Health is wealth. We've all heard it before and, as someone who is oh so well in her 40s at this point, I most certainly believe it. When it comes to food specifically, I am well aware that my mother's clean diet while carrying me played a huge role in why I am so healthy now. I also know that when I eat right, I feel so much different than when I go through some drive-thru line.
We as women are some amazing creatures. At the same time, our bodies are so intricately designed that it's important that we provide our system with the kind of fuel that will keep us thriving for years to come. That's why I thought it would be a good idea to share 12 foods that can help specific parts of the female body. If you add these to your diet on a regular basis, I'm confident that you will feel so much better for it. Ready?
1. Portabella mushrooms as a superfood are high in anti-inflammatories which helps your immune system.
I'm not a vegetarian or a vegan but there are times when I'll take a break from eating meat. One food that is a cool meat-textured substitute is the portabella mushroom. In fact, it contains about 20 percent of the protein that your body needs on a daily basis. As far as health benefits go, for starters, portabella mushrooms contain a good amount of selenium, potassium, vitamins B2 and B3, and copper.
This is the kind of mushroom that has conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) in it which is cool because those help to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Not only that, but portabella mushrooms are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories which definitely makes them something that will help to keep your immune system in check in the absolute best way possible.
2. Eating the superfood asparagus supports brain health and keeps your heart strong.
A veggie that contains a good amount of vitamins A, B6, and B12, C, E, K, folate, iron, calcium, antioxidants, and protein is asparagus. If you're looking for something that will help you to lose weight, because asparagus is low in fat and calories, it's a food that can help you to do just that. Because it contains the amino acid asparagine, this vegetable can help to prevent UTIs. The Vitamin E that it contains will fight off free radicals, and there are even studies to support the fact that asparagus can help your body to overcome a hangover (buck, right?). As far as your brain and heart go, since it's loaded with Vitamin B12 and folate, asparagus can keep your brain in great shape and the potassium in it helps to keep your heart strong.
3. Citrus fruit can be a great superfood for breast health.
Oranges. Grapefruit. Lemons. Limes. Tangerines. These are all considered to be citrus fruit which basically means that they are "sour fruits". Since they are high in Vitamin C and C is a great antioxidant, it's important to eat this fruit to keep cold and flu bugs from getting you sick. Citrus fruit is high in fiber to keep you regular, water to keep you hydrated, flavonoids to strengthen your heart and potassium to help prevent kidney stones and strokes. Also, since Vitamin C can increase collagen production, citrus fruit is great at reducing signs of aging too.
The reason why peeling an orange or slicing a grapefruit on a weekly basis is such a good idea is because citrus fruit has a phytochemical limonoid in it which has antitumor, antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory properties. Since breast cancer in Black women has a lower incidence but higher mortality rate, it's definitely something to eat more often.
4. Greek yogurt is a superfood that supports gut health.
Ever wonder what the difference is between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt? At the end of the day, Greek yogurt is strained while regular yogurt isn't which means that Greek yogurt has more nutrients in it. It's the kind of food that is a wonderful source of protein and probiotics. It also has a good amount of Vitamin B12, potassium, calcium and iodine (which keeps your thyroid in good shape). If you're looking for a healthy snack that can replenish some of what you've lost after working out, Greek yogurt has totally got you in that way too. Plus, since it's a fermented food that is loaded with healthy bacteria cultures, it's also a food that can keep your gut in great health; that's a blessing because 80 percent of your immune system is located there.
5. For hormonal balance, quinoa is a good superfood for reducing bodily inflammation.
Quinoa is the kind of food that has grown on me over time. A part of what helped me to keep rocking with it was all of the health benefits that it contains. There is definitely no way around the fact that it is indeed a superfood. First, quinoa is one of the very few plants that is considered to be a complete protein (great news for vegetarians and vegans). It's also high in fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc. If you're someone who prefers foods that are gluten-free, quinoa totally has your back in that way too. Quinoa is good for your gut, helps to reduce bodily inflammation, and is even able to assist in lowering your cholesterol levels. And since it's a food that helps to keep androgen levels on point (including testosterone which women contain a certain amount of), it's also a really good nutrient to help keep your hormones balanced out.
6. Among other things, the superfood sesame seeds can balance estrogen levels.
Speaking of hormones, if you want to add another food to your diet that will help you out in this area, sesame seeds are perfect. Not only are they a wonderful source of virtually all B vitamins, but these seeds are also a good source of plant protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Many nutritionists dig them because they support thyroid health, control blood sugar levels, encourage bone health, help to reduce bodily inflammation, and can even decrease arthritic discomfort that may be specifically in your knees.
What particularly caught my attention about them, though, is sesame seeds are also an awesome source of phytoestrogens; that's good to know because our estrogen levels tend to be lower during our menstrual cycle and also when we're going through menopause.
