While uterine fibroids — which are abnormal growths that can develop in a woman's uterus — aren't something that I've personally had to deal with, because I am a doula, I've had several clients who've struggled with them when it comes to trying to conceive and/or when it comes to safely carrying their baby to term; that's why, I've done quite a bit of research on them over the years. Interestingly enough, reportedly 80 percent of women will develop them over some point in their lifetime and a quarter of us, between the ages of 18-30 will get them in comparison to six percent of white women.
As far as what causes these particular kinds of fibroids, they've been linked to the roller coaster ride of hormones, pregnancy (due to pretty much the same thing), obesity and DNA. As far as Black women go, it needs to also go on record that more and more studies are linking uterine fibroids to the use of hair relaxers as well. So, if when it comes to your period, you are experiencing heavy cramping (or increased cramping), a lot of clots or that your period is lasting longer than it typically does or, beyond that, you're having pain during intercourse, swelling in your abdominal area or that you've been having to pee more usual, make an appointment to see your doctor, just so they can be sure that fibroids aren't the cause.
No matter what the outcome of your visit, please be intentional about your diet because, believe it or not, there are foods that can help to prevent and heal fibroids and there are foods that can trigger the growth of them at every turn. Let's look at five of each.
Five Foods to Eat to Help Heal Fibroids
If you've ever said to yourself, "What the heck are legumes?", beans, peas, lentils, soybeans and peanuts are all considered to be a part of the legume family. If the next question is "What makes them different from beans?", the technical answer is they are the leaves, stems and pods of a plant while beans are just the seeds. With that out of the way, legumes are good for you because they are loaded with antioxidants; the kind that help to fight off cell damage and reduce signs of aging (inside and out).
Legumes also have a reputation for reducing the risk of heart disease and cholesterol. When it comes to helping to prevent or heal fibroids, what makes them really effective is legumes are high in fiber which makes it easier for your system to get rid of the kinds of toxins that could either help to create a uterine fibroid or "feed it" so that it gets bigger or lasts longer.
If you like to cook with fresh garlic, good for you, sis. Garlic has potent medicinal properties in it. Garlic can help to reduce your blood pressure. Garlic has a reputation for increasing athletic performance. Garlic even adds to longevity. Fibroids hate garlic because the antioxidants and sulfur in it fights off the kinds of free radicals that can lead to the development of uterine fibroids over time. Not only that but sulfur is a powerful healer and has been known to help heal scars caused by fibroids too.
Something that I sometimes take in supplement form are flaxseeds. Flaxseeds are good for you because they're a good source of fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Not only that, flaxseeds can help to lower your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, plus they're great at helping you to feel fuller which can curb your appetite, so that you end up losing weight.
What makes them great for uterine fibroid health? I read a study that said some of the properties in them caused hens with uterine fibroids to end up with 40 percent less of them over time, just by adding 10 percent of flaxseeds to their diet. To me, that's a good enough reason to at least give flaxseeds a shot.
4. Non-Gluten Grains
When you get a chance, feel free to check out the article, "8 Reasons Whole Grains Are Good For You. 4 Reasons To Eat Them In Moderation." that I wrote for the site not too long ago. Since it covers a good amount of ground about why whole grains are good for you, what I'll just say, specifically, as it relates to uterine fibroid prevention and healing, is whole grains that don't have any gluten in them (which is a protein in wheat that doesn't really have much nutritional value although it's not all bad either; mindbodygreen did a good article on its benefits that you can check out here).
Some of those foods include brown rice, buckwheat and millet. All of these are beneficial because the antioxidants, protein and fiber in them can help to protect against uterine fibroid growth while improving the health of your uterus overall.
5. Organic Produce
Since fresh fruits and veggies are loaded with nutrients, including fiber which helps to keep us regular, it makes complete and total sense why they would be the kind of food that helps to prevent and also heal uterine fibroids. The key is to make sure that you go with the kind that are organic. Why? Well, that means they don't have any of the fertilizers and pesticides that are oftentimes used in order to make produce last longer.
I already know — organic produce at local grocery stores is like paying rent. This is just one more reason to support your local farmers market. Stuff is cheaper and typically so much fresher. Plus, you're supporting your local farmers when you decide to go that route.
Five Foods to Avoid in Order to Prevent Fibroid Growth
1. Refined Sugar
Remember how I said in the intro that obesity is connected to uterine fibroid growth? It's no secret that perhaps the leading cause of so many people being overweight in this country is refined sugar, so that's enough of a reason to cut back a bit. However, another reason why refined sugar isn't really a good look is because it can throw your hormone levels off. Imbalanced hormones can lead to inflammation and fibroid growth. When it comes to (refined) sugar, less is certainly best (check out "Ever Wonder If You've Got A Low-Key Sugar Addiction?").
The two hormones that can trigger the growth of uterine fibroids are estrogen and progesterone. That said, the reason why the consumption of soy can be a real problem when it comes to uterine fibroids is because it contains phytoestrogens which is a compound that mimics estrogen. So, if soy is totally your thing but you want to do all that you can to keep uterine fibroids at bay, you might want to consider eating a lot less of it.
