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!
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
15 Things I Bet You Didn't Know About Your Own Vagina
Love On Yourself With These 7 All-Natural DIY Vaginal Washes
My Vaginal Health Was Out Of Wack Until I Made This Change To My Diet
Featured image by Shutterstock.
Originally published on July 17, 2019
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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.
Chief Mom Officer: 23 Quotes From Working Moms Finding Their Balance
The truth is, Black moms create magic every single day. Whether we're juggling motherhood with a busy 9-5, a thriving business, or staying at home to run a household, no day is short of amazing when you're managing life as a mommy. This Mother's Day, xoNecole is giving flowers to CMOs (Chief Mom Officers) in business who exemplify the strength it takes to balance work with motherhood.
We've commissioned these ladies, who are pillars in their respective industries, for tidbits of advice to get you through the best and worst days of mothering. Here, they share their "secret sauce" and advice for other moms trying to find their rhythm.
Emmelie De La Cruz, Chief Strategist at One Day CMO
"My mom friends and I all laugh and agree: Motherhood is the ghettoest thing you will ever do. It's beautiful and hard all at the same time, but one day you will wake up and feel like 'I got this' and you will get the hang of it. After 4 months, I finally felt like I found my footing to keep my kid and myself alive, but it took vulnerability to take off the cape and be honest about the areas that I didn't have it all together. The healing (physically and emotionally) truly does happen in community - whatever and whoever that looks like for you."
Alizè V. Garcia, Director Of Social & Community Impact at Nike
"I would tell a new mom or a prospective mother that they must give themselves grace, understand and remember there is no right way to do this thing and have fun! When I had my daughter three and a half years ago, I was petrified! I truly had no clue about what to do and how I was going to do it. But with time, my confidence grew and I realized quickly that I have all the tools I need to be the mother I want to be."
Nikki Osei-Barrett, Publicist + Co-Founder of The Momference
"There's no balance. I'm dropping sh*t everywhere! However, my secret sauce is pursuing interests and hobbies outside of what's required of me and finding time to workout. Stronger body equals = stronger mind."
Lauren Grove, Chief Experience Architect, The Grant Access, LLC
"I try to give myself grace. That’s my mantra for this phase of motherhood…grace. I won’t be able to get everything done. To have a spotless house. To not lose my cool after an exhausting day. Those things can’t happen all of the time. But I can take a deep breath and know tomorrow is another day and my blessings are more plentiful than my pitfalls."
Rachel Nicks, Founder & CEO of Birth Queen
"You have the answers within you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Curate your life to work for you. Ask for help."
Tanisha Colon-Bibb, Founder + CEO Rebelle Agency + Rebelle Management
"I know love doesn't pay bills but when I am overwhelmed with work or client demands I take a moment to play with my baby and be reminded of the love, energy, science, and Godliness that went into his birth. I am brightened by his smile and laugh. I remember I am someone's parent and not just a work horse. That at the end of the day everything will work out for the good of my sanity and the love within my life."
Christina Brown, Founder of LoveBrownSugar & BabyBrownSugar
"Learning your rhythm as a mom takes time and can be uncomfortable when you’re in a season of overwhelm. Constantly check in with yourself and assess what’s working and what’s not. Get the help you need without feeling guilty or ashamed of needing it."
Mecca Tartt, Executive Director of Startup Runway Foundation
"I want to be the best for myself, my husband, children and company. However, the reality is you can have it all but not at the same time. My secret sauce is outsourcing and realizing that it’s okay to have help in order for me to perform at the highest level."
Jen Hayes Lee, Head Of Marketing at The Bump (The Knot Worldwide)
"My secret sauce is being direct and honest with everyone around me about what I need to be successful in all of my various "jobs". Setting boundaries is one thing, but if you're the only one who knows they exist, your partners at home and on the job can't help you maintain them. I also talk to my kids like adults and let them know why mommy needs to go to this conference or get this massage...they need to build an appreciation for my needs too!"
Whitney Gayle-Benta, Chief Music Officer JKBX
"What helps me push through each day is the motivation to continue by thinking about my son. All my efforts, though exhausting, are to create a wonderful life for him."
Ezinne Okoro, Global Chief Inclusion, Equity, & Diversity Officer at Wunderman Thompson,
"The advice I received that I’ll pass on is, you will continue to figure it out and find your rhythm as your child grows into new stages. Trust your nurturing intuition, parent on your terms, and listen to your child."
Jovian Zayne, CEO of The OnPurpose Movement
"I live by the personal mantra: 'You can’t be your best self by yourself.' My life feels more balanced when I offer the help I can give and ask for the help I need. This might mean outsourcing housecleaning for my home, or hiring additional project management support for my business."
Simona Noce Wright, Co-Founder of District Motherhued and The Momference
"Each season of motherhood (depending on age, grade, workload) requires a different rhythm. With that said, be open to learning, to change, and understand that what worked for one season may not work the other...and that's okay."
