyn also notes that “quality time” has been a means to bond and keep their relationship thriving. Despite the NBA star’s demanding schedule, she expressed her desire to attend as many of KAT's games as possible, including his upcoming birthday game with the Minnesota Timberwolves. “It's his birthday in a few days, so I'm going to go to that game,” she says.
Quality time isn’t the only love language that the couple speaks.“We love gift giving and... What is it? The love language? The love language is quality time. We love everything,” she says.
The couple was introduced by mutual friends many years ago, and in May 2020 decided to move forward from a close friendship to a romantic relationship. Jordyn and KAT went public with their relationship in September of that same year and have since become young Hollywood’s discreet “IT” couple.
“I'm excited. Every holiday, we like to really go large for each other,” she explained. “He does so much for me. I do what I can for him. I want to say it's a lot. So when it's time to show that appreciation, we like to go all out.”
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