Something that can put a lot of stress onto your liver is caffeine and when your liver isn't working at its best, that can play a role in your hormones not being as balanced as they would need to be in order to keep you from experiencing uterine fibroids. No one is saying you have to ditch your java altogether, but if you're drinking more than 2-3 cups a day, definitely cut back. (Speaking of your liver, do some research on milk thistle when you get a chance. It's an herb that helps to detoxify your liver. Whenever I take it, I can actually see a real difference.)
4. Fatty Processed Meat
Red meat is high in iron and Vitamin B12; since these are two nutrients that we, as Black women, are oftentimes low in, that's a good reason to not feel bad about having an occasional steak or burger. At the same time, it's always a good idea to remember that moderation is key when it comes to meat consumption and, if you want to avoid getting fibroids, you should definitely tiptoe around processed meats (meats that were made via the process of curing, salting, smoking, drying or canning).
Some examples of processed meats include cured bacon, hotdogs, ham, sausage and salami. The reason why these are problematic for uterine fibroids is because they have a lot of additives that can also throw your hormones off. Some even have more estrogen put into them and you definitely want to avoid that as much as you can.
5. “White Stuff”
White bread. White pasta. White rice. You get it. Something that all of these things have in common is they are refined carbs which means they've got very little nutritional value to them. This is a not-so-good thing overall but what makes them suck when it comes to uterine fibroids is they can throw your estrogen levels off and cause your fibroids to grow in size. In short, in this instance, "white ain't right", so definitely avoid it as much as possible. Your body, including your uterus, will be oh so grateful. Indeed.
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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.
There are moments on our health journey when our bodies are bugging us to hit the reset button.
With life, we can start to see slips in our diet, irregular exercising, and inconsistent sleep schedules, and our mental health can suffer because of it. But what many people come to find is that with just a few adjustments — as opposed to restrictions — being made to their food intake, we can see a focus more on eating “the right” calories and less on being on a restrictive diet.
"Raw Till 4" is a dietary concept and lifestyle associated with the raw vegan and high-carb, low-fat vegan (HCLF) movements. Created by Australian blogger and YouTube star known as 'Freelee the Banana Girl', the method suggests eating raw, uncooked plant-based foods until 4 p.m. each day and then having a cooked, vegan meal in the evening.
The Raw Till 4 lifestyle follows the guidelines of vegan and rawist eating and involves consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains in an uncooked, natural state until the designated time of 4 p.m. or around one’s typical dinner time. After 4 p.m., a cooked vegan meal is consumed, which may include foods like steamed vegetables, grains, legumes, and plant-based sources of protein like tofu or tempeh.
On TikTok, creator Adina Yaffa is repopularizing the trend, sharing how it’s helped to improve digestion, boost energy levels, and support weight loss.
Replying to @🌜kat🌛 here is what I eat in a day on a raw till 4 lifestyle. I eat with the sun and according to the circadian rhythm that out bodies follow on a typical day. Where i drink liquids during the first 8 hours, then juicy fruits, then smoothies, more dense building fats, proteins and veggies! #snatchedwaist #bellyfat #bellybloat #smallwaist #hourglass #rawtill4
“During the hours of 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., your body is in an elimination phase and needs all the help it can get,” Yaffa says in the clip. “So what you’re going to do is drink coconut water, citrus juices, and green juices during this time, and around 8 a.m., you can break your fast with some fruit. I suggest juicing fruits, and then after that, I suggest having a smoothie or a bowl with berries and granola so you can get your fats and healthy proteins in.”
Raw till 4 has so many benefits including better digestion, nutrients, belly fat and bloat elimination, snatched waist, more energy and so much more! #snatchedwaist #bellyfat #bellybloat #smallwaist #hourglass
On the official Raw Till 4 website, Freelee the Banana Girl shares tips on how to get the best outcomes of this lifestyle change, which include:
- “Stay hydrated! You should pee about 8-12 times per day, and your urine should be clear. Drink 1 liter of water when you wake up in the morning, and 1 liter of water about 30 minutes before each meal for optimal results.”
- “Fragmented sodium (salt) should be kept to a minimum. Use herbs, lemon juice, etc. wherever possible in place of salt.”
- “Eat unlimited calories at every meal, no restriction. The majority of your calories each day should come from fruit. Don’t under-eat on fruit during the day or 'save up' your calories for dinner time. RT4 is about abundance at every meal.”
- “Move your body daily. Find an activity you love and make it your playful exercise.”
- “Make sure to get lots of rest, relaxation, and good sleep. Learning to incorporate good rest, early nights, and regular sleeping patterns into your life will greatly improve your overall health.”
- “Practice gratitude and peaceful emotions at mealtime, and get a vision book started! Be sure to enjoy this journey. Focus on long-term health instead of short-term results.”
Critics argue that it can be challenging to get all the necessary nutrients from a raw vegan diet and that it may not be suitable for everyone, especially over the long term.
As with any diet, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making significant dietary changes to ensure that it meets your individual nutritional needs and health goals.
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