Sooo…what have you been feeding your vagina lately? It might sound like a crazy question on the surface, but if it is indeed true that we are what we eat, this means that whatever we put into our mouths, our va-jay-jay is not exempt from receiving whatever is in it—good or bad.
I don't know what it is, but the older that I get, the more intentional I am about paying my vagina some much-needed attention. A part of the reason may be because a part of me wishes I had been more cautious about who I let enter into her back in the day and I want to pamper her for riding a lot of that "hindsight foolishness" out for so long. Also, it could be because those three grey pubic hairs that have popped up are reminders that everything ages; even vulvas. Plus, I'm learning to love on every part of me, from head to toe, unconditionally so (which is what a stunning YouTuber by the name of Salkis Re reminded me to do when she popped up in my suggestion feed recently).
Anyway, in the effort to give the gateway to my womb the love, in the form of nutrition, that it deserves, I've been switching up my diet a bit by feeding my body with foods that directly benefit my vagina. There are actual foods that do it? Yep. And I'll tell you what, sis. Ever since I've been consuming them, I can tell the difference too. Real talk.
1. Dark Leafy Greens
If there's a vegetable that all of us need to consume on a daily basis, it's dark leafy greens. They all have lots of antioxidants in them. Kale specifically is loaded with vitamins A, E and K, and beta-carotene (a type of antioxidant). Collards are a powerful source of calcium, folate and vitamins A and C. Spinach has vitamins A, K and manganese. Turnip greens have calcium, manganese, folate, and vitamins A and C in them. Arugula and Romaine lettuce are full of vitamins A and K too. All of these greens help to keep you regular, support bone health, reduce stress and boost digestive enzymes and your immune system.
The great thing about dark leafy greens as it relates to your vagina is the fact that they help to purify your blood, increase your blood's circulation (including to your vaginal region) and, they are able to relieve vaginal dryness due to their ability to sexually stimulate (via the increase in your blood's circulation) you too.
A kind of food that definitely does your body good is squash. Not only is it loaded with vitamins A, B6, C along with folate, fiber, riboflavin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, it's a vegetable that is proven to aid in the management of diabetes, while keeping your eyes and lungs healthy and, even preventing anemia.
Another awesome thing about squash is it's got a lot of zinc in it. If you're prone to having recurring bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections, zinc can help to keep both of those at bay. There are also studies to support the fact that there is a direct link to low libidos and zinc deficiency. Just one more reason to have some squash this evening, right?
In order for our bodies to get the probiotics that we need so that our digestive system remains healthy, it helps to eat fermented foods. Just what is a fermented food exactly? It's a natural process that transpires when foods that contain sugar and starch are converted into alcohol or acids so that they can act as a natural preservative. Anyway, when your body has probiotics in it, it will lead to a stronger immune system, less anxiety, a healthier heart, less weight around your midsection and less calorie intake.
Your vagina will love a fermented food—well, drink—like kombucha (it's pretty much a fermented sweet tea) because it will keep yeast from overtaking your vagina, maintain your vagina's natural flora and make you less susceptible to urinary tract and bacterial infections. Kombucha will also help to keep your vagina smelling good and tasting less acidic too.
4. Bell Peppers
If you like to cook with bell peppers, whether you realize it or not, you're doing wonders for your health. Bell peppers have a good amount of vitamins A, B6, C, E and K, as well as potassium, copper, fiber and folate. Something else that bell peppers have in them is carotenoids which fights off eye disease and various kinds of cancer. Bell peppers also contain nutrients that properly maintain cognitive abilities, fight signs of aging, improve respiratory and digestive health and, thanks to the phosphorus that are in them, they are also the kind of veggies that ensure proper blood flow (including to your nether regions).
Something else that's cool about bell peppers is the amount of C that's in them can help to fight and prevent future bacterial vaginosis attacks. And, the Vitamin E that's in them, will boost your libido in the process.