Janaye Ingram, Director of Community Partner Programs and Engagement at Airbnb
"My daughter's smile and sweet spirit help me to feel gratitude when I'm overwhelmed. I want her to see a woman who doesn't quit when things get hard."
Codie Elaine Oliver, CEO & Founder of Black Love
"I try to listen to my body and simply take a break. With 3 kids and a business with 10+ team members, I often feel overwhelmed. I remind myself that I deserve grace for everything I'm juggling, I take a walk or have a snack or even head home to see my kids, and then I get back to whatever I need to get done."
Jewel Burks Solomon, Managing Partner at Collab Capital
"Get comfortable with the word ‘no’. Be very clear about your non-negotiables and communicate them to those around you."
Bridget Bogee, Marketing Lead At Meta
"Ask for help and always prioritize making time for you."
Julee Wilson, Executive Director at BeautyUnited and Beauty Editor-at-Large at Cosmopolitan
"Understand you can’t do it alone — and that’s ok. Relinquish the need to control everything. Create a village and lean on them."
Salwa Benyaich, Director Of Pricing and Planning at Premion
"Most days I really try to shut my computer off by 6 pm; there are always exceptions of course when it comes to big deals or larger projects but having this as a baseline allows me to be much more present with my kids. I love the fact that I can either help with homework or be the designated driver to at least one afterschool activity. Work can be draining but there is nothing more emotionally draining than when you feel as though you are missing out on moments with your kids."
Brooke Ellis, Head of Global Marketing & Product Launches at Amazon Music
My calendar, prayer, pilates class at Forma, a good playlist, and oatmilk lattes all help get me through any day.
Courtney Beauzile, Global Director of Client and Business Development at Shearman & Sterling
My husband is a partner who steps in when I just can’t. My mom and my MIL come through whenever and however I need. My kids have many uncles and aunts and they will lend an ear, go over homework, teach life lessons, be a presence or a prayer warrior depending on the day.
Robin Snipes, Chief of Staff at Meta
"Enjoy the time you have to yourself because once kids come those times will be few and far between."
Monique Bivens, CEO & Founder at Brazilian Babes LLC.
"For new moms, it is very important that you get back into a habit or routine of something you use to do before you were pregnant. Consider the actives and things that give you the most joy and make the time to do them."
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Featured image by Westend61/Getty Images
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Tracee Ellis Ross On Why She Declined The Idea Of Someone Else Running Her Hair Company
Actress and entrepreneur Tracee Ellis Ross recently revealed the driving force behind her desire to become the owner of her haircare brand, Pattern.
According to its site, Pattern is a haircare company that provides a wide range of products, from shampoos, conditioners, oils, creams, and many more to individuals with curls, coils, and tight hair textures. Although Pattern would launch in 2019, the idea for the company first came to Ross a decade before --in 2008, when her hit show Girlfriends wrapped-- following a brief encounter at a beauty supply store and many wanting to recreate her past looks.
At the time, those individuals couldn't achieve the exact results because limited natural hair products were offered to the public. That instance became a pivotal moment in the star's life because she spent eleven years experimenting with professionals to create products that best suit those within the natural hair community.
In a May conference with Fortune's MPW Next Gen, Ross opened up about the struggles she faced early on as an entrepreneur trying to get Pattern off the ground and why she declined the offer to have the company be run by someone else.
Tracee On Past Struggles And Why She Chose To Run Her Company
During the discussion, the 50-year-old revealed that she is Pattern's "majority owner" because the company's overall mission to cater to those in the natural hair community was built from her "experiential knowledge."
"I'm a majority owner of my company. [Other celebrities with brands] aren't the founders of the company. Often, they join a company that exists," she said. "The mission [at Pattern] is born out of my experience. It's born out of my own experiential knowledge."
Further in the interview, Ross would add that she avoided partnering with an expert for Pattern because she felt she had gained enough knowledge experimenting with products in her bathroom.
"I didn't want to partner with an expert or a 'professional' because I felt—like so many—I had become my own best expert in my bathroom because the beauty industry was not catering to us," she stated.
Despite refusing to have a partner within her company, Ross found creative ways to build it. It includes paying a chemist with her own money to bring her visions of various products to life, and sending those samples to retail stores, ultimately leading to partnerships.
The final piece that helped Ross during her journey was receiving advice from business partners on ways to improve the brand, one of which came from Ulta Beauty CEO and Footlocker CEO Mary Dillon.
The black-ish star claimed that Dillon helped her realize how she could use her celebrity status and journey to promote Pattern, which she did. Because of that, Patten has now become a favorable haircare brand among many.
Tracee On How She Plans To Use Her Company To Create Opportunities For Others
Toward the end of the discussion, Ross disclosed how she plans to use the power of being Pattern's CEO to help others.
The High Note star explained that being an owner of a company has given her access to be around other CEOs interested in what appears to be becoming more profitable, and with that, she wants to expand that access to other people.
"I know that I have access to sit at a table with a CEO in a way that perhaps another founder doesn't. And when I do that, I make sure that those conversations are not only centered around Pattern," she said. "They're centered around creating and expanding the access for all of us."
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