7. Orange and yellow vegetables are great superfoods for the skin.
Flavonoids. Vitamins A, C, and K. Potassium. Magnesium. These are some of the nutrients that are in orange and yellow vegetables. Thanks to the high amount of these vitamins that are in them, they are the kind of veggies that fight off free radicals, lower blood pressure, maintain oral health, promote healthy joints, keep your pH balanced, boost your immunity, and lower your cholesterol levels. The reason why veggies like corn, yellow and orange peppers, and carrots are great for your skin is that the beta-carotene (Vitamin A) that's in them will help to improve the texture of your skin as well as protect your skin from damaging UV rays.
8. As a superfood, berries can help keep your scalp and hair health on point.
Berries are a low-calorie fruit that's full of water and high in antioxidants and fiber. That alone should be enough of a reason to want to eat them more often, I would think. If you're looking for a sweet way to lower your cholesterol levels, improve your blood sugar levels, fight off free radicals, strengthen your body's arteries, boost brain power and even decrease your chances of being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a fresh bowl of berries can totally make that happen. Also, if healthy hair is what you're after, the flavonoid anthocyanin in berries like blueberries will help your body to produce the collagen that your hair needs to stay strong. Plus, the Vitamin C in berries will feed your hair follicles while increasing blood circulation to your scalp. And the Vitamin B in berries will give your follicles more oxygen in order to keep your scalp and hair in good shape.
9. Stinging nettle helps lower blood pressure and keep heart disease at bay.
If you're not familiar with what stinging nettle is, it's basically an herb that has antimicrobial, anti-ulcer, astringent and analgesic properties. It's full of antioxidants too. If you're someone who is looking for a way to naturally treat a bladder infection, relieve joint pain, reduce hay fever-related symptoms or even make eczema symptoms more bearable, stinging nettle has totally got your back.
I decided to include it in this article, though, because of what it can do for your blood. Because stinging nettle is also an herb that is high in Vitamin C and iron, if you consume it a couple of times a week, it can help your body to produce more red blood cells which can prevent you from becoming anemic. It's also got the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol in it which is awesome because those help to lower your blood pressure and keep heart disease at bay.
10. For the libido, dark chocolate is a great superfood to add to your diet.
It's kind of crazy that something as delicious as dark chocolate would be as nutritious as it is. There is a ton of iron, fiber, magnesium, zinc, omega-6 fatty acids, and copper, along with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that makes it well worth your time to have a 60-percent-of-cocoa-in-it piece a few times a week. Dark chocolate is also good for you because it can help to boost your mood, improve your blood sugar levels, reduce cancer cell growth, lower your (bad) cholesterol levels, reduce the chances of strokes and heart attacks, protect your skin from sun damage, and even suppress your coughs.
Plus, if you want to get in the mood (or get your partner in the mood), the compound phenylethylamine that's also in dark chocolate, along with the properties that in it can help to boost your libido and increases blood flow to your genital region so that you can enjoy sexual pleasure more.
11. Aged cheese is a superfood that is great for fertility.
Uh-huh. I bet you didn't see this one coming, did you? Before getting into how aged cheeses can help you to conceive, let's first break down some of the cheeses that can easily go onto this list. Some include Fontina, Gruyere, Mochego Curado, Dry Monterey Jack, Parmesan, Piccante Provolone and Sharp-Aged Cheddar because they are all cheeses that have gone through the aging process for six months or more (you can check out a pretty comprehensive list of other aged cheeses on Kosher's site here). A few of the reasons why aged cheese is good for your overall health and well-being is because it's high in calcium, zinc, phosphorus, enzymes and protein, along with vitamins A, B12 and K. If you're someone who happens to be lactose-intolerant, there's a pretty good chance that you can still enjoy aged cheese because the processing of aged cheese means that very little (if any) lactose is in it. Aged cheese is also a probiotic food which also makes it good for your gut health.
As far as your fertility goes, these cheeses contain polyamines; they are proteins that help to keep eggs and sperm health. Now how dope is that? Oh! I almost forgot that aged cheeses have also been shown to increase longevity. Grilled cheese sandwich, anyone?
12. As a superfood, raw honey reduces stress, regulates blood sugar, and fights off free radicals.
One of the best things to ever happen to any of us is honey. The reason why I say that is it really is criminal that it can taste so good and offer up so many health benefits at the same time. If you opt for consuming raw honey (which is honey that isn't processed and has as many health benefits as possible), it contains enzymes, amino acids, B vitamins, Vitamin C, antioxidants, and several minerals too. Eating honey can help to fight allergies (because it contains allergens that cause it to act much like a natural antibiotic); fights off free radicals; contains antibacterial properties to fight off salmonella and E. coli (for starters); promotes oral health, regulates blood sugar; reduces oxidative stress, and is a great hair and skin moisturizer (honey helps to heal pimples and fade acne marks too).
Even with all of this, I'm actually closing out with honey because certain properties in honey are able to offer a calming effect and reduce anxiety. Just take a teaspoon of raw honey at night before turning in and you'll sleep more soundly and feel more relaxed so that you can better handle whatever is coming the next day. Yep, definitely a superfood in every way. Enjoy!
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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. ;)
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’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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