Almonds are high in calcium, magnesium and Vitamin E. Cashews are rich in iron and oleic acid (a fatty acid that is great for your skin, fights infections and burns fat; olive oil contains a ton of it). Hazelnuts also have oleic acid in them, along with vitamins B and E, magnesium and calcium. Peanuts are loaded with folate and Vitamin E. Walnuts contain omega 3 fats, antioxidants and phytosterols (a plant sterol that regulates your body's cholesterol levels). So yeah, whether you eat a handful of one of these or a combo, you're in for a pretty beneficial snack.
On the sex tip, nuts do your body good because they are considered to be healthy fats that will regulate your cholesterol levels. When your cholesterol is in good shape, your hormones (including your sex hormones) are stabilized. That results in a healthy mucosal lining throughout your body to fight off infections (including vagina infections) and a healthy sex drive as well.
Considering that celery is made up of 95 percent water, it's kind of a trip how beneficial it is. It's got antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that support digestion. It also has vitamins A, B, K and folate, magnesium and potassium in it. Some other things that are cool about celery is it treats high blood pressure and it's a muscle relaxant. Celery also aids in weight loss, relieves bloating and can reduce the risk of contracting a urinary tract infection.
When it comes to your vagina, celery also has a lot of vitamin C, beta carotene, and flavonoids in it; this is good because they all help your vagina to maintain a healthy pH balance. As a bonus, celery can remove the bitter taste that your vaginal fluids may have.
7. Guava Fruit
Guava fruit is a fruit that's in season from November to April. It's got vitamin C, potassium, fiber and antioxidants in it; all of these things work together to lower your blood sugar levels, prevent fine lines and wrinkles, fight and prevent cancer cells, give you consistent bowel movements and even reduce the intensity of menstrual cramps.
Vaginally, for years, Indian women have boiled guava leaves and used them as a wash to treat vaginal infections. Drinking the "tea" that the boiled leaves create can also get rid of any unpleasant vaginal odor you may have. And, thanks to the C that's in it, guava fruit can keep your sexual appetite strong.
I don't know about you, but salmon makes me pretty happy and I really like that it's as good for me as it is to me. The omega-3 acids in it will decrease inflammation and reduce the risk of cancer. Because of how much protein that's in salmon, it helps to protect your bones and maintain muscle mass. If you don't feel like taking a B-complex pill, a slice of salmon has about every B vitamin you can think of in it. It's also a great source of potassium, selenium and the antioxidant astaxanthin which lowers your heart disease risk and increases your skin's elasticity and hydration.
It's because of astaxanthin that salmon also made the list. Consuming this kind of fish 1-2 times a week will aid in increasing vaginal lubrication in both pre- and post-menopausal women.
9. Black Eyed Peas
Some of us eat black eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck; health-wise, we just might be onto something by doing so. For starters, they deliver 20 percent of the daily value of magnesium, calcium and iron. Black eyed peas also have loads of fiber, folate, manganese and Vitamin A as well. By consuming these types of peas, you can prevent anemia, lower your blood pressure and significantly increase your skin and eye health.
Something else that Vitamin A does is help to heal your body should you have a yeast infection. Vitamin A can also strengthen your vaginal walls; think of it as being an "edible kegel".
If there's any part of you that's ever wondered where cinnamon comes from, you can thank the bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree. Another interesting fact is there are different types of cinnamon; the most popular are Ceylon cinnamon (the most potent form of it) and Cassia cinnamon (the kind that you typically see in the seasoning section of your local grocery store). As far as what it can do for your health, cinnamon contains a ton of manganese and a fair amount of calcium, iron and Vitamin K. Cinnamon is high in antioxidants, relieves body inflammation, protects your heart, stabilizes your blood sugar levels and contains antimicrobial, antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral properties that fight infections and viruses in your system.
As if that isn't enough, because it is an alkaline spice, cinnamon has the ability to neutralize the acid in your vagina which will make your vaginal fluids taste less acidic (the same goes for fellas who eat it). Another fun fact is, if you mix a few drops of cinnamon oil with some sweet almond oil, you'll have a delicious massage oil that is both sweet and a little hot on your taste buds. Yep. Cinnamon is one of the best things for your vagina—both in oil and powder form. Enjoy!
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Featured image by Shutterstock.
Originally published on July 17, 2019
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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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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “On My Mama” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour. So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
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Feature image by Amy Sussman/WireImage for Parkwood